In his book The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge relates the story of Vivienne Cox, who was to be promoted to a senior manager position at BP. At the same time as her promotion was coming, Cox had her first baby. She went to one of the senior managers at BP and told him, “I just want you to know that BP is not the most important thing in my life. My daughter is. If you think this will be in conflict with these new responsibilities, then it would be better to not promote me.” Later, Cox reflected: “While my job is very demanding, being clear about my personal priorities has really helped me, and maybe others in the organization as well.”
The topic for this month’s MissionMover is priorities. Clearly one of the elements that informs our priorities is our values. As much as Cox valued her work, she valued her family even more. This self-knowledge enabled her to make an important and wise choice on the front end of two competing life opportunities: management in a world-wide company and motherhood. Cox was very clear about her priority at that particular season of her life. And, ordering her priorities meant that she could engage both opportunities with personal, as well as organizational, clarity and understanding.
Priorities, personal and organizational, are best ordered out of our values. It becomes clear more often what needs to be stripped away, what needs to move down the list and what needs to be accomplished first.
We invite you to move through the articles, not just for information but for transformation. You will enjoy Dr. David Church’s guest article on Leadership Priorities and the free online resources. When you encounter a truth you know you need to consider for your life and/or organization right now, put a peg down! Ask God for clarity and summon the courage to strip away the excesses in order to be and to do the most important right now.
This might be a wonderful season to focus or refocus your life and priorities. If so, please consider joining our new group (cohort) in April. The teaching and exercises conducted in Focused Life and Leadership will be immensely helpful in sorting out your own values and help you to determine how consistently you prioritize your life based on your values. You can view the details for this under the Leadership Training Tab/Cohorts/SLD. We invite you to join us! It’s not too late to register.
God bless you as you choose daily to serve Him!
Grace and all good to you!
Joanne Holz, Major
Director of The Jack McDowell School for Leadership Development