A Sense of Urgency

Everyone needs to have a sense of urgency about their work. It is important for employees but it is critical for managers. Imagine a basketball team where the players just walked from one end of the court to the other. Not only would they lose regularly but imagine what their fans would think and say about them. Basketball players are professionals and that sets an expectation for their behavior. This type of behavior may be acceptable on weekends at the local school court but it isn’t acceptable from professionals.

A professional is someone who gets paid to do their job. That applies to every employee. Employees are expected to be professionals. That attitude needs to extend from the quality of the work being done, the way the individuals carry themselves throughout the day, the way they dress, the way they interact with others, the hours they work, and the way they handle stress. But of all of these aspects to professionalism, a demand for quality and a sense of urgency are the most valuable.

Managers will forgive much from an employee who regularly beats expectations with high quality deliverables. Executives will also be forgiving of managers who regularly set high expectations and then meet or beat them. But, for employees and particularly for managers who feel no sense of urgency about their duties, that lack of “professional” conduct places their pay in jeopardy.

Always carry with you the idea that you are a professional. The more you look like a professional, the more you act like a professional, and the more urgency you have with regard to your work, the more professional you will seem to others and the more likely you are to be valued. No one trades their top talent. These are the people you need if you’re going to win.

I’m not going to tell anyone how to dress although I always notice it. But if I don’t see a sense of urgency in their work, if I don’t feel they are pushing to exceed expectations, if I feel over and over that they are coasting through their workday and their life, then they will wind up on my list of people who have become expendable. Most organizations run too lean and under too much pressure to survive without a committed team of professionals.