“Progressive improvement beats delayed perfection.” – Mark Twain
False Sense of Urgency
A false sense of urgency can be fixed with time management, but there is a greater problem to this issue: prioritizing tasks. Prioritizing is a skill that we develop over time because, as we get better at doing our jobs or running our business, we begin to understand what needs to be done right now and what we think needs to be done right now. If you believe everything on your to-do list is important, then none of it is important at all. Importance is conditional to a task and, for most businesses, has to do with time sensitive projects. If you prioritize tasks based on level of importance, then your team will be able to increase their quality and efficiency by following your example. The leader needs to establish a hierarchy of importance.
A great way to try to prioritize tasks is by labeling them in categories. For example, you could categorize your tasks with three types of balls: lead, rubber, and glass. Lead balls are tasks that can be done anytime, rubber balls must be done that day, and glass balls must be done immediately. If you don’t finish the glass ball task in time, imagine it will fall and break. The rubber ball tasks are daily responsibilities that you know you have to complete that day, but they are not top priorities. The lead ball is least likely to break so, while these tasks need to be done, they can be completed at the end of the day or the next day. You can use our example or come up with your own but creating a system that can help your team visualize their priorities will create a stronger, more effective system. Level up your business by removing the false sense of urgency and unnecessary stress on your team.
Urgency is not natural. It must be created and re-created. Lack of urgency or complacency is developed from disengaged employees and it takes a skilled leader to re-engage their team and maintain a sense of urgency. Urgency in the workplace means to work with intent to achieve a goal. If you are a leader in your business, you must exemplify this with body language, the way you communicate to your team, and through supporting employees who struggle to stay motivated on their own. Maintaining a sense of urgency in a company’s culture requires selflessness and demonstration, which can be a big challenge.
A leader who wants to keep their team focused and inspired must move with intent and speak with confidence. They must keep meetings direct and encourage their team to do the same. If urgency is re-instilled every day, it will become a habit and expectation of the company’s culture. People who work against this culture will take more work but can change. If they choose not to change, then they are not the right fit for your company.
Know When to Use Urgency
Urgency in your business should mean to work with purpose. It must be instilled in your employees every day, even after it becomes a habit. It will keep your team motivated and engaged in their work and inspire them to work toward a group vision. Your team will lose trust in you if you create a false sense of urgency or do not support them by prioritizing work. As a leader, it is your job to establish accountability and grow the company’s culture. A strong, healthy culture will create a personality for your company that your customers and employees can trust. Improve your company’s culture by using urgency to create trust.