The Power of Prioritization
The textbook definition of prioritization is two-fold. As a principle, it means doing first things first. As a process, it means evaluating a group of items and ranking them in order of importance or urgency.
For a financial advisor, the successful practical application of prioritization is essential both to his interactions with his clients and to the development of his practice as a business.
In providing financial planning services to clients, the most important aspect of the plan is to prioritize the client’s goals and objectives based on what is most important to their financial situation. Realizing that a client’s funds are limited and that the most important goals need to accomplished first is critical to ensure success of the entire plan. Not prioritizing would result in smaller, less necessary goals being accomplished first only to sabotage the plan in leaving the largest and most essential goals unfulfilled or incomplete. Similarly, in operating a financial services practice, the most important aspect of a business plan is to prioritize the firm’s goals and objectives based on what is most important to the successful growth and development of the firm. Realizing that the advisor as the owner of a practice has limited time and resources to devote to a seemingly endless inundation of responsibilities makes it critical to prioritize what is most important. Not doing so or taking the easy way out and devoting the majority of time and resources to the easiest of tasks is a surefire way for a business to under perform.
There’s an old Italian proverb that states “if you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch either one”. Understanding that there’s only so much time in a day and further understanding that energy is a limited resource makes it clear that for all the things that a financial advisor can do in a day, that he’s not going to be able to execute on all of them. Or at the very least, it’s not likely that he’s going to be able to execute on all of them to the best of his abilities. It’s not easy to have ten tasks to complete and to complete the tenth task with the same efficiency and effectiveness as the first task. Think of the financial advisor with ten client appointments in a day. How likely is it that the client the advisor sees last will receive the same level of attention and consideration as the client that the advisor sees first?
Prioritization is as much a discipline as it is a process. Understanding prioritization as a necessary element to personal and professional success beckons the actuality of knowing just how and what to prioritize.
Stop Multitasking! Commit to ONE thing first. Unlock the power of prioritization in your business by asking yourself what the one thing is that you can do that if done successfully would make everything else better. Concentrate on that one thing first, foremost and entirely. Focus your concentration, your time and your energy on that one thing.
Distinguish between Urgency and Importance. Categorize your tasks and responsibilities. Determine what must get done versus what you want to get done. While a sense of urgency can be a tremendous motivational factor, it needs to be applied to what is most important in order to be an effective growth catalyst for your business. Spending too much time with urgent but unimportant tasks will only have you treading water at best.
Prioritize with a purpose. Prioritization drives productivity and profit, but purpose is what gives life to prioritization. The most successful people have a strong sense of purpose that provides the guidance and direction that drives their actions.
Prioritization matters, so prioritize what matters most. Make it matter to you and make it matter to your business.