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Question Urgency™

False Urgency in the Workplace? We Can Help

With life moving faster and faster, a sense of urgency has become the norm. This is particularly true at work: “now” is the expected response time. But when urgent is your only speed, false urgency prevails … with serious consequences.

Done well, the ability to respond with a sense of urgency at work is an asset. But when urgency is constant and chronic, no one questions that sense of urgency. Urgent is “just how we do things here.”

Everyone is afraid that if they don’t jump in quickly, they might be left out, or judged inadequate. Everyone is always on “high alert.” With no time for rest, recovery, or reflection, they become anxious, stressed, and exhausted. Ultimately, deliberation and decision-making suffer.

Introducing: Question Urgency™

How To Do Urgent Well

Question Urgency™ (QU) is our simple but revolutionary program that helps your organization stop the vicious cycle of presumed urgency and, in its place, create a culture of care … a culture where there are clear priorities and guidelines, and where periods of productive, even exciting, urgency alternate with periods of normality. 

In this simple, straightforward process, we provide you with practical tools that stop the default of urgency. We equip  your people to take responsibility for setting clear priorities, communicating better, reducing unnecessary work, and doing the right work at the right time.

SPECIAL OFFER

A brief, urgent training in Question Urgency
for a top team of up to 12 people. 

2 hours via Zoom: $2500 

In just two hours, we teach you the basics — the behavior changes and “new rules” that will  immediately give your people the power to push back against the madness …
and get ready to do urgent well.
 

What has caused this epidemic of urgency?

The forces that created the presumption of urgency are not just specific to your organization. Digital tools are a huge factor: everyone is now visible and available on multiple channels, only a ping away. We have become addicted to the dopamine rewards of fast feedback. Speed is admired and rewarded. Smartphones have erased traditional boundaries of work time and place. People can be reached even when they are “out of office”–in times that used to be considered sacred. Hybrid working, for all its benefits, has muddied the issue of when work begins and ends. Combine all this with working across multiple time zones–there is always a fire somewhere. Everyone is available all the time poised to respond. 

But this way of living and working is unsustainable. And to change this requires strong, conscious, visionary leadership. It requires a leader who is committed to finding a better way–a way that preserves the benefits of this brave new world, but reasserts some sanity.

There are serious business costs ...

An “always urgent” culture …

  • Wastes time
  • Confuses priorities
  • Sabotages consultation and therefore decision-making
  • Causes mistakes
  • Breeds panic, anxiety, and health problems
  • Destroys resilience needed to respond to new opportunities
  • Creates even more urgency

What’s more urgent than stopping the urgency?

Sure, your organization can survive for a while in overdrive. But if you don’t find another gear, there will be costs. The cost might come from poor work product and critical errors. Then from disengagement, burnout, and high turnover–people get sick and tired of being blindsided by last minute requests, receiving knee-jerk responses, sacrificing personal time for no reason, and not being able to do their best work. They may still show up for work, but their hearts are on strike. They may respond quickly, but their souls are on a “go slow”.  

 

If you would like to get out from false urgency
and help your team find time for what matters …

Question Urgency (QU): The In-Depth Process

If you want to transform your organization in a more sustainable and longer-term way, we offer a more in-depth process, which addresses  the root causes of your particular brand of urgency–typically faulty business processes, poor communications and decision-making protocols, and the attitudes of leadership. This  is the process: 

Diagnose

We begin with a diagnostic process to identify the specific ways in which false urgency at work is hurting your people and undermining your organization’s effectiveness. This includes examining everyday aspects of your corporate life such as habits, rules, and assumptions around emails, deadlines, meetings, working hours and time zones. We also play close attention to the attitude and habits of leadership--for this is where the smallest changes have the biggest impact. (The speed of the lead is what is for the biz.)

Design

We use your diagnostics, combined with our expertise in working with other organizations, to design simple behavior changes and processes, ones that work for you. You and your team will be able to apply these easily and immediately.

Deliver

  • We provide training in these new working practices at scale by webinar. (Or, this makes for a great offsite.)  
  • We empower your internal champions to troubleshoot, tweak, and build momentum. 
  • We assess progress and challenge you to ensure that new habits are sticking.
  • We provide ongoing refinement and support for sustaining change.

Do Urgent Well

  • Having helped your people get free from presumed urgency, we then help you do urgent better–with ways to empower your teams to act fast and effectively when it’s really necessary.

Measure

  • We assess the impact of these changes on organizational effectiveness, time usage, resilience, stress, and engagement scores.

 

 

The Benefits of Question Urgency™

Our vision for you:

  • A team that can breathe in and out.
  • A team that doesn’t waste time on unimportant things.
  • A team that respects the rhythm and flow of its real business (your priorities)
  • A team that gets the right stuff done at the right time. 
  • A team that can handle urgent and important tasks with enthusiasm.
  • A team that knows when it’s time to rest.
  • A team that can both act and reflect. 
  • A team that can celebrate success, take a breath, and then move to the next challenge.
  • A team that has capacity to spot new opportunities.
  • A team that has the resources to go fast … and be “all in” … when needed.

 

In short … a team that makes time for what matters.

Many small actions from leaders serve to reinforce a culture of presumed urgency.

Sound familiar?

  • You summon a hasty meeting with no explanation. Cue: Panic. 
  • You send unclear emails on Friday afternoon because you want to clear YOUR inbox.  Cue: Your team works all weekend. 
  • You set ill-considered deadlines. Cue: You get rushed, ill-considered responses.
  • You ask for information about a project you’re working on. Cue: Everybody stops working on other projects that are more urgent and more important.

You Can Learn How to Do Urgent Well

Done well, urgency is an asset. It is an organizational capability to mobilize when needed. Indeed, when you and your team are resourced, motivated, and feel supported, you can do amazing things quickly. Think about the speed with which COVID vaccines were developed. Think about how relief is deployed immediately after a natural disaster. When we humans put our minds (and backs) to a project, we can work wonders.

But you can only be ready to do urgent well if you stop the false urgency. And you can do that now.

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