While most of the time they may feel alone, they are not. Human beings are social animals and regardless of your profession, family or hobby, people work in teams.
Authors have editors. Artists have fans. Athletes have coaches. Entrepreneurs, even 1-person shops, have vendors, clients, family…heck, some even have friends. We all work with other people. Even if you have become a cyborg and are plugged into your computer, smart phone and Skype 12 hours per day, you are part of a team.
Is anyone as jazzed and committed as you?
In order to boost your team’s energy, there must be a motive, incentive and a deep seated reason to be excited. In order to encourage others to be as fired up as you, there has to be a sense of urgency. A sense of urgency (not panic) can be contagious. With a sense of urgency, what is seen as item #72 on one person’s task list can move into slot #3 rather quickly.
That is where you want YOUR team to put YOUR items. Below are 7 tactics to boost a sense of urgency with your team.
7 Ways to Instill Urgency & Create Energy
1) A Winning Team: With a strong sense of urgency, people quickly identify critical issues and form strong teams that are committed to ambitious change even when those members are already working hard. If any player on your team (even customers) don’t share your sense of urgency, look in the mirror. You didn’t set it and give them THEIR reason to move quickly.
2) Vision and Strategies: Strong and committed teams organize the effort to find smart strategies and envision long-term outcomes when dealing with essential issues, even when the best strategies are hard to pin down. What is your “why?” Plenty of business owners know what they do, but few understand and communicate the why. Watch the TED talk “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek.
3) Communication: High urgency teams inherently feel a need to persistently communicate the vision and strategies to the appropriate people to get them on board and generate still more urgency. A confused mind says “no” so make sure you eliminate confusion. When everyone clearly understands agendas, strategies and outcomes, projects move more rapidly. Doubt creates confusion. Confusion feeds on doubt. Get unstuck by being crystal clear.
4) Empowerment: Those with a strong sense of urgency empower others who are dedicated to making a vision a reality by removing obstructions from their path. Leaders who inspire and empower are not micromanagers. Kick the little birdies out of the nest and give your kids more responsibility. Ask your vendors, staff or even your clients how they would do it. You’ll be amazed with the responses you’ll get.
5) Short-Term Wins: High urgency teams celebrate short-term victories and make them visible to the entire organization. When working on any project with a long cycle, it is important to celebrate milestones. 21st century humans are very much “in the now” and used to instant rewards for efforts. Don’t fight human nature, work with it. If you have a long-term project to design and publish a website and marketing campaign, establish some short-term objectives like throwing a small party for the publication of your first newsletter.
6) Never Give Up: After minor and/or great success, teams with a true sense of urgency never let their team slip back to complacent inertia. Instead they expand the effort and strive for improvement. Persistence is the least expensive weapon in your arsenal. It doesn’t matter if you are planning a vacation or designing a new business, you will have obstacles. That’s life. How you deal with those obstacles will always determine your outcome. When in doubt-persist. When faced with setbacks-persist. Just when it seems you have no option other than to quit…persist.
7) Making It Stick: Teams with a true sense of urgency feel duty-bound to find ways to make sure any change sticks. By incorporating purposeful change into the structure, the systems, and – most importantly – the culture, team members won’t feel stuck themselves. When designing a new product, a marketing campaign or even establishing a culture for learning, keep in mind the long-term motivation. Simply insisting your child improve their grades is easy. Creating a culture for optimal study habits, long-term AND short-term rewards requires more thought. Similarly, in business, the marketing and technical environments are changing at a rapid pace. While it may be important to keep up with the latest Facebook application, don’t forget that a handful of years ago, Facebook didn’t exist, but human nature did. The only way to make your marketing stick and your business thrive long-term is to build it on the fundamentals of human nature, not technology.
Your team will work better, faster and harder when they are energized and have a sense of urgency. The key is to make them think it is their idea, so go ahead and put energy and urgency into everything you do. When executed in a positive manner with an expectation of success, the energy will be contagious.