Do You Operate Under a Sense of Urgency?

by Greg Cangialosi on August 4, 2010

There really is no time like the present. In today’s landscape, things are changing around us all of the time. The most successful organizations operate under a sense of urgency in order to take advantage of being ahead and staying ahead. In a world of continuous change, urgency is another critical, yet often overlooked element of growing a sustainable business. Urgency, defined as: “the state of being urgent; an earnest and insistent necessity,” is something that every successful business should live by.

They say in life, why put off tomorrow what you can do today? When you focus that towards business, the ramifications can be very risky. Think about it, in just “one extra day” a competitor can get ahead, steal your business or get an advantage over you in a situation. In “just another week,” the competitors wind up announcing the same killer feature just a few days before you did, getting all of the press and attention. And in this day and age, “another month or two” could potentially mean the rapid rise of a disruptive competitor.

In today’s business climate, the game has changed. Operating under a sense of urgency is a vital aspect of any company who wants to win. There are too many tools available now that lower the barrier to entry and create fierce competition in almost any industry. This creates a need to stay ahead and to move fast with the tasks that will give you an edge.

Need another motivation for operating under a state of urgency? How about approaching each day of business knowing that every one of your customers is getting a call from a competitor. In many cases, this is the case. This type of thinking will help keep you on edge. Protect your house.

Does your team want to win? Once again like all aspects of business, the core of operating under a state of urgency comes down to people. Getting alignment throughout your organization that leads to a state of urgency is a lot easier said than done. Slower organizations weed themselves out naturally, the pace and approach and leadership is different. If you are ok with the status quo, or the comfortable job, then you should work for one of those types of companies. Many people though, like to be challenged and thrive to be involved in new and exciting industries. And new and exciting industries are the ones that need to operate under the most extreme urgency as they are the drivers of all innovation and change. Where do you want to be?

In an effort to clearly articulate my point, here are some of the actions you see from companies who operate under a sense of urgency:

- They provider killer customer service.

- They are continuously innovating their products and services.

- They take customer feedback seriously, act on it, and are better for it.

- They are transparent with their communications and actions.

- They actively engage with customers, prospects and the larger community.

- They are involved in philanthropic causes (the world does need to be saved, and sooner rather than later).

If you operate with some urgency you will most likely always stay in the game, operate under a sense of urgency, and you will win.

What do you think? Is a sense of urgency too extreme in your eyes or do you feel the same way? Give me your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary c McKenna August 4, 2010 at 3:15 pm

having just put in a two year stint working for the government
I enjoyed your insightful comments. The goverment does
not value persons that “think outside the box”
so it gives me hope and inspiration that
SOMEONE will appreciate my style!
We could use more people like you!!


Greg Cangialosi August 4, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Thanks Mary! Keep on rocking. Keep thinking "outside the box" :-) Thanks for reading.



Andrew Freedman August 4, 2010 at 4:18 pm


Thanks for your continued inspiration for people and organizations to always do better. Acting with urgency, especially when it comes to serving customers and the community, is vital not only to growth, but also survival, in my opinion.

You are “spot on” in saying that in every moment we are not agressively serving our customers, our competitors are calling and/or knocking on the doors. We have no ability to help our customers when we aren’t even in the conversation.




Greg Cangialosi August 5, 2010 at 4:51 am

Thanks Andrew! I appreciate your thoughts. Eyes wide open in today's business landscape!
Thanks for reading.



Christopher S. Penn August 5, 2010 at 2:02 pm

As long as we also maintain the flip side of the coin's perspective as well: acting too hastily without thinking strategically. Older, bigger companies lack that urgency (as a veteran of AT&T, I can attest to this) but sometimes startups and entrepreneurs spend all their time bouncing from idea to idea without focus.

Think about it in terms of a body of water:

Lack of urgency and haste creates a stagnant, dead pool.
The right amount of urgency and haste, coupled with focus and direction, creates a rushing river that takes you where you want to go.
Urgency and haste with no focus but high energy creates a maelstrom that destroys everything it touches.


gregcangialosi August 5, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Very well said Chris. Urgency with focused priorities is the key to the "OSE" operating model :-)


Arsham Mirshah August 6, 2010 at 2:23 am

I agree with your mentality here Greg… especially in business.
Personal life, maybe not as much – what are your thoughts?

"Once again like all aspects of business, the core of operating under a state of urgency comes down to people." — I'm glad I read this post… it always comes down to your people! Motivation & then retention: topics for another blog post haha.

Operating with a sense of urgency absolutely puts/keeps you ahead. When mixed with NOT worrying about falling behind or your competition – you're unstoppable.


Greg Cangialosi August 23, 2010 at 9:58 am

Arsham –

I definitely think there is a difference between operating under a sense of urgency with your professional life vs. your personal life. Business is a state of now – to win we must be there and present. Personal is a state of now as well and in my view – at least when it comes to family – always must come first. Its all a balancing act. Work hard, play hard. We must think hard about what sacrifices we want to make. Thanks for reading!



Steve Purcell August 14, 2010 at 7:11 am

When the customer sees that you are "hurrying" for them, the value of your service doubles. Sense of urgency without shortcut, because customers see and hear all, is the only way to stay profitable. In my opnion. Your column is dead on and very insightful. Thanks Greg.


Greg Cangialosi August 23, 2010 at 9:59 am

Steve –

I am excited that you stopped by to check out the blog! thanks for reading, I know you understand these principles in your work. And yes, customers see and hear all these days!