Monday, June 4, 2012

PRIORITIES... Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Now that you have Defined Your PURPOSE, Discovered Your PASSIONS, Decided on Your PRINCIPLES, it's now time to get your PRIORITIES in order.  PRIORITIES are an association or individual's visual display of their actions, matching up with your words.  Specifically in two areas:

1) Where you spend your time
2) Where you spend your money

It has been said, "you can tell a man/woman's priorities and what he/she believes by looking in his/her calendar and checkbook, to see where they invest their time and money."

This is so true.  When I do my "Power of P" talk, I have everyone answer a set of 10 basic questions.  I'm never amazed at how many come back with the following:
  • How many hours do you work a week:  75
  • How would your spouse rate the quality time you spend with her on a scale of 10:  3
  • How would your children rate the quality time you spend with them on a scale of 10: 4
  • What is your top PRIORITY in life:  My Family
This simple example illustrates that family is NOT their top priority, but work is.  Now there are times when, in order to provide for the family, that someone must work more than 40 to 50 hours a week.  Knowing that, what would change this dramatically is if the ratings of quality time from the spouse and children were 8's or 9's.  This would say that even though your time is having to be pushed more towards work at the present time, your #1 priority is still your family.  And your family KNOWS it.

This is so true in associations as well.  More often than not, associations are characterized as a "good old boy network."  A good way to way to judge that is to look at where they spend the association's time and money, and how big of an impact it is having on the "full" membership.  Is it only benefiting a certain sector of the membership, or is the leadership making decisions that are for the good of the full membership?  Are your actions matching up with where your strategic action plan says you are supposed to be spending your money and time?

I have learned in both my professional association and personal life, that if your list of PRIORITIES are not in alignment with your PURPOSE, PASSION, and PRINCIPLES, you will experience conflict and frustration within your membership, yourself, and those around you (your Board, members, family, wife, children, etc).

As an Association and in personal life, it is critical that you have your priorities written down and ask yourself:  Do those we serve see our PRIORITIES matching up with our PURPOSE, PASSION, and PRINCIPLES?  If not, it's time to make some changes.

Take time over the next week to look at the following:  PRIORITIES for your Association and you personally, and ask yourself... are our actions matching up with our words?

Association Priorities

1) Layout your action items in your strategic plan from top priority to the last
2) Look at where your funding in your annual budget is allocated
3) Look at where staff and volunteers spend their time

Does the time and money you are spending have your association headed in the right direction, given the mission and action items outlined in your strategic plan?

Are your priorities aligned to help solve your members deepest problems and threats to their business?

Me and My Son
If the answers to these questions are not a resounding "YES", then you either need to change direction, or realign your priorities.

On a personal level, I would challenge you to take the following typical priorities in a person's life and list them from highest priority down to the lowest priority.  Afterwards, look at your day-timer and checkbook...better yet, have those around you (your wife, kids, and friends put these in order for you).  ...Talk about a humbling experience!

List of Priorities (put them in order related to where you spend your time/money)
  • Wife
  • Children
  • Other Family
  • Work
  • Faith
  • Volunteering (church/nonprofit work)
  • Friends
  • Personal Health
Investing time to make sure your professional and personal PRIORITIES are in alignment will pay huge dividends in member value, loyalty, and greater bonds with your family and friends.

Bottom line...let your actions match your words, and you will begin to experience the "Ultimate Life."

Next week I focus on #5 of the 10 P's...  PEOPLE.  Don't miss it!

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