Without Priorities, Things Slip Slide Away

By Stacy Cornay for the Times-Call
Publish Date: 08/07/2011

Two things are of paramount importance to runners – having a positive self-image and always knowing the shortest distance to the next public restroom.

When friends say they saw me out trotting, they undermine my positive self-image. What they perceive as trotting is to me running.

I vowed to correct the disconnect between their perception and my reality by improving my running times this summer. I also vowed to spend more time with friends and family, to host a large outdoor celebration, to slim down my dog, and to seriously address the needs of my needy garden.

We're now nearing the end of summer. Ads are promoting back-to-school sales and snow tire specials. Yet my personal summer to-do list remains pretty much undone. My running times haven't improved noticeably, my fat Lab is sleeping in the shade and weeds in the garden are thriving better than the tomatoes.

I could blame it on my workload or my husband or my son or the sleeping fat dog, but the fault doesn't lie there. Nor does the fault lie in planning.

I had plans to do it all, but camping, four-wheeling and trips to Coors Field delayed implementation.

I was tripped up by priorities. Things that should have been done were left undone, and the days kept slip sliding away until the calendar ran out. Now fall approaches and I still have slow running times and a dog the size of a linebacker.

Summer works against priorities in our personal lives. There are too many opportunities to do, to go, to see and to experience. We tend to let things slide for a day or three. But we can't do that in business.

One of my professional priorities is convincing businesses to set priorities, then to reorder their priorities to exploit changes. I'm fond of saying that business success is dependent upon what we actually do, not what we say we're going to do. Good planning gets a business to the point of doing. Defined priorities take a business from doing to getting things done.

Planning and prioritizing are never-ending. Each is dependent on the other. Neither can be set in stone. As conditions change, business, marketing, and communication plans must be reviewed, re-evaluated and re-directed. Priorities, too, must be adjusted for shifting demographics and emerging opportunities.

The process of plan and priorities reviews has to take into consideration such basics as target audiences, staffing and financial resources available to carry out tasks. Timelines are the foundation and the triggers to it all. Timelines set parameters for priorities. They are the boundaries for getting things done. They are the benchmarks against which business goals can be measured. They are safeguards against procrastination.

Planning and prioritization aren't rocket science ventures. But they do require an understanding of where your business is, a vision of where you want it to be and a commitment to getting it there.

With expertise, discipline and creativity channeled by priorities, goals set can be achieved.

My biggest non-business goal is to solidify my self-image as a runner. I've moved it to the top of my to-do list for the remaining days of summer. Between now and Bronco kick-off, my priority will be on improving my times to the point that there's no question as to whether I'm trotting or running.

So when next you see me cruising around Golden Ponds or pounding down some side street, consider what's happening under my baseball cap. In my mind, I'm running. Hard.

And I know the shortest distance to the next public restroom is straight ahead.


Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
Visit www.comm-concepts.com or call 303-651-6612.