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Important vs. Urgent

I was thinking this morning about the difference between important and urgent.  Dealership life is hectic, and there is never enough time in a day for leadership to get everything done.  It comes down to priorities.  Too often, the important things take a back seat.  What do I mean?

important vs urgent

First, let's define what I mean by important and urgent.  Urgent is easy.  These are the things that come up that have to be dealt with now.  The trade eval, the heater in service, the salesperson that just quit.  Not only are they pressing and immediate, they are the "squeaky wheels" that scream for your attention.

Important items aren't so loud.  They need to to be accomplished for your dealership to grow.  They are less immediate in nature.  You don't feel the repercussions of putting them off another day.  What's the harm?  You can always address important things tomorrow.

The problem is, tomorrow will be as hectic as today, and important items tend to slip through the cracks.  How do you focus on what is important if urgent is always there?

I don't claim to have all the answers, and would welcome feedback from the community, but here are a few suggestions.

First, how many of your urgent items are recurring?  In other words, what do you see happening over and over again?  What would happen if the problem that was causing this urgent issue was resolved?

Next, urgent problems tend to be reactive in nature.  They aren't planned.  Example?  You walk in on a Saturday morning to discover that two of your sales reps have quit.  You have to deal with this, and it wasn't on any schedule.

Important items are proactive in nature.  This is a pro and a con.  On one hand, you can plan for how to address the issue, and a lot of important things potentially solve problems that become urgent in the future.  On the other hand, they aren't screaming in your face.

Consider breaking your important initiatives up into small, bite-sized pieces.  Just like eating an elephant: one bite at a time.  How can you dissect your new hiring process up into small deliverables that can get done and show progress?  This shows improvement and allows your employees to provide feedback to each deliverable.

Also, what can you delegate?  You have a lot of talent in your dealership, and getting your staff involved in creating this new process is a great way to get buy-in.  Dissect your initiative into small deliverables and assign dealership influencers the task of completing that deliverable.  You will need a few revisions, but it's much easier to accomplish important items if you don't have to do it yourself.

There was a blog posted on DrivingSales around the difference between leadership and management.  Dealerships are typically over-managed and under-led.  Important items require leadership to accomplish  Take the time to prioritize important into your day.  Urgency won't go away, but if you don't focus on important, you will be dealing with more and more urgency.

Amanda Gordon

In Kevin Kruse's "15 secrets about successful time management," he discuss MIT's or Most Important Tasks. This can be used daily, monthly, quarterly and annually to get ahead of the  to-do list monster.

R. J. James

EXCELLENT Article... Reminded me of Covey's "Tyranny of the Urgent" quadrants for Time Management.

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