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February 22. 2014 1:28AM

Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Moving at the speed of business

There is one thing I came to realize early in my career that is still challenging for me to understand: A lot of people I interact with and depend on don't have the same sense of urgency as I do.

And it drives me crazy.

In every aspect of business, there are people you have to work with and interact with in order to get things done. In my world, it's been people from departments that support the sales organization, such as IT and human resources. There just seems to be a lot of people that don't move at the same pace as me, and that can be very frustrating.

Whenever I discuss this topic with people, the discussions tend to shift toward the reasons why I believe a lot of people move slow and lack a sense of urgency. Is it just because they don't care? Probably not. Is it because they are lazy? Not likely. I've come to realize that a key reason is that people sometimes don't understand the importance of a specific task and how getting it done will ultimately impact the individual or the team.

Another reason people may not move as quickly as you'd like is related to their overall motivation, compensation and incentives. If someone isn't in sales and driving toward a number, they probably don't understand or recognize the need for speed. It's not necessarily a lack of caring, but rather a lack of understanding.

Here are a few ways I've worked on helping people I depend on recognize the importance of moving at the speed of business and getting things done quickly and effectively.

Communicate the importance

Helping people understand the impact a particular task has on a team or a specific goal can help them understand the sense of urgency and timeline. By emphasizing the importance of getting something done quickly, it can have a positive impact on the end results.

Give timelines

If I am depending on someone to finish an important task, I try to always give a deadline for when I need it completed. I'll give a deadline, but also explain why the deadline is important. If it's not met, it will likely have a negative impact on something downstream. I've found that to be a very effective way of getting people to act quickly.

Do it yourself

You always have to be careful with internal politics and going around people. But if you asked someone to do something and they haven't done it, taking it over and doing the task yourself can send a very firm and direct message. It's a way of saying,"You're too slow, so I did it myself." And that usually only happens once before the person realizes they need to improve their response time and sense of urgency.

At the end of the day, people and businesses succeed because they make things happen and they make them happen quickly. You have to move at the speed of business. Don't let people you depend on be speed bumps on your road to success.

Christopher Thompson (cthompson@catch22solutions.com) writes "Closing the Deal" weekly for the New Hampshire Sunday News.


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