Sense of Urgency

Having noted this trite term displayed in innumerable places, especially job descriptions,  the overuse of this term begets the question, “what does one mean by ‘sense of urgency’,” due to the highly subjective nature of the trait. Sense of urgency is an oft used term inextricably linked with an individual’s intrinsic drive and/or determination.

I prefer tasks, goals, and milestones to be completed yesterday, so by definition I would contain an insatiable, expedient sense of urgency. I read an applicable article that defines the primary traits of sometimes self-proclaimed high-performers.

I fervently believe high expectations of performance and conduct inevitably lead to breakthroughs and a sustained high performance. Furthermore, I believe high expectations can create a focused, innovative culture that capitalizes on the synergy of collective energy and diverse perspectives to identify unique solutions and alternatives. The old adage “shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars,” is particularly relevant while serving as a prescient auspice for those who strive toward improved ideals.

The subjectivity of the phrase “sense of urgency” lends extensive latitude to the interpretation and application of the term. Therefore, it is the widespread adoption of such phrases through frequent usage of subjective terms that results in a disconnect between a hiring organization and candidate. The divide between the trait being measured and the assessor’s self-imposed, and viewed as objective, evaluation is an exemplary non sequitur.

An indefensible, replicable, error-free precision between application and execution is typically found in the engineering and/or chemistry space with the liberal arts abstaining from such a level of scientific rigor and accuracy. The English language itself is imprecise with much verbiage unable to accurately describe and/or convey feelings and situations; however, up to this moment in time we have been unable to find a suitable replacement to ameliorate deficiencies within our guttural language. Rules are typically all-encompassing, structured, and definition-bound, whereas the rules of the English language only apply in certain instances with more exceptions to a rule than words that fall within specified parameters.

Conversely, purely objective terms, metrics, and measurements only provide a “snapshot in time,” rather than accounting for the dynamically evolving realm of performance. Objectivity can also measure superfluous figures instead of the true drivers of sustained performance, and hopefully subsequent customer attraction, satisfaction, and retention. I recently read an article denoting this reality by stating that a law judge was “high-performing” by entering judgments, and thereby closing cases, at twice the rate of his colleagues. The only shortfall in purely measuring and relating number of judgments to productivity, and consequently performance, is that this specific judge NEVER read any of the submitted evidence in favor of time savings.

There are appropriate usages for both subjective and objective terms and measurements, as evidenced. The overarching moral is that we must seek to understand the rationale behind each usage, so we can fully compensate for any deficiencies.


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