“Times change Doug, and quite frankly most people don’t like change.”  This is what lots of people tell me when I grump and grumble about any task that takes me away from what I perceive to be my job.   In my simple view of the world my job is to please our customers so they continue to use the tools and methods we instruct like Root Cause Analysis or RCM Blitz™, if we do a great job our customers will not only continue to use our tools and services they may want to learn about other things we have to offer.  So needless to say anything that eats up a block of my time and shifts my focus away from the customer is not in my mind considered neither fun nor urgent.

Urgent; this is the word I have the most problem with lately.  In today’s electronic world everything seems to be urgent!  For example, I just looked at the last 100 e-mails and believe it or not 27 were marked urgent! Yes, this is correct Urgent must include an exclamation point this is of course is to stress the overall urgency of its content.  Well I read through the urgent e-mails first because well, quite simply, people from my generation tend to sort through their list of things to do and work on urgent things first.  Listed below is the outcome of my urgent research on urgent e-mails.

  • 26 out of the 27 Urgent! E-mails have nothing at all to do with providing value to our customers.  Now please understand me, I am not saying the content was not at all unimportant, but it certainly did not meet my criteria for urgent!
  • 1 of the e-mails did meet my requirement for Urgent!  It was from a customer who was reminding me to bring along my fishing pole on an upcoming trip seems the fish are really beginning to hit in that part of the world and he did not want me to miss out!

With this part of the task completed I just heard the Mail Truck stop outside so I walked out to get the mail and guess what I found?  I had seven pieces of mail, four of these were catalogs and believe it or not 3 were marked urgent!  As soon as I got back in the house I pitched the entire stack in the garbage.

In my lifetime I have seen people lose respect for athletes, for politicians, and even entire teams (remember the teams who threw the badminton games last Olympics) but it would seem we have now lost all respect for a word;  Urgent!  Heck, I even had to go to urgent care one time and believe me there was NOTHING urgent about the care I received there!

So, It looks like times have changed once again, and while Ronnie Van Zant might call me a simple man for my beliefs, I long for the days when urgent was more than important and resulted in action!

“Urgent – Calling for immediate attention”  Webster’s Dictionary

“Urgent – An e-mail that has little or nothing to do with your job; Junk Mail – Likely from a bank who would like you to apply for a credit card at some insanely high interest rate” Today’s Definition

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