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The day a “Sense of Urgency” died….

“Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.”

― Jim Rohn

The 8 track tape, the cassette, the rotary phone and now a sense of urgency…. are all gone from society. Think about the last time you visited your local hardware store. Is there a sense that you are there to get a task accomplished or is it another ‘Ho Hum” day in the life of someone that just plain does not give a shit.

There are a few of us that still understand sense of urgency. We figure out the task, we focus on the end result and accomplish the task in what seems to take others hours to do, we can accomplish in minutes.

The lost art of having a sense of urgency is the result of three main factors. One, too much information causes most people to not be able to pick the important tasks. Another reason people fail to see the sense of urgency of a task is that the task is not communicated clearly or effectively by the task master and finally, some people don’t care.

Let’s focus on the first, too much information. Watch any person today; they will talk to you for no more than 30 seconds before their phone, their computer, another person, or the environment distracts them. Turning off one’s phone, the email function, and all buzzers or ringers that alert you to “you have a message” can greatly help people regain focus.

We live in a world of too damn much information. Today we know more about everything and everything about nothing and most of us can complete a simple single task. Eliminate the noise; focus on the important parts of your work, your world, and your life.

Help others see the beauty of the batch life. Only doing ONE thing at a time. Each distraction that we allow into our lives means less focus on what we are striving to accomplish.

The second cause of the lack of urgency is the messages that we send as taskmasters. Most times the message we send is not clear, confusing, and our recipient is left with about 75% of the true task.

Yesterday I was meeting with my staff reviewing a few items that needed complete. I’ve learned to slow down, communicate every item clearly. When finished explaining the task, I ask, “What are you going to do step by step”. The employee restated about 75% of the project at which point I was able to share the other 25%, which I had not clearly communicated.

Finally, people don’t care. This is the hardest issue to fix because you can’t change a person’s desire to be a positive team member. I’m confident in our team at our company, but shudder when working with other vendors or retailers. It is very obvious that most owners and managers tolerate the “I’m just here for a paycheck” mentality. A wise old man once said, “You are what you tolerate”. DO NOT tolerate people that don’t care. There are thousands of businesses that have built their model on this type of employee; Wal Mart is famous for their low prices and their drone like employees that seem to run away when a customer has a question. Occasionally you’ll find the rose in the thorns that wants to help, genuinely cares, and is wearing the blue vest for more than green pieces of paper.

We need to find out sense of urgency. We need to help those that can’t help themselves by teaching them that too much information is worse than no information. Start thinking about getting your company and your life back to basics. Limit your information, focus on specific tasks until complete, and get back your life.