How urgent is urgent and why is it urgent?
The attached picture of a sign in my office should say it all. Most urgent emergencies in business are avoidable if they had been better managed and communicated. When it hits your desk it is typically too late and you have to rush for implementing solutions to the people who sent you their urgent task. Nowadays most of us need to differentiate between two categories: Urgent and very urgent
I have to admit most of the unplanned or unscheduled emergency type work stems from us Testosterone laden people. Let’s face it, we men are not the most proactive folks. The best approach for you in dealing with the bombardment of one urgent task after the other is to prioritize as best as you can and also to become an expert at communicating.
There are a few best practices that will let you come out on top of these messy situations:
- Top number one job of yours is to find out what the real situation and urgency is. Ask when you really need to deliver. Never assume!
- Number two is to make sure capturing the true scope of the job. It is impossible to hit a moving target.
- This one might surprise you: Ask who else may also already be working on the same issue. Really antsy folks have the nasty habit to scatter gun their request and nothing is more frustrating when you get to know a colleague is also working on the same issue – what a waste of resources.
- I love e-mail, but there are times when you are much better off picking up the phone and speak with the people that are tasking you. The written word can be misinterpreted with the wink of an eye. It is also a time management item if you are not the fastest in typing.
- Make sure to ask how you are to communicate follow up information.
- Finally, there is delegation. I know, most of us do not have the luxury of being able to let others take a swing at the problem you are supposed to work on. That does not mean that you cannot explore and try giving a challenge to someone else.
With a little practice you can do miracles with same day service and deliver the impossible tomorrow.