Beware the tyranny of the urgent

As a leader, it can be hard to get the right balance of leadership, planning and doing “stuff”.  Sometimes a lack of planning (on our part, or the part of others) can result in an “urgent” response or action being “required”.

One of the speakers at our recent conference warned to “beware the tyranny of the urgent”.  This really hit home with me as I’d never considered how much urgency is used as a control mechanism.  How many times had I jumped to the “urgent” without considering the authenticity of changing path?  How often had I compromised on my values, or agreed priorities based on what was portrayed or perceived as urgent?

I admit, at times whoever screams loudest can get the most attention (kids and colleagues alike).  As leaders at work, home, and play we need to be careful to consider the validity of something labelled “urgent”.  Will taking it on step over boundaries, unjustly change priorities, cause an unnecessary negative impact on those around is?

What has come up for you recently that is portrayed as “urgent”?  Is the tyranny of the urgent distracting you from the things that are most important, and if so, how could you respond differently in future?