- Pay attention. They are alert and proactive.
- Seek information. They are on the lookout for external information relevant to success.
- See opportunities. They see opportunities in challenges and crisis.
- Move forward. They find ways to launch initiatives, form and motivate teams, and make a difference.
Yes or No
1.Are assignments around critical issues regularly not completed on time or with sufficient quality?
2.Are discussions inward-focused and not about markets, emerging technology, competitors, etc.?
3.Are failures of the past discussed so as not to learn from them, but to stall new initiatives?
4.Are highly selective facts used to shoot down data that suggests there is a big hazard or opportunity?
5.Do meetings on key issues end with no decisions about what must happen immediately (except the scheduling of the next meeting)?
6.Do people have trouble scheduling meetings on important initiatives…
7.Because they are too busy?
8.Do people regularly blame others for problems instead of taking responsibility?
9.Do people run from meeting to meeting exhausting themselves and rarely focusing on the most critical hazards or opportunities?
10.Do people say, “we must act now”, but then don’t act?
11.Do people spend long hours developing power points on almost anything?
12.Is candor lacking in confronting bureaucracy and politics that are slowing things down?
- Set reasonable deadlines, keep track of them, and honor the commitments.
- Listen to what external resources like customers, new staff members, partners, and suppliers are saying. Understand the truth and anticipate needs.
- Listen to external data, in addition to the people.
- Identify the opportunities in every challenge and crisis.
- Behave urgently daily. Urgency can be developed but if it’s not used all the time, it will diminish. If you only operate urgently every few months, that’s like the college student who crammed for final exams.
- Watch out for the No-Nos. The No-Nos kill urgency. They say they are too busy, and they often stretch work out beyond reasonable limits.
- Encourage risk by not punishing failure. Fear of failure leads to complacency.
- Pursue winning relentlessly. Not to sound like Charlie Sheen, but prioritize actions based on their preparation for victory.
- Sustain the sense of urgency with courage. You’ll need courage to ask questions, nudge others forward, and lead the impending changes.
Are your industry and customers standing still? You cannot afford to function in a state of emergency or in long-held comfort zones. The sense of urgency will propel your organization past this current financial state when you’re all functioning with the same sense.