The Advisor’s Corner – How do I deal with so much on my plate?

How do I deal with so much on my plate?Question:

There is SO much on my plate – how do I sort out priorities, recognize the blocks, and keep an open mind for possibilities?

StrategyDriven Response: (by Roxi Hewertson, StrategyDriven Principal Contributor)

You might find that you are so focused on the ‘tasks’ at hand that the most important work is getting the short end of the stick. Let’s identify some ‘buckets’ to help you navigate your way to success.

Perhaps you have just been given a challenge to solve by your leader. Your job is to identify the relevant factors, create priorities, and then execute on your own or with others on your team. My advice: start by identifying which items fall into each of four buckets: Fat Rabbits, Quick Wins, Rocks, and Who Cares.

You know what a Fat Rabbit looks like, and it probably makes you smile! These are those parts of the challenge that are foundational, have the highest/fattest impact, and must be in place to succeed at executing your assignment. These are the big fat chunks of your challenge that need to be addressed or nothing else will work matter.

Quick Wins are those parts of your challenge that require minimal effort with maximum payoff. They demonstrate tangible, visible progress. Getting them done and making them known to the appropriate stakeholders, significantly boosts momentum. Too many people think they have to get the Fat Rabbits well underway or completed before going for any Quick Wins. Ignoring Quick Wins often results in Slow Wins or No Wins.

Then there are the Rocks. These are tough blocks in the road to completion of a successful challenge. These Rocks need to be identified without denial or wishful thinking. Pretending they aren’t there won’t make them go away. Sometimes Rocks are pebble like, and sometimes they are more like Mt. Rushmore. Solutions may not be known immediately, and that’s ok. You won’t move forward without moving the Rocks out of the way one way or another, or finding a way around them. If the Rocks are too formidable, reconsider the challenge – is it the right challenge at the right time? Moving Rocks requires a lot of effort and energy, so you need it to pay off.

Finally, we have the Who Cares bucket. These might be interesting, but they are a distraction. Identify the Who Cares items so your valuable time and energy are not waste and that no one really cares about.

Let’s take one challenge, Succession Planning and dip into the four buckets for a look. This sample is by no means complete, but it will give you the idea to apply to your own work.

Fat Rabbits

  • Define the workforce realities with indisputable facts, and create the ‘burning platform’ of urgency
  • Identify current competencies and compare with necessary next generation competencies
  • Align all HR/OD functions: to meet forecasted job content and design

Quick Wins

  • Learn why people come to work at ABC Company, why they stay, and why they leave
  • Identify key positions and key people to target for succession planning
  • Analyze internal/external labor demographics/pipelines

Rocks

  • Decentralization reality vs. having one ABC Company strategy, are in conflict
  • IT Systems, as they are today, and aggregate data reporting are insufficient to collect enough accurate data

Who Cares

  • Offices need to be rennovated when people leave, thus impacting the budget (lots of things impact the budget – it’s off topic or very low priority)

When you focus on the things that really matter, you make progress. When you don’t, you don’t make progress. Make sure your Rocks are not show stoppers, then go for a few visible and happy Quick Wins as you work on your Fat Rabbits!


About the Author

Leadership authority Roxana (Roxi) Hewertson is a no-nonsense business veteran revered for her nuts-and-bolts, tell-it-like-it-is approach and practical, out-of-the-box insights that help both emerging and expert managers, executives and owners boost quantifiable job performance in various mission critical facets of business. Through AskRoxi.com, Roxi — “the Dear Abby of Leadership” — imparts invaluable free advice to managers and leaders at all levels, from the bullpen to the boardroom, to help them solve problems, become more effective and realize a higher measure of business and career success.


The StrategyDriven website was created to provide members of our community with insights to the actions that help create the shared vision, focus, and commitment needed to improve organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results. We look forward to answering your strategic planning and tactical business execution questions. Please email your questions to [email protected].

The Best Jobs Go to the Best Educated People and Here is Why

Quite a bit of debate exists about whether education is obtained in school or through life experience. Looking at homes and families, the latter may reign supreme. However, universities, and the job market, often argue that a college degree is necessary to succeed in life and obtain a high paying job. Assuming that people can be educated in more than one way, what are some of the reasons why the best jobs go to the best educated people?

Education Blended with Common Sense
To succeed in the work world, people need to have a strong background in their field, but they also must exercise skills in common sense. Knowing the discipline provides the appropriate background information and the technical skills that are needed to succeed. However, the application of that knowledge often comes in the form of common sense. Exercising a blend of these skills allows workers to be confident, determined and strong in their decisions.


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About the Author

From her 25 years in business, Elizabeth Hill aims to pass on knowledge and skills gained in that time through her writing. She loves walks in the countryside, spending time with family and friends, and is ever so ‘slightly’ addicted to coffee.

Recommended Resources – Promote Yourself

StrategyDriven Recommended ResourcesPromote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success
by Dan Schawbel

About the Book

Promote Yourself by Dan Schawbel provides tangible advice for gaining the visibility necessary for career advancement without appearing to be overtly self-serving. Dan delves into the hard and soft skills needed for success in today’s professional world as well as what managers are seeking when deciding whom to promote. Once presented, Dan provides actionable advice for developing those skills required for advancement.

Some of the specific topics addressed within Promote Yourself include:

  • Hard skills required to be more than your job description
  • Soft skills necessary to make every impression count
  • Online skills to use social media to your advantage
  • Gaining visibility without being a self-promoting jerk
  • What managers look for when deciding whom to promote
  • Building a network at work and beyond

Benefits of Reading this Book

StrategyDriven Contributors like Promote Yourself because it provides immediately actionable steps to take charge of one’s career in a positive and effective manner. Dan tackles the unique challenges of today’s workplace environment – social media, advancing technology, generational gaps, and workforce mobility – revealing how to successfully deal with each by leveraging resources and opportunities internal and external to one’s company. He also provides an insightful discussion of addressing the need for change with one’s boss and knowing when it is time to move on. Dan’s recommendations align with our personal professional experiences, many of which are echoed on the StrategyDriven Professional website.

Promote Yourself focuses on professionals within the workforce and, in our opinion, would not be as useful to non-professional workers. Our experience also suggests Dan’s insights best apply to management consultants and that some additional and/or modified actions would better support those professionals working in more traditional, hierarchical organizations. Lastly, we believe Promote Yourself more ideally fits entry, lower, and mid-level professionals than second tier managers and above.

Promote Yourself reflects many of the professional development and career advancement principles recommended on the StrategyDriven Professional website making it a StrategyDriven recommended read, particularly for college seniors and professionals below the first-line manager level.

Personal Performance Improvement – Introduction

Today’s highly competitive marketplace demands continued personal performance improvement in order for professionals to remain viable and accelerated improvement to move ahead. Add in the exponential growth in available data and the vast number of global newcomers and it becomes easy to understand why all professionals feel overwhelmed.

StrategyDriven’s Personal Performance Improvement articles help relieve some of this stress by providing field tested methods and hard won insights that are immediately actionable to help improve individual performance effectiveness. These behavioral and mechanical performance improvement tools are divided into two categories: