I recall a few years ago when my in-laws ranch was inundated by the flooding Red Deer river. This was a full fledged cattle ranch and everything of value was located perilously close to the river bank. We came down to help move equipment and livestock and whatever we could do. Folks from the nearby town of Trochu and surrounding area showed up with trucks and equipment to make earth berms and so on. Over all it was pretty impressive.
While I was thinking about it one comment stood out and it was about how folks stepped up because of the circumstances and the urgency of the need. The word that caught my attention was "urgency".
How many times have we faced challenges in our work or business and found those gems among our staff who stepped up and met the challenge head on? Those folks who operated with a sense urgency and who revealed the depth of their character through trying circumstances. It makes me wonder too why it takes something like an emergency or a challenge to bring this out in people? How would your business look if your people all operated with a sense of urgency with regard to their roles and tasks?
Why Wait For An Emergency?
Finding people who have that sense of urgency already wired into their make up is the ideal but what about those you already have on staff how do you develop that behavior? You can't create emergencies to drive this kind of behavior but you can create a challenge.
The most powerful group at creating challenges by far is the electronic gaming industry and therein lies the clue to how to do this. I have seen folks devote hours of spare time on a game on their phone or on their computer just develop the skills to "move to the next level". The challenges in the game create that sense of urgency ($16B worth of urgency last year alone!) and players work to develop skills and get instant and immediate feedback on whether that skill has been enhanced.
You may not be able to "game" the scenarios at work but you can use the same principle - metrics. Helping someone to identify and develop metrics around their role and the activities associated with it is a powerful tool for creating a challenge and in helping to develop a sense of urgency. The key to this is that metrics are used to inform that person on their performance on a day to day basis. They aren't competing against others but rather against how they did yesterday. It is the same principle whether you are playing Candy Crush or tracking response times to client requests.
Does your team exhibit that sense of urgency? If not, how are you helping them to develop it? Performance Leadership - Think About It!