How Urgent Is Urgent?

As I write this, the World Economic Forum at Davos has just come to an end for another year. It’s a place where great world and thought leaders come together to debate the emerging issues of 2013 and their implications for the global economy and their industries …

is it all urgent, or is most of it just important?

is it all urgent, or is most of it just important?


And I noticed that the Institute of Mindful Leadership were talking there. I hadn’t heard of them and so did a little research and found this on their home page: “Our minds can become distracted by the urgent at the expense of the important and we can become so preoccupied with yesterday and tomorrow that we are no longer able to excel at leading in the present.“

How true is that? Are you like me and let something that has been labelled ‘urgent’ for whatever reason distract us from what it is important?

In part that’s what authentic leadership is about, since it prioritises urgent over important, then the things that we have been talking about in the business as important suddenly are put to one side often without explanation. So how can we change that?

Could it be possible that when something changes its perceived status to urgent, that instead of riding roughshod over the important things people are working on, we can talk through the options and look at how this urgent thing can be addressed at the same time as still working on the important things that will grow the business?

Urgent usually means that somewhere, someone is getting into, if not towards, a panic mode and focus becomes very narrow on that thing perhaps to the exclusion, not just of the important things, but also the people?

Some people believe they work best under pressure and so an urgent situation is manna from heaven for them. Whilst others lose clarity of thought and connection with their knowledge and wisdom when under the same pressure.

I’m not suggesting there will never be an urgent situation in business or in life that requires not only our immediate attention but the attention of others. However, I am suggesting that what is urgent may not always be truly urgent and that even urgent can be dealt with in the same way that everything else in business is dealt with. In doing so not only will the overall outcome/results be better, it has far less impact on the overall business.

So next time something urgent comes up will you let that be the only thing that you and the people in the business are focusing on or will you excel and lead in the present?

I’d really like to know your thoughts on the differences between urgent and important and how it affects both you and others within your business. Call me on +44 (0) 1296 681 094, click here to ping over an email or leave a comment below.

Until next time …

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