Tag Archives: priorities


The One Question you Should be Asking

There is a relatively short list of people who have had direct and personal influence on my life like Dave Kraft! He is a man who is a living definition of how Shandel Group defines leadership. All the more, he has stood the test of time. Now in the latter part of his life, he is leading and loving people very well.

Today we are honored to share a recent write-up Dave did on determining priorities.


Alan Andersen

Here’s Dave….

As a leader, you need to regularly ask yourself this question!

What Is The Most Important Thing I Should Be Working On Right Now?

What are the most important things I should be working on…

  • This day
  • This week
  • This month

Not what is…

  • The easiest thing
  • The urgent thing
  • The most fun thing
  • The coolest thing
  • The what-I-most-feel-like-doing thing
  • The keep-people-off-my-back thing
  • The keeps-nipping-at-my-heels thing
  • The what-will-make-me-popular thing

But what is… The Most Important Thing?

The most important thing as it relates to your mission, your purpose, your vision, your gifts, your calling, your capacity, your job description and your deadlines.

It was Peter Drucker who said, “Efficiency is doing things right, but effectiveness is doing the right things.” As a leader you want to be more about “effective” than “efficient.” You can be extremely efficient at things that really don’t matter in the long run. Many leaders are proactive rather than strategic in how they make their decisions and use their time.

Ask yourself at the beginning of a week: What are the 5-10 most important things that you need to accomplish this week?

Ask yourself at the beginning of a day: What are the 3-5 most important things that you need to accomplish this day?

Then, stick to those identified items. Don’t distract yourself with things of lesser value and importance, and don’t allow others to pull you off mission, unless what they are asking is truly of greater value than what you had originally planned to do.

This is one of the most helpful, practical things I have learned in my 45 years of pastoral ministry.

Don’t let the winds of other people’s demands and your own inner compulsions drive you onto a reef of frustration. Paraphrased from: “Tyranny Of The Urgent” by Charles E. Hummel.

Do all of this in total dependence on Jesus as you seek to be led by him, empowered by him and honor him.

–Special thanks to Dave Kraft for sharing his wisdom with us. This was originally posted on www.davekraft.org

This article previously appeared at Shandel Group

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Two Tools you Need

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

The chances that you have not heard that infamous line from Lincoln are tremendously low. And yet, how much power are in those few words. Every time we hear that quote, we should be encouraged to pause and examine our time and energy output to make sure that we’re using the sharpest tools we have.

In light of this reminder let’s pause for a moment and examine our professional tools (and personal, for that matter).

2 Razor sharp tools you should use today


First, and maybe most familiar is setting “SMARTER” goals.  We’ve all heard of SMART goals, but I first heard Michael Hyatt nuance this back in 2014 and it has been very helpful for me! SMARTER Goals go like this…

You need to set Goals or Objectives that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Bound
  • Exciting
  • Relevant

The only variation I encourage you to seriously consider is drawing a clear line between Goals and Objectives.

In our firm Goals are 13 months or longer and Objectives are 12 months or less.

This distinction helps us differentiate between priorities. And to be blunt, if you or your team can’t easily determine which priorities you need to pursue and when… then get out the white flag! Well, call us first, we can help with that. But if you do nothing, its only a matter of time before you will be sunk.

Next Practices

Second, forget “Best Practices” and “Better Practices”. Embrace “Next Practices”.

Now wait a minute, Alan. Isn’t this just a gimmicky play on words? I don’t think so, and what’s more is that does Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and Mark Sanborn, author of numerous Best Selling books (and two men that I greatly respect and have benefited from their leadership in big ways).

Let’s think about the concept of “Next Practices” through this lens. When researching for her book Rookie Smarts,  Liz Wiseman discovered this mind-bending fact.

Given the rate that information is coming at us faster and that information is also becoming obsolete… I found that if you work in any field that is technology related or infused about 15% of what you know today is likely to be relevant in five years.

WHAT THE WHAT! If indeed that discovery is true, and I linked her interview explaining this statement, what in the world is our antidote? Well, one layer of insulation will be adopting the concept that Zappos already employs which is “Next Practices”.

This concept is most fruitful when embraced and implemented from the top down. In other words, when a leadership team is open to exploring new and more helpful ways of completing responsibilities then your people will likely be more apt to embrace this way of thinking.

Here’s the bottom line, you and your people need sharp tools. I am trusting that setting SMARTER goals/objectives and considering Next Practices will empower you to keep an engaged and motivated employee force that will aid you in overcoming any obstacle.

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

This article previously appeared at Shandel Group. If you enjoyed this post, read Shandel’s book, Clarity: Focusing on What Matters.


The Top 10 Ways to Build Relationships

The holiday season is upon us – it’s a natural time to consider our relationships. Around this time, many of us reflect on the past year and evaluate how we are doing in the different areas of our lives. I encourage you to consider how to honor the people in your life and ways you might improve upon what is already going well, or mend a relationship that needs a little attention. If you discover your relationships can use some improvement, we are here to help!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Assign a high priority to relationships.

Let people know they are valued both through verbal affirmation and action.

2. Share feelings.

Communicate warmth, care and concern. Genuine emotions for others leads to reciprocity.

3. Be real.

By being authentic and genuine with others, you offer a level of vulnerability but also enable a degree of closeness.

4. Get interested in other people.

Find out what things they’re interested in and listen. Listening is far too under-rated a tool in showing care.

5. Consider the content and tone of information.

Be careful with criticism. Communicate a positive regard for associates. Encourage and promote personal projects.

6. Affirm positive qualities.

Let people know what you like and admire about them. Provide sincere praise.

7. Have time.

Offer your undivided attention. If relationships are really important, they’re important enough to invest yourself.

8. Be friendly.

Humor, smiles and a happy outlook on life attract people. Preach success, demonstrate positive emotions and showcase optimism.

9. Maintain the contract of the relationship.

Boundaries, confidences, and quiet understandings need to be respected. Loyalty and trust are the foundations of long-term connections.

10. Appreciate the gift.

Forgiveness and gratitude enable the repair of breeches. They express the value of the relationship and permit correction of transgressions.

About the Submitter
This piece was originally submitted by Robert G. Jerus

Your Coach,