The Art of Strengths Coaching

U is for Appropriate Urgency

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Great workers demonstrate appropriate urgency. They do things at the right pace on the road to achieving success.

Sometimes they do things quickly. Sometimes they take time to reflect before acting. Sometimes they put things on the back burner and act when necessary.

Such workers recognise that this approach calls for always being proactive. They believe that:

Appropriate urgency is a state of mind,
which is then translated into action.

Great workers think ahead, anticipate what will happen and clarify their strategy. Getting on the front foot, they aim to shape the future. They aim to make things happen, rather than just react to what happens.

Pete Collins, the American Football Coach, has a mantra that he expects his players to follow. This is: “Be Early.” The phrase means more than: “Be early for training and meetings.”

The approach means: “Be early in your thinking, your preparation and your actions. Be proactive in everything you do in order to stay ahead of the game.”

Looking back on your own life, can you think of a situation when you did something with appropriate urgency?

You may have anticipated a crisis, dealt with the fall out from an emergency, been proactive in your own career or whatever.

What did you do to deal with the situation? What lessons did you learn that you could apply in the future?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the past when you did something with appropriate urgency.

Describe the specific things you did then to act with appropriate urgency. 

Describe the specific things you learned that you could apply in the future.

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Dwight Eisenhower and Stephen Covey –
Being effective as well as being efficient

People who apply appropriate urgency often focus on priority management. They aim to be effective, rather than just being efficient. Many times, of course, it is important to be both effective and efficient.

This approach was popularised by Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Drawing on a model attributed to President Eisenhower, Covey described how tasks often fell into one of four quadrants.

Quadrant 1. Important and Urgent 

Quadrant 2. Important but Not Urgent 

Quadrant 3. Not Important but Urgent 

Quadrant 4. Not Important and Not Urgent

Many people have since built on the approach. The following video describes an App that helps people to prioritise things in their lives and work. You can discover more via the following link.

http://www.eisenhower.me/

John Kotter – Maintaining
a sense of urgency

John emphasised the importance of organisations continuing to be proactive. He explained:

Winners first make sure that a sufficient number of people feel a true sense of urgency to look for an organisation’s critical opportunities and hazards now.

Great organisations create strategies for shaping the future. This calls for communicating clear goals, building committed teams and empowering them to deliver the goods.

People are encouraged to get some early wins and build momentum. They continue to do fine work, refuse to declare victory too early and then make change stick.

Great organisations build a culture of constant improvement. This calls for continuing to have an appropriate sense of urgency. You can discover more via the following link.

http://www.kotterinternational.com/book/a-sense-of-urgency/

Let’s return to your own life and work. How can you stay ahead of the game? How can you maintain an appropriate sense of urgency?

Bearing in mind your life goals, you may wish to ask the following questions.

What are the top priorities I need to act on now? What do I need to reflect on before acting? What can I put on the back burner?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe your action plan for acting with appropriate urgency.

Describe the specific things you want to act on now.

Describe the specific things you want to reflect on before acting.  

Describe the specific things you want to put on the back burner.

Describe the specific action plan for acting with appropriate urgency.

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