By Allon Raiz
Urgency can be defined in two ways – one that implies something crucial, and another that implies determination. When it comes to entrepreneurship, we make use of urgency to drive purpose and delivery. In my experience, entrepreneurs have a paradoxical relationship with urgency – on one hand, we understand that it takes time to build a successful business and, on the other hand, we simply don’t have the patience to build a business, brick by brick.
Recently, I wanted to launch a new product and was eager to get it out to the market. I was excited to introduce this new idea to everyone. However, I was required to wait until all of the parts of the product were ready. While I understood that the project would take time, I still felt relatively impatient and wanted to speed up the process.
The dissonance between my vision and current reality creates the urgency while the previous experience of building my businesses reinforces my patience. In trying to reconcile the paradox between being patient and urgent, I have found it best to reconcile the two by being deliberate in my planning, and being deliberate in trying to create shortcuts.
Be deliberate with your planning
The more deliberate and thorough your planning, the more realistic you will become in understanding the time and patience that is required to build a business.
I highly recommend ‘systems thinking’ – which is a method of thinking that involves the complete understanding of a system and its components – in order to plan better. The more information that you have on hand to determine priorities, sequences and timelines, the more accurate and thorough your planning process and outcomes will be. It is also important to remember that planning itself takes time, which ironically forces you to be even more patient throughout the process which you often don’t feel you have time for. When you plan, you become far more realistic, and take note of the specific steps that you need to take to build your business. If I had taken the time to be more deliberate in plotting out and planning the timelines of my new product, I would have been more realistic about the process behind developing a new product.
It is also important to remember that no plan is foolproof; they are all susceptible to the frailties of reality. Contexts change, people change, desires change, resources change, and together these changes all create the need to build new pathways towards achieving a plan. Prepare for these changes by providing additional contingency time as standard practice in all of your planning.
Be deliberate in creating shortcuts
We normally assemble a plan and establish the pathway to creating an outcome that is based on our current perception of reality, and our current perception of the utility of the resources at hand. But, when we are focused obsessively on taking shortcuts, we look to see if there isn’t a better way, better resources, or a different utility of current resources that we can use to considerably shorten the path thus serving our need for urgency. Urgency is essentially served through the creation of shortcuts – such as new processes or resources that can be put into place to ensure quicker, more efficient ways of doing things. Looking back, if I had been deliberate about my planning, I would have been better equipped to create shortcuts when creating my new product, which would have helped in speeding up the delivery process.
Being obsessed and deliberate about being more efficient needs to be a cultural imperative in your business. As an entrepreneur, you need to drive the culture of a faster, better, more efficient routine in every type of meeting. There needs to be transference of your sense of urgency into the culture of your organisation as a lack of urgency can discourage growth.
When it comes to reconciling the paradox between being patient and urgent, it is important to always come to terms with the fact that the paradox is always going to be there. They are two masters you serve with the same approach, of being deliberate.