Recently, I helped facilitate a global conference with one of my great clients. We had several guest speakers. Thomas Detelich spoke from Household Finance, one of the largest consumer lending companies in the world. He spoke of their need to be able to assess the activity and productivity of any one of their 5000 representatives instantly in order to maximize their productivity and be able to accurately coach them to success.
Michael Mendenhall, who is the global head of marketing for all of Disney resorts and theme parks around the world talked about the need to stay current on a daily basis with the hundreds of thousands of comments being made daily by resort guests and visitors worldwide in order to facilitate not CRM but "CMR – Customer Managed Relationships." They need to do this in order to deliver what guests really want, when they want it, and even before they ask for it.
Al Gore came and spoke about the huge environmental crisis facing our planet in the form of global warming and the need to take immediate action in order to avoid catastrophic consequences for all of humanity.
There was a clear theme. The word is URGENCY !! Those that are the most competitive have it. Great leaders have it. In time of crisis everyone has to have it. It is clear that with high urgency, stuff gets done … lots of stuff!
Think about it. When do most people get the most done? At the beginning of a project or the end? When do most people file their tax returns? Why do going out of business sales work? It's because most people do not have a sense of urgency until they are faced with a crisis or a deadline.
It's the weirdest thing, but folks who bumble along all of a sudden turn into superstars in the 11th hour. Just think what would happen if you operated with that level of urgency and productivity all the time ???
Have you ever been in a crowded airport doing your best to get to your gate or to baggage claim and momentarily get stuck behind someone, not only walking at half speed, but apparently in a daze about direction, purpose and life ???? Maybe it's just me, but there is a part of my little voice that wants to yell, "Hey … wake up, get moving or get out of the way!" Know what I mean?
Do not get me wrong. I was the kid who waited until the night before finals to cram for the test. I too put stuff off way too long sometimes. But I do think that the secret to my success and the success of others is that there is a natural sense of urgency to 'get it done!' Not everyone has it.
In a recent SalesPartners Certification program, teams were given five days to produce income. In the middle of the program, I gave all the teams two hours to create a new project and generate income in that two hour time frame. Guess what?
Most of them produced more money in those two hours than in the whole five days !!!
Why? Because there was urgency.
How do you create it, condition it in yourself, get it if you do not have it and better yet how do you get others to get it if they do not have it?
1. Control the environment. You have to create a space that supports the urgency without abuse. Celebrating wins. Have fun! Create games.
2. Operate on a team where there is lots of accountability to the group. To condition urgency, peer pressure and peer support are the fastest ways for everyone to get it. Remember it takes more than one to create synergy.
3. Have a Code of Honor that supports optimal performance. You are going to turn up the heat and you have to be sure that the rules are clear. The rules have to support the behavior that supports the goal, support the team and prevent people from bailing out.
4. Set the boundaries. Do not give yourself or others a lot of latitude to think or wander. Set the time frames, the requirements, the rules and even turn your projects into games that you can score.
5. Make it competitive. By doing this, it allows everyone to benchmark their progress against others. You are able to see where you stand in the running at all times and know exactly what you need to do to improve.
6. Set a deadline. This is the most important !! The closer the deadline, the higher the urgency. Set the goal line and make sure that everyone on your team knows it as well. Setting a deadline for yourself is no big deal, but if you have to answer to a group … that is a big deal. That is why the classic Monday morning sales meeting is so powerful. Everyone has to produce every week because they have to show their results to everyone else … every Monday !!
7. Repeat and immerse in the process. Use these criteria in your training, your work and in every project that has importance and meaning to it. If you discipline yourself to operate in this kind of an environment for say … 12 weeks … I guarantee you will begin to rekindle that natural sense of urgency that you had as a kid when you set your mind on something. You will be invigorated, you will need less sleep, you will feel younger, your fingernails will grow faster (do not ask me why!), You will become more attractive and most all you will get what you want faster.
You should have the same sense of urgency with wealth creation for your family, for your health, for your relationships.
But here's the kick and the most important point:
… You do not need a deadline if you have a mission !!!!!!
Those who are truly on a mission, have a natural sense of urgency. They have something they see, feel and are passionate about that they want to manifest. Their frustration lies in the fact that their ideas, vision and expectations move faster than the reality around them. They are therefore always pushing, sometimes impatient but always have urgency.
What about you? Do you need an emergency to have urgency or is your mission big enough to push you? Lots of folks talk about mission, but their actions do not reveal any urgency. I would maintain in those cases, the mission is not that big of a deal to them.
The truth is … the clock is ticking. There is a finite amount of time. I am not advocating being crazy about this, but how do you want to be remembered? If you are going to make your mark with your family, in your community or in the world … when are you going to do it?