Challenging the standard Quadrant thinking!

Two popular Quadrants include:

Important vs Urgent and Doing vs Not Doing

Small Business individuals or teams, individual Professionals or Corporate teams understand Quadrants.

Using quadrant charts has helped give visual aid to planning and assessing for some time now. Those who have embraced the technique, remember the charts as presented and work away.

However, there is a logic and an approach to making these quadrant charts easy to use that is missing!

Let’s take the two most commonly used tools of Important vs Urgent and Doing vs Not Doing.

The Important vs Urgent matrix is sometimes referred to as the Eisenhower matrix or the Stephen R. Covey‘s time management matrix. The rules for its use are well established.

At QuestUnique we present either a challenge to that convention or an alternative for how one may apply the principles intended.

Imagine a scenario where there are several competing tasks to be completed. Typically, we ask our clients to write each task on a post-it. Once you have a collection – usually, the very exercise prompts and reminds you of ‘other’ things. The more comprehensive the list and number of post-it’s the better. We then invite the client to do some scoring and rankings. (PS: Rather like brainstorming, we use tools and triggers to view the project as a whole and tease out tasks, actions, steps etcetera, which make for a comprehensive list).

On each post-it, score the task from 0 to 10 in terms of its urgency. (a ‘U’ score). Then rank the same task from 0 to 10 in terms of its importance. (an ‘I’ score).

And here is why the QuestUnique versions of the Quadrant charts is different. We use the LOGIC of mathematics in plotting the X and Y axis of a graph.

The X axis is used to represent the scale of URGENT: At the cross point to the Y axis, this is 0 and is set to 10 at its limit for the purpose of creating the QuestUnique version. The Y axis is used to represent the rank of IMPORTANCE: At the cross point to the X axis, this is 0 and is set to 10 at its limit. At the mid-way points, on both the horizontal and vertical axis i.e. 5, by extending lines from 0 to 10 you have a cross segmentation. By squaring off the graph i.e. at the 10-point indicators, you now have a quadrant.

Example of a logical quadrant created in a spreadsheet:

Creating a mathematically logical quadrant for Important vs Urgent. A graph illustrates the vertical and horizontal axises. This is squared at the number 5 indicators to give four quadrants or a matrix. Each quadrant is ordered to suggest a sequence of prioritization of the quadrant where one should put focus and action.

A mathematically logical quadrant

This mathematical logic determines the re-labelling of the conventional quadrant naming. So, the top right quadrant is now: Important and Urgent; the top left is Important and Not Urgent. The bottom left quadrant is now: Not Important and Not Urgent, whilst the bottom right quadrant is Urgent and Not Important.

Now, one can plot the lists of any tasks scored and ranked accurately and logically. All the conventional naming labels still hold good, except they are ordered in a more mathematically logical way. The process of scoring tasks recorded on post-its works extremely well in a team environment.

Create the Quadrant on a whiteboard and paste the ranked post-its on the grid using the logical quadrant concept above. The team now has an opportunity to discuss and debate the tasks according to their importance and urgency and reach a consensus by re-evaluating tasks as appropriate.

Much-valued clients of QuestUnique have their teams ‘post’ alongside the Quadrant on the whiteboard, random new tasks as they come up. Then at the team meetings, they together score the new tasks and agree their positioning on the Quadrant chart. That is a hallmark practice of a High Performing team!

Imagine the fun you can now have with the Doing vs Not Doing Quadrant. Download your complimentary QuestUnique Quadrants here.

Welcome to the world of Quadrants the QuestUnique way. See if this take adds value to your planning and prioritizing!