I’m sorry I didn’t do that thing I promised, but Bill (or Ben or Jill or Jen) asked me to do something else and it took more time than I expected, but it was good and they’re happy, I just didn’t do that thing. I’ll do it next. Unless Jen (or Jill or Ben or Bill) or someone else or something else takes my focus again. Let’s just see what happens. I’ll let you know.
It’s never black and white, nor is it obvious, but given the chance, most people will work on the things they want to work on, the easy things, the intriguing things, the things they’re being asked for loudest, last, the things that lead on from the thing they were working on five minutes ago.
Everyone makes choices. The greatest contribution you can give is clear priorities.
Skippy strategy: Tell them where you want them to focus.