Operations is the most difficult environment in which to balance the Important v the Urgent. The cries of customers are near and vibrant, the pull of the shipping date insistent and the financial sword of Damocles swinging ever lower. The urgent just has to get done; the implications of failure are so visible and so immediate.
The Important on the other hand can wait a while, but the implications slide up to you. You can wave pieces of paper at it, promise plans, projects, to do’s, next week. Of course the Importants are just that, they include:
- Compliance, both to internal and external standards
- Personnel issues, reviews and appraisals
- Procedures being updated and reviewed
- Checking non critical documents
Eventually these are the tasks that can put you out of business. So it isn’t just a customer order that is missed but everyone’s pay packet.
Solutions to this include herculean efforts, Time management courses, blocked out time and I am afraid to say in some cases fraud.
A management team that understands and can balance the urgent and the important is a sight to behold. Find them, nurture them and reward them, especially for doing the non-urgent things.