We See This In Times Of Emergency
We have all watched and prayed for folks devastated by storms hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters this year. Stories come out of the areas touched by the these events that are inspiring and endearing. Whether it was the "Cajun Navy" helping folks down in Texas or the heroism of the citizens of a city who are so calm and resolute in the face of this emergency or the massive outpouring of support from around the country I am sure that we all have seen things that have touched us.
While I was thinking about the issues faced by the folks in California 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".
Why Just In Tough Times?
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 those 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 operated all the time with a sense of urgency with regard to their roles and tasks?
Can "Urgency" Be Developed?
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.
A Lesson From The Online Gaming Industry
The most powerful group at creating challenges (and therefore urgency) 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!