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Get ready to rock-n-roll in Nashville, TN, at the Raise fundraising conference!

Sept 9 & 10

4 Ways to Help Your Team Prioritize Goals in Any Work Environment

Reading Time: 5 minutes


Focused, productive teams.

Teams prioritizing goals that support the mission of your organization.

The community you serve depends on it.

But how can you support getting your team on the same page?

It won’t happen organically. But it doesn’t have to be hard. It requires a combination of guidance, support, and accountability.

Automation and tech tools can make fulfillment easier. The greatest success will be achieved when these concepts are co-created by your team.

Here are four easy ways to help teams come together; whether working remotely, hybrid, or in person.

They provide a framework for employees to support each other, celebrate, and learn. Most importantly, these four concepts will ensure that the organization’s goals are front and center in your team’s daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly work.


1. Daily Focus: What is One Thing That Must Get Done?

Our to-do lists are incredibly long, filled with both urgent and important tasks that all require completion. Add in a barrage of emails, instant message notifications, and meetings. It can be distracting and overwhelming. Where to start? What to do?

  • Provide staff with a focus for the beginning and the end of the day.
  • Have staff consider what is the one absolute must-do that has to be completed that day.
  • Have the team share that one must-do.
  • It can be documented via a Slack or Teams channel, or verbally in a morning stand-up meeting.
  • The must-do doesn’t have to be complicated, but it must be important.

At the end of the day, have the team check-in, sharing whether they finished their must-do. A fun way to complete this check-in is to frame it as a ‘ta-da’.

Give staff permission to announce their task with enthusiasm regardless of its complexity. The objective is to celebrate the focus and prioritization. One must-do complete is one step closer to reaching the goal.

For this to be successful, each employee needs to participate (including the manager/leader). A morning and afternoon prompt is helpful. Be sure to celebrate and acknowledge successes. If folks can’t complete their one must-do for the day, demonstrate empathy – we all have those days.


2. Weekly Priorities: What are the Top Three Tasks?

There is a continuous desire from employees to understand what others are working on, how they can support that work and how it impacts their work. Especially in remote or hybrid work environments, employees can quickly feel disconnected from the team and the work that is being accomplished by others. This is when teams drift from the goals. They lose sight of how their role fits into the organizational strategy and structure.

Sharing in a meaningful and productive way can be a challenge.

  • To keep employees aligned and focused, have each person communicate; in writing; each Monday morning, their top three priorities.
  • Three priorities are a manageable number in the context of accountability and likelihood of completion. The goal of the exercise is about providing focus and prioritization.
  • It’s important that the priorities are written down. Sharing in a dedicated Slack or Teams Channel or shared document works best. Verbal recitation dilutes accountability as no one remembers what was stated.

Of note, there may not be any interaction among staff with each other’s posts. Don’t take this as a sign no one is reading other team members’ priorities. They are! As a leader, make a point to comment as appropriate – ask a clarifying question, connect related tasks together to encourage collaboration or express enthusiasm for a task that relates to a key priority. This interaction demonstrates you take this initiative seriously.

For this to be successful, it needs to become a habit that may require prompts and reminders.

A side benefit of the daily and weekly documentation of must-do tasks and top priorities is that, as a manager, you spend less time during one-on-one meetings reviewing the status of work.

This presents the space to engage with staff in deeper, more meaningful conversations related to retention, engagement, professional development interests or career aspirations. You now have the time to understand who your employees are and what are their motivations.

3. Monthly Reflections: What are we Celebrating? What did we Learn?

The daily and weekly documentation of must-dos and top priorities supports team communication, offers a space to celebrate completed tasks, and holds employees collectively accountable in a supportive environment.

In a month, a lot can be accomplished. This should be acknowledged and celebrated.

  • An easy way to support the work getting done is to have employees complete a monthly reflection form. Created in Microsoft or Google Forms, a standard series of questions – using free form, checkboxes, and ratings – allows team members to reflect on what they completed in the month, what they learned and where there may have been challenges.

Collecting this data provides great insight into performance trends. Those insights offer the ability to determine how to support keeping the team focused on the priorities of the organization.

There is an investment of time in creating the form. Asking the team to co-create the questions is a great way to involve them in the process.

A side benefit to collecting this information is that it can be incorporated into annual performance reviews.


4. Quarterly Planning: Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

If priorities are not brought forward in an intentional fashion at consistent intervals, they will likely get lost in the day-to-day work; especially when immediate, urgent (by maybe not important) things pop up.

  • One way to mitigate this is to hold quarterly team planning sessions.
  • During these sessions, employees review priorities and goals and recommit to the work.
  • These sessions are opportunities to develop detailed tactics or activities for successful completion of a portion or all of a priority.
  • In these sessions, teams answer the important accountability questions: What do I need to do? When do I need to complete it? How will my team know it is completed?

Quarterly planning sessions ensure that there is a consistent line of sight to goals. They ensure progress and eventually success in a systematic, vision-focused fashion.

For this planning meeting to be successful, ask staff to come prepared with the priorities they wish to discuss, questions they need help to have answered, and the outline of a plan on how they will complete the priority in the quarter.

The Key is Consistency

The key to success is consistent connection, accountability, transparency, review, and celebration.

Ideally, all four of the prioritization frameworks work in tandem. However, it may not be feasible to employ all four at once. Start small and implement a trial period of three to six months. At the end of the trial, reflect and iterate.

It will be important to co-create the implementation with the team so that these concepts aren’t viewed as micro-managing their work. None of these are about keeping tabs on people, it’s about sharing, learning, and supporting the prioritization of the goals.

A focused, productive team; whether remote, hybrid, or in-person; isn’t difficult to accomplish.

The four tactics: daily must-dos, listing three top priorities each week, reflecting monthly, and planning quarterly, provide the framework.



About the Authow: LIZ REJMAN + CO.

The purpose of Liz Rejman + Co. centres around the foundation of effective fundraising: the optimization of operations so teams can increase productivity and performance for sustainability and scale. In other words, operational excellence to realize transformational fundraising.

Liz Rejman (she/her) has spent 25 years working in the fundraising profession serving social service organizations, arts organizations, healthcare foundations, and higher education institutions. 

Through her work and volunteer experiences, Liz has been involved in all aspects of fundraising. – from signature events, direct mail campaigns to major gift strategy and volunteer management. In all those areas, she has implemented systems for greatest success and sustainability.

Liz has instructed at both Western University on the topic of technology in the not-for-profit sector and at Georgian College on prospect research. She holds a certificate in Human Resources Management from George Brown College, a professional certificate in Learning and Development from Western University and is a former CFRE (2011-2016).

She is a contributor to the book “The Vigilant Fundraiser” and co-editor and contributor to the book “Prospect Research in Canada: An Essential Guide for Researchers and Fundraisers”.

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