Who Really Knows……Your CEO’s Priorities………?

By Sid Chadwick

“It is necessary for us to learn from others’ mistakes. You will not live long enough to make them all yourself.”…….Hyman George Rickover


We listened to the CEO’s frustrations…for about two hours. People were not making good decisions, especially with how they used their time, and how their production schedule was being managed.

 Interestingly, the CEO’s top production and sales lieutenants were experienced, smart, motivated….and most had known the CEO for several years.

I asked him to conduct a rare exercise:

  • flipchartList your top ten priorities --- for your organization. Number them one to ten. Let the list and the numbering “cool-off”, review the list, and make any adjustments he felt were needed.
  • Scramble the list, and make copies of the scrambled list.
  • Call your lieutenants in, give them the scrambled list, and ask them to each organize the list as they individually thought he would organize the list, 1 to 10.
  • No one was to show how they, individually, believed his ten priorities would be listed.
  • Then go to the flip chart, and write out what his ten priorities list looked like, and explain why each one is positioned in the order it is positioned.

There should be, at least temporarily, a period of improved decision making.

Note: It’s not unusual for such a list of Top Ten Priorities --- to be reviewed, and updated --- every three to six months.


When someone asks, “Do you understand?” And the responder shakes their head “yes”, or says “yes” --- I submit --- there’s no evidence to indicate that they understand.

When I say, respectfully, to someone, “Would you please give back to me what you understood me to say, I’m not sure I said everything I should have.”

The odds are high that, as they give back to me what they heard me say, (a) I’ll think of something else I should have told them, or (b) they’ll leave something out I believe I said --- that’s important.

Great communications require work, humility, and alert observation --- of others.

“You trust your mother…..but you cut the cards….”………Anonymous







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