Three Priorities for Prioritizing

In our business there is always more to do than time or stamina permit.  Setting priorities, then, is a necessary discipline for all hospitality managers.  But when much needs to be done, how should we set our priorities?  There are three principal priorities to get the most done:

1.   The Low Hanging Fruit.  Do the easy things first.  The sense of accomplishment from these simpler tasks gets the ball rolling and gives you and your work team a sense of accomplishment.

2.   The Biggest Bang for the Buck.  Another means of setting priorities, especially in a tough economy, is to go after those things that don’t cost much, thereby allowing the greatest accomplishment at the lowest cost.  As with the Low Hanging Fruit, making progress and checking off accomplishments will create momentum and enthusiasm for more challenging tasks.

3.   The Pareto Principle.  Also known as the 80-20 rule, it says that for a wide range of events and activities, 80% of the results comes from 20% of the causes.  This principle is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who observed in the early 1900s that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.  Other observations over the years such as 80% of crime being committed by 20% of the criminals, 80% of a company’s business coming from 20% of its customers, and 20% of a hospital’s patients using 80% of healthcare services have further reinforced what has become a common rule of thumb.

Busy managers should recognize and apply the rule to their operations.  By focusing on the 20% cause, you can influence the 80% of effects.  As an example, if 80% of your dining room business comes from 20% of your members, you and your staff should make special efforts to meet the needs of this group.  If 80% of your overtime comes from 20% of your team’s tasks, focus on finding a less costly solution to completing those tasks.  If 80% of your time is taken up with 20% of your work tasks, find another means of addressing those tasks, such as more efficient ways of completing them or delegating them to a properly trained employee.

Setting priorities will always be part of every manager’s responsibilities.  Using these three simple means to establish priorities will allow you to get the most done in the quickest manner with the least effort.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

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