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Priority Driven Leadership
by Dr. Mary Lippitt

Leaders know that the decisions they make set direction. But are they using balanced business priorities? Are shifting organizational and market realities factored into the
decision? Leadership is a dynamic interchange between employees, customers, stakeholders, and the organization, which can be more effectively understood by
examining six core strategic business priorities:

   1. What new products/services are needed to maintain our unique position?

   2. What will contribute to market growth and/or customer satisfaction?

   3. What structures and/or systems will be most effective?

   4. What will maximize our resources and/or improve performance?

   5. What type of culture will help us learn and grow?

   6. What are the emerging opportunities that will position us for the future?

These questions are not new, but addressing them in a systematic matter results in an integrated view of what it takes to be a leader. Successful leaders recognize that they
tend to favor one or two of the priorities and, therefore, they must surround themselves
with people who have different priorities for greater balance, thereby ensuring better performance.

Understanding priorities enables individuals to develop others, influence decision-making,
and improve communication. While much is written about how to communicate, little of it emphasizes the need to identify benefits from multiple priorities. Relying on a single "most attractive" benefit is unlikely to get everyone on board.

Leaders who target broader results, who prepare people for current and future challenges,
and who can simultaneously recognize customer and stakeholder needs will succeed in
this millennium. A comprehensive approach can overcome the "flavor of the month"
mentality, build trust, and provide the smoothest sailing throughout the 21st century.

Dr. Mary Lippitt is President of Enterprise Management Ltd., a consulting and training firm in Bethesda, MD. She specializes in leadership, the implementation of change, and effective team strategies. She has developed a tool, The Leadership Spectrum Profile, to assess leaders' decision-making priorities. For further information contact her at [email protected] or visit and visit www.leadershipspectrum.com.             

                                                            ExpertMagazine.com 2001

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