Doing Away with the Tyranny of Urgency in Business
Today’s tyranny of the urgency is often described as a by-product of the growing tendency to focus exclusively on the numbers. In most listed companies, the rhythm of financial quarters provides the essential tempo on which all managers’ calendars must be aligned, in a roller coaster like trajectory which inevitably produces its share of exhaustion and burnouts.
The consequences of this life can range from mild disenchantment to a sense of loss. Because purpose – whether it is the life purpose of a human being or the business purpose of an enterprise – can only be rooted in a long-term vision. For a human being, reflecting on the finality of his own life is usually the essential driver for his search of purpose.
Our experience as coaches teaches us that the more this sense of purpose is clear for a business leader and the more it coincides with the mission of his enterprise, the better will be the quality of his leadership, and generally exceptional business results will follow.
Beyond the professional world, the lack of a long-term perspective to guide everyday actions can also lead to some tragic mistakes in choosing our priorities. For instance in favouring the immediate gratification of pleasing a boss or a client rather than cultivating our relationship with our friends and family.
“Choose your destiny or someone else will”
Is it possible to find purpose for our professional life in the context of the short-term this tyranny? We think the answer is yes, provided we take the precaution of preserving some quiet space for stepping back regularly; attending to some ritual such as a coaching session or another type of personal growth activity.
To discover our life purpose or “personal mission statement”, in Stephen Covey’s words, is an exploration that requires us to project ourselves forward into our finality, our end game, like thinking about the eulogy we would like to hear spoken at our funeral, or the bio we wish we would read in Wikipedia after our death.
This task, both exhilarating and stress-inducing, is unfortunately never urgent. It is however strictly essential for those who want to be the subject of their lives instead of fulfilling their parent’s dreams or otherwise conforming to the expectations of others. This requires time and implies extracting ourselves from the day-to-day to reveal ourselves to our own eyes.
If one is looking for a process to choose or confirm one’s life purpose, and the criteria for measuring its achievement, an individual coaching programme is obviously a great vehicle although it is rarely the explicit purpose of coaching. A greater level of knowledge of the self, and of the perceptions that we generate, gaining in the consciousness of our vulnerabilities and our influences, provides the opportunity to clean-up our beliefs about ourselves.