Tom Lemanski's

Your Bridge to Discovery

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A valuable business opportunity is a terrible thing to waste.  Yet it will happen repeatedly if you aren’t ready to respond when they appear.

Escalating Overload

Ringing PhoneLiving in the information age, the amount of issues competing for our attention continues to  escalate. Remember the times when outsiders could only reach us through phone, mail or knocking on our door?  The fax machine came along and generated new incoming messages with a heightened level of urgency.  Electronic messages have all but obsoleted fax machines and intensified the volume of seemingly urgent messages.

Falling Through The Cracks?

New opportunities are constantly arriving by email, phone, snail mail and maybe even by fax.  How do you recognize them and prevent them from falling through the cracks?  You need to apply both skills and knowledge to gain systems that efficiently:

  1. Analyze
  2. Prioritize

ER Doctor and PatientPrescription and Cure

Hospital Emergency Rooms have a time tested system for analyzing and prioritizing.  It’s called triage.  It dates back to World War I when French medics created a system for prioritizing treatment of battlefield causalities.  Triage has evolved it is still utilized in ER’s today. When the demands on ER’s resources exceed their ability to immediately treat all cases presented, the triage system sorts cases into three categories. Heart attacks prevail over hang nails.



Time Management Triage

Time management experts prescribe categorizing your activities into three simple categories:

  1. Must Do
  2. Should Do
  3. When I Have Time

When applying this system, be aware that items in category #3 often go unattended.  They fall through the cracks by design like a hang nail patient in an over burdened Emergency Room.

Business “Opportunity Triage

With business opportunities it is equally important to recognize the difference between heart attacks and hang nails.  As you define the categories for your Opportunity Triage system, you analysis needs to analyze two factors:

1. – Value and  Return on Investment

Quantify the opportunity’s potential in terms of revenue growth, or cost savings.

2. – Urgency

Estimate how long can the opportunity be ignored before it falls through the cracks

With this analysis, your opportunity triage criteria should resemble that of the World War I French medics. It might look something like this:

  1. Items with a potential financial impact greater than $ X that need immediate action
  2. Items with that same financial impact that need action in the next 30 days
  3. Those opportunities of lesser impact and less urgency


How Crowded is Your Opportunity Waiting Room?

Do you have an effective system to analyze and rank your opportunities? If you don’t, some of them are likely to go untreated and may suffer an untimely death.  A valuable opportunity is a terrible thing to waste.

Triage Trivia

The triage concept has helped hospital effectiveness for nearly 100 years. Effective prioritization is an essential leadership skill. It is all too often missing in running our businesses and our lives. I created the phrase, “Opportunity Triage” in 2002 while working with a client organization where the staff perceived every incoming customer as a heart attack. As they embraced triage and learned to analyze and prioritize, they were able to both regain their sanity and improve their resource management.

Whenever I’ve applied the phrase “Opportunity Triage” to other situations, I’ve found it’s really “sticky”.  So fittingly, I’m compelled share with my subscribers.  On a selfish note, I’m claiming credit for creating the concept as I’ve notice others have borrowed it as their own. While we all borrow and use the ideas of others, it’s nice when we give credit to the originators.

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