When the word "priority" came into the English language in the 1400s, it only existed in the singular form. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about "priorities." Illogically, we reasoned that by changing the word we could bend reality. Somehow we thought that by pluralizing the word we would now be able to have multiple "first" things.
People and companies routinely fall prey to the false belief that we can have multiple No. 1 priorities. For example, I once worked with an executive team that needed help with their prioritization. They were struggling to identify the top five projects they wanted their IT department to complete over the next fiscal year, and one of the managers was having particularly a hard time with it. She insisted on naming 18 "top priority" projects. I asked her to take a step back and think about that for a minute. HowRead More »from There Can Only Be One No. 1: The Best-Kept Secret About Priorities