What are your leadership responsibilities – engaging the workforce, hiring, acquisitions, financial planning, visioneering, innovation? Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, believed he had only three things to do as a leader: choose the right people, allocate the right funds and transmit ideas from division to division at the speed of light.

What is on your leadership priority list? Is it short? Can you articulate your priorities in one easy to understand sentence? Much like a mission statement for a company, a leader also needs focused direction and clarity. Without a roadmap to follow, you’ll get somewhere but is it where you want to end up?

Leadership Requires a Focused Roadmap

You wouldn’t think of traveling to an unknown or even a known destination anymore without your GPS activated or a roadmap to get you there. Or not use mobile devices while in route to communicate and stay connected. Leaders also need certain tools to stay focused in a world drowning in interruptions and distractions in order to maximize success.

Creating a focused leadership roadmap does not have to be a daunting project. While there may be dozens of things you need to get done, it is important to know which are the most important - the ones that are so important that they should always be at the forefront of everything you do.

A Leadership Vision Statement

Welch considered communications, the transmittal of information, so important in his leadership model that it was one of his top three priorities. What are your top three?

Take some time to consider your “top three” and focus on them – they are your roadmap to increased efficiency, effectiveness and productivity. With a concise sentence, these priorities will become your leadership vision or mission statement.

They also save you time because they are how you evaluate all the distractions and interruptions you face — whether in person or through mobile devices — and thus determine whether they deserve your attention. Will the distraction help you succeed in meeting your goals or is it a deterrent that will stand in your way? What are the three most important things you do that drive everything else?

Create Your Leadership Priorities List

Only you can create this list – you cannot delegate it. It is your priority list and should be your core foundation for leadership. Creating it can be easy as long as you are willing to spend a few minutes with a tablet (electronic or paper) and pen.

First, record all of your responsibilities and important tasks you do over a period of one or two weeks. Record them all no matter how large or small. Then evaluate them to see if there are defined categories that various items can be moved into such as allocation of funds, workforce needs/issue, innovation, etc.

Second, if you have some items without a category, consider whether they are the type of things that can be delegated or are deserving of a category by themselves. If you can delegate them, do so. If not, keep them on your master list. Obviously the larger the organization, the more you can delegate. The smaller the business the more responsibilities the leadership must carry.

Third, review all the categories you have left. Can you get down to three priority items that will make or break your success as a leader? Perhaps it will take some additional reflection on your part but when you get to that point you will have a clear roadmap that will provide you focused direction to leadership success. Welch actually created an ideal set of priorities, people/workforce, finances and communications. Somewhere in his truth is every leader’s truth and roadmap.

Once you have completed your exercise create one sentence, much like a brief mission statement, that accurately describes your priorities. Use this as your daily mantra for success. Evaluate everything you do against it so you have clarity on what is important and what can wait - you will save time while increasing your performance and productivity.

© Pat Heydlauff, all rights reserved 2014

Author's Bio: 

Pat Heydlauff, a “flow of focus” expert, speaker and consultant designs workplace environments that unleash the flow of focus, maximize productivity and transform org charts for future sustainability. She is author of the forthcoming book, Engage, Focus to Fuel Profitability and published books, Feng Shui, So Easy a Child Can Do It, The Way We Go, Your Roadmap to a Better Future and Selling Your Home with a Competitive Edge. Contact her at 561-744-2666 or www.engagetolead.com.