Leaders Must Prioritize
Leaders must prioritize. Although Stephen Covey popularized a story
about big rocks nearly twenty years ago, I first heard it at least a
Here is the story: A man took a large bucket, piled it full of
fist-sized rocks and then asked his audience if the bucket was full.
They said it was. Next he got some small gravel and added it to the
bucket. When he asked if the bucket was full now, they weren’t sure.
Next he got some fine sand and poured it in the bucket. By now, the
audience was pretty sure he wasn’t finished. Next he poured in some
water and asked the audience what he just demonstrated. Someone replied
it showed people could always fit more things into their lives if they
worked at it. “No,” said the speaker, “it shows that you have to put the
big rocks in first.”
the job, some things are important; for example: if my boss thinks it is
important, it is a priority for me; if my failure to act causes problems
later on, then action is a priority; if what I am doing or not doing
hinders my family, friends or colleagues, then correcting my behavior is
a priority. Low priority things include: reading the next chapter of a
novel, spending a couple of hours walking through the home improvement
center or logging on to facebook every day. If I get the important
things done first, then I can do these lower priority activities.
80/20 rule says 80% of our results come from just 20% of our efforts. In
a company, the top 20% of clients bring in 80% of the revenue. In life,
certain things you do (20%) will account for the majority (80%) of your
happiness and success. While these numbers might not always work out to
be exactly 80/20, the principle is true. Leaders must decide what’s
important and focus on those things.
life priorities are God first; family and friends, second; job, third.
My “job”—teaching college students, directing leadership conferences and
speaking or training on communication and leadership—is my passion.
Sometimes my passion takes quite a bit of time, but I remember my
priorities. Fortunately I have the support of my family and friends; and
I can serve God by doing my job to the best of my ability.