Career Management: The Important Over the Urgent
Insights from Chief Mastermind Jack Kelly
Following a successful first session, I scheduled a second onsite training for a new customer. From the moment I walked in, it was clear the office was buzzing with activity. As I prepared my materials for the training, one of the more senior team members sat down and was obviously frazzled and said, “Well, we have about 7 deals in one stage or the other right now that need our attention. So, today is kind of a crazy day.”
This was not my first time dealing with this kind of situation. While it’s definitely not ideal, past experience taught me I’d have to make a few tweaks to the plan- namely, my “silence is golden” policy requiring all phones and email to be shut down. There was no doubt the group would be distracted, running in and out of the meeting, and checking their phones for important messages.
CHOOSING TO BE PRESENT
This company wanted to grow but they were limited because one person did the majority of the business development and sales. Due to the size of their transactions, they only need a handful each year to make it work. However, in order to grow, they needed to identify more opportunities.
There goals were not just about business outcomes. The Managing Partner wanted his team to develop professionally. In their business, execution is important, but also bringing in new business puts them on a whole new and exciting level professionally. These were exciting goals and I hoped we’d be able to achieve them in spite of the hectic atmosphere that day.
Then something strange and wonderful happened. Once everyone was gathered, the Managing Partner took a minute to address me in front of the team.
“Jack, what I shared with the team is that we ARE doing this training today. We need to realize that as professionals, we need to balance the urgent and the important. This training is not urgent, but it is important. And if we skip it today, we will just continue delaying the development of our practice and not progress. It would have been easy to have cancelled today’s meeting or allowed people to miss because of the urgent. But I wanted to let you know, everyone is here and will be present and participating throughout, because this is important.”
This was like a symphony to my ears. This leader understood the commitment needed to make change. I have plenty of clients who are interrupted or sheepishly come to a meeting saying they have not completed something we talked about because they are so busy. The urgent got in the way of the important. Those people are also frustrated by their lack of progress. Often, we are our own worst enemies. We have to consciously choose to change our behavior.
What important tasks or goals have you been delaying due to the urgent?
Take some time to identify and prioritize the most important projects that will have the biggest impact on your success. It could be as simple as better time management (okay, that is not simple) or as complicated as a complete rebranding of your company or rethinking your entire sales culture.
Make time for the important to be better equipped to take care of the urgent.