Wreak Havoc on Your Team with One Simple Step

AdVance Leadership » Wreak Havoc on Your Team with One Simple Step


The easiest way to wreak havoc on your team is to have too many priorities.

We once worked for an organization where the senior leader had grown frustrated. No matter how much he talked about priorities, his employees could not figure out what he deemed most important. He couldn’t understand why no one was taking action on the priorities he was communicating.

Once again, he gathered his team to share the priorities: eight of them, in fact. He identified so many priorities that no one knew which one they needed to do.

In this leader’s attempt to create clarity, he caused confusion. Why?

Because he had too many priorities.

In this article, we will use “priorities” and “goals” interchangeably. In many organizations there is a difference between the two. But you can wreak havoc on your company if you have too many of either.

If you want to wreak havoc on your organization, it’s quite simple. Do what many leaders do: identify too many priorities.

Here are 10 ways that too many priorities wreaks havoc:

  1. Lack of Focus: With too many goals, employees may be unsure of what is most important, leading to confusion on key priorities.
  2. Diluted Resources and Effort: Resources, including time and manpower, get spread too thin across multiple goals, reducing the effectiveness of efforts on any single objective.
  3. Decreased Productivity: Employees struggle to manage their time and efforts effectively across multiple priorities, leading to lower overall productivity.
  4. Reduced Employee Engagement: Overwhelmed by the multitude of goals, employees feel disconnected or less engaged with their work.
  5. Difficulty in Measuring Success: With numerous priorities, it becomes challenging to track progress and measure success accurately.
  6. Increased Stress and Burnout: The pressure to achieve multiple goals can lead to heightened stress and potential burnout among employees.
  7. Poor Decision-Making: When there are too many priorities, decision-making can become more complicated, as it’s harder to determine which goals should take priority.
  8. Inconsistent Performance: Teams might achieve success in some areas but underperform in others, leading to inconsistent overall performance.
  9. Overloaded Communication Channels: With numerous goals, there’s a surge in the amount of communication needed, leading to overloaded channels and information overload for employees.
  10. Decreased Morale: Employees might feel frustrated or demotivated if they perceive that their efforts are not contributing to meaningful or achievable goals.

How Many Goals Is Too Many?

According to research, if you have 11 or more goals at one time, you have too many. With this number of goals, you have no chance of accomplishing any of them. If you have 4-10 goals, you have a small chance of accomplishing one of them. But if you have three or fewer goals, you have a high likelihood of accomplishing all of them.

This raises a big challenge for many leaders: your company needs to achieve a huge amount of objectives. How can you narrow your goals when you have so much to accomplish? We recommend that you use one goal, a few strategic bets, and multiple projects to create clarity.

Three Tools to Create Clarity

We utilize three tools to help teams create clarity.

1. Identify one major long-term goal that your team needs to accomplish.

This goal should be at least one year out, but it’s great if you make it three to five years out. It should be one goal that you believe will make a huge impact to your company.

2.Determine five or fewer Strategic Bets to help you accomplish your goal.

Strategic Bets are a handful of strategies you “bet” will help you achieve your goal. Strategic Bets help you pre-decide the avenues you’re going to use to fulfill your BHAG.

3.Craft Projects in the Strategic Bets

For each of the Strategic Bets, identify projects you want to carry out in the near future. David Allen defines a project as “anything that requires two or more steps to accomplish.” Projects may only take a few weeks or months to complete, but they help you gain momentum on your Strategic Bets.

Your team can work on multiple projects simultaneously. They must understand that all projects connect to one single BHAG. This format creates clarity by having one goal. It works toward that goal in multiple ways.

When it’s all put together, it will look something like this:


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