You bump into a colleague in the hallway. “How are you?” she asks.
“Busy. So busy,” you reply with a shrug.
She smiles a knowing smile and says, “yeah, me too,” and you both go on your way.
It seems that no one smiles and says, “fine thanks” any more — it’s always “busy, you?”
Or, maybe you’re like one of our clients, who recently told us that he is “addicted to firefighting” at work because it makes him feel productive and useful.
He hurries from fire to fire, and then does his “day job” at the end of day and into the evening, rushing to get things done on time.
Like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, we all have those times when we rush around saying “Oh dear, oh dear, I shall be too late!” But what happens when it becomes the norm instead of the odd time now and again?
A Mistake Waiting to Happen
A friend told us of something his mother said to him over the holidays. “Hurry,” she said.
And then almost as an afterthought she added, “but hurry slowly!”
A sense of urgency is a good thing, particularly in business, and that sense of urgency needs to be intentional in order to be effective.
If you’re running about like Alice’s rabbit all the time, you’re going to make a mistake. And some day, it will cost you.
Many people thrive on a pressure situation. They do their best work when it’s down to the wire and that deadline is looming, and that’s ok.
When it becomes chronic behaviour, however, the potential to make a mistake increases exponentially.
A great resolution to make for your self or maybe your business is to add intentional urgency to your focus.
Give yourself deadlines, or talk to your teams about having a sense of urgency in their work.
Ensure that timelines aren’t set in a certain way “because it’s always taken that long to do this type of work.”
Can things be done faster? Can the team wow the customer by beating the deadline? Can you plan to beat your deadline?
If you hurry, but hurry slowly, you are ensuring that your activity is completed as fast as it can be, with thoughtful planning and consideration for quality checks and risks along the way.
You’ll be more productive, have better results, and less exhausted at the finish line.
Intentional urgency. It’s a high-quality way to become better.