A Sense Of Urgency
How To Conduct Business
I always felt that business should be conducted with a sense of urgency.
Don’t sit around a wait till tomorrow. Don’t feel that “it’s OK, it’s not that urgent, it can wait a bit”.
Yes, many things can wait and yes, in many respects it can be prudent to wait a bit before you jump in with an action, conclusion or counter argument, just like it may be the case when your are in a heavy discussion or let’s say even a fight with your spouse (or anybody else for that matter).
However, I encounter far too many who on daily basis are conducting their business with way too much lassitude and a belief that it’s OK if this or that is not done today, but will be done tomorrow.
Their ideas of “How long should things take” are just way too long and it can and it will hurt their business.
Oftentimes, great business opportunities come about with small windows of opportunities and a small window means that you have to act upon it now and not later. Save it for later and the window is no longer open. Save it for later and someone else has adequately filled the gap. Save it for later and the opportunity just no longer holds the same promises.
It’s not just about the windows of opportunity, however. It’s also a matter of your attitude and of the attitudes of the people employed with your business, whom you are influencing with your behavior.
If you show them that “things can wait” and that “there’s no urgency”, even with what may seem minor things, then they too will adopt the same attitude and before long you will find yourself always waiting way too long for even the simplest of things or worse yet, for the things that may really matter and that may really be urgent.
Yes, in other words, it’s much An Attitude Thing.
When you continuously show an attitude of urgency, you continuously demonstrate to your employees that time is of essence, that things that should take only 2 hours to complete, should only take 2 hours and not be OK that it happened to take 3 hours.
You will demonstrate to your employees and your organization that e.g. the new website build should only take 3 weeks to get completed and not 6 months.
Often, not for the sake of the website on its own, but for what it means for the progress of the business in entirety or for other things in the business that are placed on hold till its in place.
Again, the website example here is just an example, so it’s not just for your website, but for everything in your business.
A sense of urgency keeps you and the organization on your toes. It keeps you alert and it keeps you moving along on with a greater speed that may help you reach your goals much faster and with greater results than those businesses and organization that just sort of trod along.
That doesn’t mean that you throw yourself mindlessly into decisions or action of sorts in your business or don’t allow yourself time to ponder and evaluate your options, ideas or challenges, but it does mean that you operate and think about your business from a mindset that Time Is Of The Essence.
And Time Is Of The Essence.
Whether you respond to a customer query today or tomorrow can easily determine whether you will get the order or not. Whether you solve a customer complaint today or tomorrow can easily affect how well the customer feels he or she has been treated and how they will respond to your attention.
Do you wish to be known for a business that gets things done and done expediently? Or for a business that doesn’t seem to pay that much timely attention or where it seems, you are slow about everything?
Do you wish to get results sooner rather than later?
Silly question, I know.
Yet, you must ensure that your actions are aligned with your answer to it too and that means that you must be acting in your daily operation with a sense or urgency and demonstrate continuously that speed is important and that time is of essence.
As a business leader how you act and carry about your business day and operation has a greater influence on your employees than you may think.
I see it all the time that if it’s OK with the CEO that certain things has been dragging on for quite a while, then it is the same attitude that you will find with the individual employee. Soon everything takes longer and progress is halted and successes, if any, will take longer to materialize.
The employees’ attitudes clearly show what the attitude is of their peer. It’s almost like a disease and a the business leader you must show a good example.
An order in your books today is better than one tomorrow. A step in the right direction today is better than a step in the right direction tomorrow. A finished assignment today is more timely handled than finishing it tomorrow.
People are often lazy. People all procrastinate. Yes, that would include me too. But as the business leader, it’s your job to go forth and show the good example. An employee, will usually have the mindset that if they show up for work and attend to their work with fair effort, then they will get paid. The business owner must, however, realize that he or she is paid on results delivered and not for work and not for time.
That means you will have to kick yourself to get things done now and not later. You must pick yourself up now and constantly so, cause no one else is going to do it. And you have to do it for yourself first and then you have to do it to your employees. On an ongoing basis.
So to carry out business well, you must demonstrate to your employees that timely results are of essence and you must demand on continuous basis that the assignments are to be conducted with a sense of urgency.
I was once told by an accomplished businessman that administrative work takes the time you have. If you have 2 hours, it will take 2 hours. If you have 4 hours for the job, it will take 4 hours.
In other words, the same assignment will take 2 hours or 4 hours depending on how much time you get for it and in other words, you will be surprised just how much work you can get done, if you only have a small period of time. Yes, you will still get it all done, even if you have only been allotted a small amount of time.
While I may be slightly facetious in saying this, there’s a lot of truth to it. If you give your employees, your vendors and other important collaborative partners of your business a short timeline and a tight deadline, you will more often than not find that they are in fact fully capable of delivering everything you need within that time span.
At the same time as demanding these short deadlines you are setting the expectations and the tone that will be required of all within and without in dealing with your business.
This will show up positively everywhere too. Things will get done more efficiently. Projects will be completed faster. Results will be achieved quicker. Customers will be treated with more urgency and attention.
You may be thinking, well, won’t this be stressing the employees and everyone else?
The answer really is: No.
It’s an attitude thing that translates into timely action. Things just get done more timely and more efficiently. The poor work ethics and lax attitudes about how and not least when things get tended to get eliminated.
Two different people. Same amount of time available in a work day. Both feeling very busy at work, and yet one is doing and accomplishing way more than the other. What’s the difference?
Probably the attitude of the individual and probably the what the person has become accustomed to equates to a busy work day.
Yes, the person who produces little may indeed feel they are extremely busy and may feel overwhelm. But in truth, it’s often just a feeling they have allowed themselves to acquire and have become accustomed to. Often they are possibly busy doing things that will in fact not make any progress for what they are trying to accomplish, but are mere acts of “busyness” — not needle-movers.
If you are a business leader or a business owner, you must focus on needle-movers and needle-moving activities. You are in charge of driving your business, your employees and organization forward. Instill the right attitudes and instill the right expectations.
A Sense of Urgency is one of these.