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How do You Determine the Most Important Items?

Some Big Rocks May Be Bigger than Others; Some Key Job Responsibilities are More Critical than Others. How do You Determine the Most Important Items?

The easiest way to determine what the most important key responsibility in a subordinate’s job is to imagine that you’re having a conversation with that person. The individual asks, ‘‘Boss, what do you think the single most important part of my job is? If I were to excel in only one area, which one would you have me do my best in?’’

What would you say? Whatever you would say, that’s probably the most important key responsibility in the individual’s job.

Now imagine that the person says to you, ‘‘Boss, I am just overloaded. I simply can’t do everything that I’m supposed to do. If I had to eliminate one thing from my job, which one of my responsibilities do you feel is the least important?’’

Again, what would you say? Whatever your response, it indicates the area of least importance.

One of the great advantages of spending an hour in a performance-planning discussion is that it allows the manager and the subordinate to talk about issues like this so that the individual will concentrate time and attention on those areas that have the biggest impact on the organization’s success.