Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What's your level of urgency?

From this post by Seth Godin:

Urgent issues are easy to address. They are the ones that get everyone in the room for the final go-ahead. They are the ones we need to decide on right now, before it's too late.

Smart organizations ignore the urgent. Smart organizations understand that important issues are the ones to deal with. If you focus on the important stuff, the urgent will take care of itself.

My guess is that your organization does not ignore the urgent.  Furthermore, I would guess that your organization always deals with the urgent.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s a simple way to check:  When your company processes an invoice, does it pay on the day it’s due or does it take advantage of net terms?  Here are some other ways to check from Seth’s post:

  • Do senior people at your company refuse to involve themselves in decisions until the last minute?
  • Do meetings regularly get canceled because something else came up?
  • Is waiting until the last minute the easiest way to get a final decision from your peers?

Lots of people love to use the saying “If it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.” — do people in your company say this?

So what’s the big lesson here?  This is simple and you’ve probably heard it before; from Seth:

You will succeed in the face of change when you make the difficult decisions first.

Difficult decisions are usually cheaper at the outset than they are at the last minute, but you have to have the balls to make the difficult decisions quickly.

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