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Get Your Priorities Straight

Intentional Leadership Priority CardsDid you know…leaders are great at setting goals, but seldom set priorities.

Another way to put this is that leaders far too frequently bite off more than they, or those they lead, can chew. Lack of priorities can take several forms, such as:

  • Overwhelming their staffs with competing initiatives
  • Leading projects with “scope creep” that end up devouring time and resources way beyond what was anticipated, funded or staffed
  • Asking others to “do more with less” until, inevitably, human capacity is truly overwhelmed.

Goals are often tangible—profits, products, student learning targets, or implementation of strategies. Priorities are things such as professional development, staff relationships, accountability, autonomy, consistency in policy, and so on. And we can only concentrate on so many of them. Not setting priorities is similar to playing poker–you won’t have as much control as you like over the cards you’re dealt.

When coaching for intentional leadership, we start by asking leaders to sort their priorities. We use a set of cards, and we observe the client sorting them in order to understand the rationale behind the chosen priorities. Then we ask the client to map those priorities onto essential tasks of leadership and compare the patterns to the leader’s natural strengths and equally natural blind spots. Is there a focus on the right priorities for the situation, including the current goals?

But how do we know what those strengths and blind spots are likely to be?  An integral part of the Intentional Leadership Coaching process is to assess personality and emotional intelligence using the best available tools in the business.  Fully knowing what our natural inborn tendencies are AND understanding how well we have learned to use our “soft skills” makes for a winning combination when setting and executing our leadership priorities.

Finally, most leadership training is done in a workshop which creates energy in the moment but seldom leads to resilient change. Why is that?  We believe it’s because individual support, before and after the workshop, is the key to long term outcomes.  You need to know who you are as an individual in order to play your cards right in the leadership role. Likewise, you need to specify your goals so they address your leadership priorities in the most effective way.   ILA workshops are all-inclusive; we support your through out the whole process by providing individual coaching before and after the workshop so that you can truly be an intentional leader.

Jane Kise, Ed.D  (

Ann C. Holm, MS, ACC  (

We invite you register for the Intentional Leadership Coaching Workshop being offered at Cleary University in Howell, Michigan on May 8, 2014,  Click Here

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