Brand Work

Discover Your Values and Priorities: A Simple Exercise for Leaders

Our client: A highly successful entrepreneur who has built an entertainment technology empire. The company at the heart of his empire no longer interests him the way it once did. Today, he is more interested in a new generation of opportunities. Of these, he’s identified many on his own and had many others presented to him. There’s no shortage to choose from.

And that’s the problem: As he plans to create a new company to pursue these opportunities, he has time to dedicate himself to but a tiny fraction of the total. He’s getting older, after all, and he feels the need to be more deliberate about his choices. He’s also concerned about making a positive impact and leaving a legacy worthy of his values.

This is one of the exercises we give him to help him prioritize—and consider the values underlying his choices.

Think about all of the business opportunities that have come your way as well as all of the ideas for business ventures you have had over the past few years. Try to be as inclusive as possible.

Write each on a three-by-five card and then separate them into three piles:


First Pile: The things you rejected pretty much right away. Setting aside those you rejected because they simply didn’t seem like good ideas with good revenue potential, why did you reject each of rest?

Second Pile: The things you seriously considered before rejecting them. Why did you consider them seriously, and why did you ultimately reject them?

Third Pile: The things you are still considering.

Now, take the last pile and stack them in order from those that excite you the most to those that excite you the least. Assume that you don’t have limitless time and resources and can pursue only one at a time. Assume that for, whatever reason, you might not be able to complete them all, so getting “first things done first” really matters.

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