I read an article by Ron Aldridge in 2001 which I have kept and love to this day. At the time, he was the Publisher of Electronic Media, and I was developing and running a mentoring program at the media company I worked for. It stopped me in my tracks, and I have used it and quoted him ever since. He talked about a sense of urgency having great job value and I said "That's it"! That is what separates the good from the great, the fun from the boring, the doers from the procrastinators. How many people do we all know who just "get by" every day? Plodding along without passion or enthusiasm for what they are doing.
I recently saw a job description that totally caught my eye. Sense of urgency was listed as one of the qualities they were looking for. As I thought about it, I realized that this is a rare commodity. Come to think about it, it's something that the best and most fun people with whom I have ever worked have always possessed. These are the people who keep everyone informed; they are proactive - not only quickly answering the questions that have been asked and solving problems but thinking about the questions that should have been asked and getting answers without being prompted. They are the ones who meet deadlines before you have time to worry about missing them and are experts at clear communication and deliverables.
I love one of the examples that Ron cites: A sense of urgency is what makes one airline agent start boarding the crowded flight the minute the door to the jet way opens vs. the other that makes you wait five additional minutes while everyone is impatiently waiting in line. Aarrgghh.
I consider myself very fortunate to possess a great sense of urgency which helps me live in solutions and get a lot done in a day. Sometimes I wonder where it came from. Am I a control freak? Is it fear of reprisal? Is it enthusiasm about getting things done and getting them done right? Is it the fact that people who don't follow through drive me bonkers?? When you urgently need to get something done, there is no more maddening person to encounter (in my opinion) than a person with no sense of urgency whatsoever. Words like enthusiasm, excitement and energy just aren't the same.
Aldridge says that "urgency is what adds effort to intelligence, which in turn produces excellence, the cornerstone of accomplishment." I really love that one.
So ... perhaps the next time you are asked to do something, you can ramp up your game and get it done as if your job depended on it. Who knows? One day it just might.
Love to hear your thoughts. Coach Nancy
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