The Important gets Sacrificed for the Urgent

December 23, 2019

Entropy Busters® Series
Volume 2 | Number 12 | December 2019


Sacrificing the Important for The Urgent

Do you or anyone within your organization ever sacrifice the important for the urgent? This is one of the key challenges of many organizations. When you look at the team member’s challenges: e-mails, mobile phones and open work spaces, it’s nearly impossible to find the quiet time and space to complete meaningful work. This reality is echoed by team leadership. Many, if not all, say they would love to work on certain priorities…if they only had the time…

With the New Year fast approaching, here are six strategies I’ve found to be highly effective for reducing urgent fire drills:

  1. Distill KPI’s down to the meaningful few.
  2. Implement visual daily management (VDM) with 10-15-minute huddle meetings. Focus on the meaningful few KPI’s for results over the next 24-48 hours.
  3. Divide the day into two parts: mornings for tactical execution and afternoons for strategy planning.
  4. Protecting the time slots for VDM will allow the process to become part of the culture and fabric of the organization. This drives consistency, balance and urgency.
  5. There is a need to filter urgent requests. Lack of planning does not constitute a crisis for others. Don’t let others lack of planning ruin your day. Learn to say “no” a few times! Let people know you mean business. When there is a crisis, force root cause analysis. Don’t settle for it always being this way. Understand why it happened and why it wasn’t detected earlier.
  6. KPI’s that are misaligned between departments can cause urgent tasks. Recently, I’ve seen departments with competing priorities. Internal sales may have the expectation of four weeks of finished goods on the shelves, while supply planning is driving toward two weeks. This misalignment causes tension between peers, unnecessary meetings and additional costs.

Build the foundation and demand process integrity. A solid foundation is the front-line defense to containing urgent overrides.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!