Prioritise the routine even during an emergency

In a typical knowledge work environment, there will be something new worth discussing everyday. Some crisis, or opportunity or emergency. There’s always something.

As leaders in organisations, it is very tempting to leap into action – We have to understand this new thing. We have to wrestle it into submission. And in doing, so we lead from the front.

But do we do this at the cost of sacrificing the routine?

  • Did we review the latest numbers for X?
  • Did we give the formal go-ahead for project Y?
  • Have we answered that outstanding query?
  • Did we finally decide on issue Z?

When we prioritise the new over the routine, we potentially kill or disrupt momentum in other parts of the organisation.

How many times have you heard/given the excuse “Oh, we ran out of time in the meeting before we got to that issue”. If this is a regular occurrence…

  1. Recognise that you have a problem
  2. Commit to covering routine items before covering the latest “thing”

Step 2 probably needs some reinforcement. Maybe an agenda for daily stand-ups or a daily reminder in your calendar.

The long term outcome of prioritising the routine should be that you have fewer emergencies and more opportunities. Win-win.