GUT Matrix: A Tool to Organize Your Priorities and Be More Productive
Understand how to better organize your work routine.
Organization is linked to both productivity and proactivity. How many times do we get lost due to the numerous tasks we have to carry out? In a business, the situation becomes even more complex, because you also need to deal with unexpected problems that emerge along the way. That way, management tools can go a long way in helping us, as is the case of the GUT matrix.
Our post is precisely about the impacts of using this matrix and how it can teach us about the prioritization of tasks and projects.
Would you like to learn more about how it works, its benefits, and its implementation? If so, read on!
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What is the GUT matrix?
The GUT matrix is a support tool for problem-solving prioritization.
GUT is an acronym that separates problems by:
- G – gravity
- U – urgency
- T – tendency.
In order to understand this better, think about the SWOT analysis.
Both matrices analyze a business’s internal and external environments. But the GUT matrix has a unique feature, which is the possibility of quantifying information and classifying it according to its priority level.
The technique appeared in 1981, thanks to the work done by two problem-solving experts: Charles H. Kepner and Benjamin B. Tregoe. They put the matrix into practice due to the need for a more detailed guideline regarding complex problems.
The idea was to scale the difficulties in order of priority, taking into account both the positive, as well as negative impacts on the business.
GUT matrix elements
As shown, the GUT matrix consists of three elements. Below, you will get to see more detailed information about them.
We know that a small problem can become a huge one if it isn’t solved promptly. Therefore, the first point is gravity, in which the problem’s true extent is analyzed, as well as its potential for generating negative impacts.
This one is linked to time, that is, to the problem’s priority, taking into account the deadlines for the issue to be solved. If something is urgent, you have less time to solve it — and vice-versa.
Evaluates the probability of the problem getting worse if nothing is done to solve it. To do so, it’s necessary to take into account a pattern of development (tendency).
All of these elements are subdivided into scales ranging from 1 to 5; where 1 represents a mild situation, while 5 indicates something complex.
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3 steps to set up a prioritization worksheet
With all this information, you’re probably asking yourself, “How do I build a valid GUT matrix?” That’s what we’ll teach you next!
1. Listing problems
Do you know what the real problems of your business are? You don’t? Well, it’s time to start writing them down!
List all of them, as well as the related activities that you wish to analyze. Taking into account the gravity, urgency, and tendency, write down the difficulties faced.
Two ways of efficiently setting up a list are by means of a conversation with your team and also a market survey among your customers.
In the first case, if you don’t have employees, you can reflect and individually analyze what your challenges are on your own.
Your customers, on the other hand, might have a different view, so ask them what can be done to improve the product or service.
2. Scoring problems
In the second phase (after you create the list), you need to specify the problems. This means classifying them according to each one’s level of gravity, urgency, and tendency. As we said earlier, the scale goes from 1 to 5.
Imagine that you’ve analyzed a problem and have found that it’s quite serious. Therefore, it needs to be solved as fast as possible, otherwise, the situation might get out of hand and affect your business negatively.
However, you need to remember that there might be other problems in the same situation. Therefore, you need to multiply the scores of each segment. This will help you have a clearer comparison of what needs to be solved first and what can be solved later.
3. Classifying problems
During the last phase, you need to rank the problems, i.e., classify them in order of priority.
After you multiply G x U x T, you’ll have a value between 1 and 125. The priority order should be the value in 1st place and so forth, until the last value, which will be the lowest.
From this classification, you’ll have an idea of what needs to be done. To do so, perform a final analysis and define an action plan. In this document, specify who will be responsible for each step and also define a deadline for the conclusion of each action.
Main reasons for using the GUT system
The GUT system facilitates the entire business organization, but there are other good reasons to put the matrix into practice.
Strategic planning support
Strategic planning is a tool that will bring you closer to your future goals. It’s no coincidence that the document is of great importance to the business.
By using the GUT matrix, it becomes easier to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your business management, and what needs to be improved and solved so that the business isn’t affected.
The use of the matrix will serve as a basis so that you can align your planning to your needs as best as possible. With this, you’ll manage your venture more efficiently, regardless of the business complexity.
In addition, the matrix will be a source of information so that you can take action against constant failures in order to mitigate them.
Assistance in the prioritization of problems
You may have experienced this before: you solve a problem and immediately afterward, a much bigger one occurs.
This is quite common when there’s a lack of organization of what needs to be done and the definition of the best moment for such a task. This is where the GUT matrix comes in.
It’s responsible for helping in the prioritization of problems. Through its classification, it’s possible to be clear about what to do first and what can be done later, preventing problems from accumulating.
Have you noticed that when we direct our efforts to the solution of a problem, it’s usually solved quicker?
This also occurs when we talk about an enterprise. Certain problems might have a negative effect on the business, while others won’t result in serious consequences.
When we use the GUT matrix, it becomes easier to direct these efforts, which can be either strategic or economic.
For instance: One situation may require the investment of funds and attention, while another one might remain on the waiting list.
One of the unique features — also considered a benefit —, is that the GUT matrix can be easily implemented. Therefore, the business size or segment doesn’t matter, the system can still help you.
In addition, the GUT matrix can be associated with other tools such as SWOT analysis and PDCA cycle.
Imagine that you’re having difficulty knowing which digital marketing strategy to put into practice first. Through the matrix, you are able to analyze the potential of each action, the urgency to apply it, and also the consequences of doing nothing.
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Why should you adopt the GUT matrix?
The GUT matrix is a tool that can be used by all, since in addition to being effective, it allows a qualitative and quantitative assessment of any situation.
As we’ve seen, gravity, urgency, and tendency classification is one of their unique features, which allow a thorough analysis of the problems so that you can solve them in a fast and precise manner. We hope that you’ve enjoyed learning more about this technique and that you’ll apply it successfully!
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