When to Embrace Urgency

While it’s often best to unwind urgency, sometimes embracing its electrifying energy can be transformative. Learn when to harness urgency for your greatest breakthroughs.

In the book Undoing Urgency, Matt talks a lot about how to remove urgency from your life, giving you space to think and act on the things most important to you. But can urgency ever be a good thing? Absolutely.

Urgency can be a useful tool during critical times of growth or change. Major changes in life or business are almost always uncomfortable, so urgency can be used to compress that discomfort into a short amount of time. “Sprinting” through a transition may sound stressful, but if the situation is approached as a challenge instead of a catastrophe, the experience can be a positive, transformative one.

Of course, there are limits. High output on critical projects is very draining on people. It is important to define exactly what needs to be accomplished with a clear end date in place. Identify the metrics that matter, and focus your team’s attention on only moving those metrics.

Remember, a clearly defined goal has a good chance of being achieved by a realistic deadline—even if that deadline is aggressive or the goal is ambitious. But vagaries in scope and term will quickly demoralize your team. Your job as the leader is to remove uncertainty from the equation.

If your team believes a project is attainable, even if it is difficult, working toward it can be galvanizing for them. They can look back on the event as a testament to what they are capable of. It may even be remembered as one of the defining moments in your business or life.

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