Do You Have a Sense of Urgency?

In my job, I get to work with a lot of different people. It’s great because I love people. People energize me. I’m always talking, emailing, tweeting, commenting, etc. I’m always “on” – which can wear a lot of people out.

I get that.

Not everybody is me. Not everybody has my energy. Totally cool. The world would not be a better place if they did.

But what kills me are people who lack a sense of urgency in a constantly evolving and quickly shifting marketplace. There is a delusion that a lot of people operate under that has them making excuses for inaction while wrapping it up in a nice little ribbon. Here are two of the more common myths:

Myth: I’m waiting on more information
If you’re under the impression that you can make a fully informed decision with more information, you’ll never act. We’ll never have all the information we’d like. However, we will always have all the information we need.

Ask yourself this question: If this is all the information I will get on _____________ what decision would I make right now? Chances are, you won’t change your mind no matter what information you receive. Get used to making under-informed decisions. They all are.

Myth: I need to clear a few things off my plate first
Trust me, your plate isn’t as full as you think it is. And even if it is, it’s not going to get any emptier. Busyness is a perception. What’s busy to one person is lazy to another. The truth is we’re all pretty busy. But the world doesn’t care. Our competitors don’t care. Our clients don’t care. Our families don’t care.

You don’t need to clear things off your plate, you need to manage your time better. You need to learn to prioritize. Besides, if you’re good at what you do, you’ll always have a full plate.

Remember, the world is changing and evolving whether you want to or not. You need to have a sense of urgency. I’m learning to only work with people who do. You don’t need my energy, but you do need the ability to act in a moment’s notice on limited information and adapt to whatever comes next.

Questions: What are some of the excuses you’ve heard for inaction and lack of urgency? Which have you used in the past? How can we create a sense of urgency in our lives without letting “the tyranny of the urgent” control us?

About the Author

  • Hear, hear. John Kotter's book, A Sense of Urgency, was really helpful in changing my perceptions of work. I wrote about his book last year here:

    http://www.taylorbrooks.org/how-success-makes-you

    I love the way Thomas Keller has brought this urgent mindset to his kitchen at The French Laundry:

    http://garrytanphoto.smugmug.com/Other/French-Lau

    • Hi Taylor,

      Thanks for the comment and thanks for the book recommendation! I'll add that to my (ever-growing!) list of must-reads. Also, I'm going to check out those links later today.

      Cheers,
      Travis

  • Hear, hear. John Kotter's book, A Sense of Urgency, was really helpful in changing my perceptions of work. I wrote about his book last year here:

    http://www.taylorbrooks.org/how-success-makes-you

    I love the way Thomas Keller has brought this urgent mindset to his kitchen at The French Laundry:

    http://garrytanphoto.smugmug.com/Other/French-Lau

    • Hi Taylor,

      Thanks for the comment and thanks for the book recommendation! I'll add that to my (ever-growing!) list of must-reads. Also, I'm going to check out those links later today.

      Cheers,
      Travis

  • Spot on Travis. What does sitting on your laurel and watching things go by get you? Nothing.

    • Thanks, Mark. You're absolutely right. I just don't think people realize how much work it is to constantly change and constantly grow. It's long, hard work.

      That's why I tell people they better love what they're doing or they won't have the motivation to keep pushing when circumstances get difficult. Resting on your laurels is the perfect way to ensure you get left behind.

  • Spot on Travis. What does sitting on your laurel and watching things go by get you? Nothing.

    • Thanks, Mark. You're absolutely right. I just don't think people realize how much work it is to constantly change and constantly grow. It's long, hard work.

      That's why I tell people they better love what they're doing or they won't have the motivation to keep pushing when circumstances get difficult. Resting on your laurels is the perfect way to ensure you get left behind.

  • im so tired that i can reply here : )

  • im so tired that i can reply here : )