Have you ever had a work deadline coming up, and you are waiting on a co-worker to complete their part of the project? It feels like your co-worker works at the DMV. Do you ever get mad at yourself because you aren't driving things with as much urgency as you would like? In this article, we will give you strategies to create more urgency in others and yourself.
Part 1: Creating Urgency in Others
A. Communicate the impact of their work. You must communicate this in an emotionally intelligent way. For example, "Hi Jeremy, we need to talk. I need your help completing a project by Friday. This is what I need you to do... If you are not able to complete this by Friday, there will be a financial impact of XYZ dollars, and there will be a significant time delay impact on the broader team of at least XYZ hours. Your contributions are an essential part of the project, and we need your help to meet our deadlines. Please let me know by Wednesday if you cannot finish your part so I can manage expectations on my end. Thank you for understanding the urgency here. What questions can I answer, so you feel in a good place about completing this on time?"
B. Ask them what would make them see this deliverable as urgent. For example, "Hi Jeremy, we need to talk. I need your help completing a project by Friday. This is what I need you to do... Your contribution is incredibly important for me and the broader project. I know you have a lot on your plate. What can we do to put this at the top of the priority list and ensure it gets done by Friday? I am open to any ideas given your limited bandwidth."
C, Check to see if they want micromanaging. For example, "Hi Jeremy, we need to talk. I need your help completing a project by Friday. This is what I need you to do... I know you have a ton on your plate and wanted to come up with the best approach to get your portion of the deliverable by Friday. I have some colleagues who have found frequent check-ins to be valuable, while others find it distracting. I am happy to check in if that is useful but I am open to other ideas as well. What can I do to help ensure this gets done by Friday? Thank you for understanding the urgency here. I appreciate it."
D. Identify and eliminate obstacles. For example, "Hi Jeremy, we need to talk. I need your help completing a project by Friday. This is what I need you to do... I know you report to Jennifer and Arpan, and our team needs your expertise. Given that you have deliverables to them, I would like to set up a time for all three of us to explore how we can free up your time so you can complete this request. Before all of us meet, can you please estimate the time needed for you to complete your portion of the project. This will help when we speak with Jennifer and Arpan so we can determine how much to pull off your plate. We are trying to find a win-win where we can leverage your expertise, we can keep from leaving Arpan and Jennifer to dry, and so you do not have to work 100 hours a week. Thank you"
Part 2: Creating Urgency in Self
A. Set high expectations. Many people say set expectations low and surpass them. I say, do the opposite, set expectations high and exceed them. This philosophy will put a fire under you to perform with urgency. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much faster we can operate when our reputation is on the line.
B. Urgency is a powerful brand. Urgency is important in business. Amazon dazzled their customers with 2-day shipping and now moved it to 1-day shipping. Many people are impressed with Amazon's urgency! How do you feel when someone responds quickly to your email even if it is to say, "I will get back to you by XYZ date." If you decide to make urgency part of your identity, you will stand out and perform with more urgency.
C. Natural paranoia. Often those who perform with a sense of urgency are a little paranoid - I mean this in a positive way. Some are motivated by their ability to provide clients with the best possible service because they are worried competitors may steal their business. Try to find a healthy sense of paranoia that will get you to act rather than delay.
In today's world, speed and urgency are a currency that has significant value. Think about urgency as another tool at your leadership disposal. Pick one of these strategies and experiment with how you can drive urgency in yourself or others.