True Sense of Urgency

Following up on yesterday’s post, the OpenView value I will focus on today is a ‘True sense of urgency’.

The most common mistake I have seen people make, and one that I have made, is confusing trying to get as many tasks done as quickly as possible with getting to the goal and impact as quickly as possible.

It is easy to get caught up in the frenzy of “doing stuff”, and think you have a true sense of urgency.

In reality, a true sense of urgency means you’re extremely focused on achieving the goal, the output, the ends and not the means, and you’re always trying to figure out the fastest route to that end.

Doing this requires constant vigilance and reflection. It’s not good enough to just create a plan and follow it. The urgency must exist in the planning phase as well as the execution phase, and change may be required.

One enemy of this for many expansation stage software companies is analysis paralysis, especially as they try to decide which market segment to target, which product feature to prioritize, or what the appropriate product release criteria is. And this can happen in sales and marketing, in the product management and development process, or even while a company is looking for investors for expansion capital.

Many people have written on this topic, and a few things I’ve read really stand out.

Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, really nailed it in this blog a few years ago.He presents this urgency loop, and then offers some tips to help drive urgency.


Tips from Hyatt:

  • Walk faster—show some hustle.
  • Respond faster to emails and voice mails. Don’t allow yourself to become someone else’s excuse for not getting their work done.
  • Get to the point quickly and insist that others do the same.
  • Keep meetings short and on-point. Always insist on an agenda.
  • Eliminate every piece of paperwork that doesn’t facilitate a specific outcome. My motto: “When in doubt, throw it out.”
  • Be quick to change tactics. If something is not moving you toward your desired outcome, do something else.
  • Do it now!

Gary Blair at Monster has a great post on this topic as well.

And there’s this book, titled, appropriately, A Sense of Urgency, by John Kotter.

Igor Altman
Igor Altman
Senior Director Project Management

Igor Altman is Senior Director of Product Management at Medidata Solutions, a leading global provider of cloud-based clinical development solutions that enhance the efficiency of customers’ clinical trials. Prior to Medidata, he worked at OpenView focusing on new investments in the IT space.
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