Last week I had a very interesting discussion with my 21 years old daughter, who is working in a café in the center of Copenhagen. She is still in process of figuring out, want she want to do in her professional life and which education is the right one for her.

In the meanwhile, she is getting real life experience in the importance of #leadership.

The café she is working for, is a brand-new café in a very good and well-known location in Copenhagen. She was hired in before opening and has been involved in the start-up activities. Last week she was feeling frustrated and overloaded as there was not enough time to serve all the customers and at the same time close some of the open start-up tasks.

We had a very good discussion about prioritization, as there will most likely never will be enough time, to do everything, if you are ambitious or working for an ambitious company. We talked about the Eisenhower matrix, and how she should focus on the important tasks, and try to do them, before they become urgent.

But how does she know, what is important and what is not or less important?

The café does not have a clearly defined vision or strategy, or it is not communicated to the employees. Without having a clear vision and a strategy, it is very difficult for the employees to prioritize in the daily work.

Let’s imagine that the owner has a vision that the café should be known for having the best service in Copenhagen.

What is the best service?

The best service is subjective and will vary depending on which type of customers, you want to attract.

  • Is it that you are being served a fast as possible?
  • That the table setting is perfect?
  • That the atmosphere is very informal and friendly, and the serving staff spend extra time to chat with you?

Even with a clearly defined vision and strategy, it is important that you translate it to concrete expected behavior 

E.g.: if you see a small stain on the tablecloth, it must be changed immediately or spend a couple of extra minutes with the customers and give them some good advised about things to do in Copenhagen.

In case there is time enough, you can and should do both – but when it is busy, it is important the employees know what are the most important.

If employees do not have the right tools to prioritize, they might get stress and loose the big picture. They become inefficient and start taking bad decisions, which will increase the overload. And then you have a negative spiral.

Does your company have a clear vision and strategy which is translated into actual behavior?