In sitting here wracking my brain about the best angle to take in writing this blog the best analogy I could come up with for “urgency” was spice.
Now I may not be the best cook, but even I know that adding spices, herbs, flavouring of any kind to a dish is essential. Too little and the dish is bland, too much and you’ve overpowered it. It’s a balancing act.
So too is knowing when to treat something as urgent.
Without any sense of urgency in the workplace, you convey a dispassionate attitude to your peers and clients that can often be mistaken as one of not caring.
Too much urgency and you’ll burn out, you’ll be a horror to work with and your focus will suffer without direction.
So how do we get the balancing act right.
Well, first you’ve got to figure out what in your job requires urgency. For someone in my field (a property manager) something that requires a “sense of urgency” might be an application on a property that’s vacant, maintenance relating to lack of heating or a water leak, a new business enquiry or a customer complaint.
Secondly, you’ve got to be able to act with a sense of urgency without losing your professionalism. There’s no point understanding sense of urgency if you can’t work at your optimum level as soon as a situation goes from “normal busy” to “urgent”.
Thirdly, you’ve got be able to prioritise/delegate and communicate around whatever is just under urgent (or has been pushed to the side by urgent) so that when the urgent matter is dealt with, nothing important has been missed.
I’ve often reflected on that old adage that I’d rather work any day with someone with the right attitude than the right capability – but I’m going to add this right up there onto my list.
I would rather work with someone who understands when to light a fire, when to hop to gear and when to snap into “sense of urgency” mentality than someone who is cool, calm and collected at all times.
When do you require a sense of urgency?
Kirsty Dunphey is the youngest ever Australian Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year, author of two books and a passionate entrepreneur who started her first business at age 15 and opened her own real estate agency at 21.