So many times leaders can feel overwhelmed by requests for urgent issues and tasks. Unfortunately, urgent does not always mean important, but the urgent often trumps the important if leaders aren't prepared to respond to the request at the moment it is asked.
By having corporate goals prioritized, and cascaded throughout the organization to individual goals, leaders take a giant leap toward ensuring energy is focused on the truly important. A great aspect of prioritizing goals is that direct reports, when faced with an urgent request, can weigh it against the importance of corporate goals.
A simple explanation to a co-worker: "I'm sorry - I'd love to help you, but I'm working on this project which ties directly to our #1 corporate priority. I'll be happy to help once I complete this," can say "no" without pain on either giving or receiving end.
Additionally, at the end of the day, direct reports feel like they accomplished something, not just spinning wheels reacting to everyone else's priorities. Warning: Leaders shouldn’t be surprised if direct reports use the same approach to their requests!
Leaders can empower direct reports to great success, by allowing them to say "no" to urgent, not important priorities.