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Prioritizing in the workplace

Did you know that South Africa allocates a higher proportion of its budget toward education than the US, UK and Germany? Unfortunately, the outcomes we're achieving don't reflect the proportionate spend that we allocate to education... not even close.

The multivariate challenges we face in our education system are substantial. Over the last decade I've had the privilege of engaging with many stakeholders at all levels of South Africa's government and private education sector. Off the back of that exposure, and a reasonable understanding of the challenges we face, if I had to pick one priority to move the SA education system forward, it would have nothing to do with technology, nothing to do with pedagogy, not even teacher training... it would be effective priority setting and accountability.

As humans, in many ways our existence is defined by our limitations. There are only so many hours in a day, and as individuals we can't be good at everything. As a result, we organise ourselves into cooperative, interdependent entities to get things done, and hopefully make the world a little better in the process. Within these organisations we're able to do far more than we could ever hope to do on our own, but even these entities are limited and can't do everything.

As a result, both as individuals and as organisations, we need to prioritise our work, ensure that our efforts are aligned, and be clear about the outcomes we're seeking to achieve.

If I reflect on our government education system, my observation is that they're always trying to do too much at once, and not being specific enough about the measurable outcomes which constitute progress. As a result, they are constantly just treading water. The best swimmers spend the vast majority of their time doing drills with hyper-specific techniques which result in micro improvements. When they put it all together on race day, that's when the magic happens.

At Valenture, we won't make the same mistakes as our government. Myself and the Valenture exco team will set very clear priorities for the business, and each individual's manager will then work with them to plan your priorities and KPIs. In the process, we will make sure that your individual work contributes to, and aligns with, the group priorities, and that way we will ensure that we move the business forward.

We've looked at a number of different systems to manage our priorities, and decided to use Align:

Here is a quick video to give you a sense of how we'll be using this tool:


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