No doubt about it: a sense of urgency helps us make get things happen and get stuff done.
The problems come when we’re urgent about the wrong things:
- We’re urgent as we approach big deadlines, but not about early thinking, or doing each of the little pieces that together make up the job;
- We’re urgent about handling the problems in front of us, but far less about fixing root causes;
- We’re urgent about about new projects or ‘initiatives’ (urgh), but not about running and maintaining the systems we’ve already got;
- We’re urgent about the crises other people bring to us – and so create crises of our own;
- We’re urgent about about one-off meetings and launch events, but not about the unglamorous rhythms of feedback and accountability;
- We’re urgent about financial targets and metrics for our impact (lag measures), but not about the day-to-day activities (lead measures) that make achieving them possible;
- We’re urgent about big events, birthday parties and anniversaries, but less about making sure that we spend enough good time with the people they’re about;
- We’re urgent about scribbling last minute notes a before a presentation, but not about connecting with the people we’re there to serve;
- We’re urgent about controlling our own workload, but not about helping our teams with theirs;
- We’re urgent about getting jobs ticked off, but not about improving communication and building skills;
- We’re urgent about work, and sometimes about exercise or leisure, but not about regular rest and reflection, and seeking peace.