Sunday, April 24, 2011

Not everything is urgent

Have your corporate employers pounded a sense of urgency into you?  Do you have direct reports or peers that don't seem to get it?  These are the typical questions that in-house counsel confront in a corporate environment.  The flip side is a recognition that urgency may be overdone, and that it's important for in-house counsel and their clients to sort the truly urgent from the merely important.  This is the theme in a recent post by consultant Ron Ashkenas, in The Right Response Is Not Always Instant.

Ron writes:
"I don't know about you, but I see this phenomenon more and more these days: Everything is portrayed as urgent and requires immediate response, as though we're living in a constant state of emergency. It's not just in regard to external customers or clients, as in my example. Many of the people who work in staff functions such as IT, HR, Legal, and Finance are also under siege from a constant stream of urgent requests from their internal business partners. . . ."
Ron continues:
"In reality, when everything is labeled "urgent," nothing really is. But because friends, family, and business partners often carry smartphones, we assume that they are available to us 24/7, anywhere in the world. As a result, people sit in meetings tapping away at their mobile devices and catch up on phone calls while walking to and from the bathroom. In some ways, technology has turned us into rapid-response junkies."
For a few ideas on managing your clients' urgency, read the full post at The Right Response Is Not Always Instant.  For other thoughts on having a balanced sense of urgency, from the perspective of an attorney, read It’s Urgent!! - The Dangers of Constant Urgency.
And on the theme of the importance of having a sense of urgency, read An Astonishing Lack of Urgency (And What You Can Do About It) and The Common Trait of Highly Productive People, Companies and Countries.
This summary was prepared by Perry Cone and posted at
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