What I find helpful as part of the work I do is to review job postings and articles from potential employers that I may engage with. This helps me to better understand what kind of culture is being created from various vantage points – this one being solely based on the use of language.
This interests me, particularly as a wellness and creative business strategist because it demonstrates whether a company is truly ready to adopt and embrace a culture of wellness for their employees – and whether they can consistently deliver around creating such a culture.
So, when I read that an individual joining a company needs to have a sense of urgency it gave me reason for pause.
Apart from the many ways you can spin this into a positive way of working, and many articles have articulated this i.e., pre-planning, act with intention, replace deadlines with urgency, group benefits and individual rewards to encourage this kind of motivation, etc. the idea that a sense of urgency where the importance of having an urgent mindset and making urgency a core value is a good thing is … counter intuitive.
If I may, the simple definition of urgent or urgency requires one to respond with immediate action or attention with words like acute, grave, pressing, dire, desperate, critical, serious, intense, crying, extreme, as synonyms.
My first question if you were to incorporate a sense of urgency as a core value, is How does one maintain this over time?
By using or creating urgency to motivate employees or in this case potential employees should also give you reason for pause. Language triggers thoughts, that trigger emotions, that have a physical effect and response on our bodies.
More specifically, from a mental well-being perspective, if you’re encouraging a sense of urgency, it could be interpreted as one having a fight or flight response, where one has an automatic physiological reaction to an event (in this case work specific) that is perceived as stressful or frightening.
Unless, of course you’re going for that …
Maybe, that’s the intent. Perhaps you’re suggesting that those applying need to know what to expect …. and in this which case, why not add a warning – as they do with prescription drugs – “If you are applying for a job at our organization then side effects due to our sense of urgency and fast-paced working environment may include:”
This to say, IF you’re serious about creating a culture of wellness, and IF you believe that your people come first, and IF you are taking steps toward creating any kind of wellness initiative that is sustainable, then consider that there are several healthier ways in which to go about doing this.
In this specific case, the simple use of language. By using more motivating and encouraging language, you will most likely help to create a culture of more responsive, creative, and forward-thinking, action focused teams and individuals. You’re setting a more optimistic expectation.
Please know however, there’s a lot more to it than this, I’m simply pointing out that if you espouse a wellness culture and you’re still using language like this, then it can be confusing and create diminished trust.
Disclaimer: Unless of course this is not your intent, and you’re steering clear of having or creating a culture of wellness in your organization.
Not every company has to adopt a wellness mindset but know WHAT you’re creating and why.
The challenge I have is that organizations that already have or are looking to invest in wellness initiatives have no real intent on implementing consistently for sustainable results. In most cases they either don’t know how, or they realize it takes years to create a kind of culture that will garner any kind of beneficial return on investment (ROI). By the way, that’s not necessarily true. More on that in another post.
However, and more importantly, as one affects the other, the value of investment (VOI) for your employees does happen more quickly IF implemented effectively. Think about it, the sheer costs associated with losing good people is enough to adopt a healthier culture. And why wouldn’t you want your people to want to work for your organization?
The sense of urgency in my opinion – and it’s only my opinion, is to rethink why you feel you need to use words like sense of urgency and fast-paced and any other language that elicits speed of doing (and typically not well), and thoughts of burnout, anxiety, and stress – rather, how about encouraging relational energy and positive drive as a new way to communicate. How about trusting those you hire to do great work.
So …. on this particular day, I give you a micro-thought on language as I see it.
P.S. I’m curious, in reading sense of urgency, urgent, urgent mindset, urgency as a core value – in italics, did it trigger an emotional response or have a visceral effect on you?