The late, great bass guitar player, Jaco Pastorius, was known to have a favorite expression, “RIGHT NOW.” Because I am a bass player, and an impatient person, I have adopted this expression during times when I am trying to communicate that something must be done with extreme urgency. Unlike the expression, “Git ‘er dun,” which means please move as quickly as you can in fulfilling this request, “Do it now, RIGHT NOW” has a greater sense of urgency and conveys time is of the essence. I reserve this expression for occasions such as clients’ requests for information or specific services, concert tickets that need to be purchased immediately upon going on sale (for example, when Alice Cooper comes to town, I always want the best possible seats!), and other events that have a “for a limited time only” quality. I am a person who, when performing any task within my area of expertise, does so in ways that almost always involves elements of “Git ‘er dun” and “Do it now. “RIGHT NOW,” but because most people with whom I work do not share my sense of speed/urgency, I will relentlessly prod them until they perform the task. Sometimes, they even thank me for not letting them procrastinate, but even when they are motivated to perform the task more out of a desire to appease me than their sense of satisfaction for a job well done, at least the job gets completed. (Future topics will touch on completing deadlines in an excellent, as opposed to a perfunctory, manner.)
Building on the discussion of “Git ‘er dun,” the reality is that we all need help sometime figuring out what must be the top priority of the moment. Another reality we all face in a work environment requiring every bit of productivity per person possible, is that priorities change, often on a moment’s notice. In the trial consulting world, in which all of our clients are attorneys, the demands are enormous. And, our clients, that is, the attorneys, don’t call the shots sometimes. It could be their clients, or more likely, THE JUDGE. There are times when a judge has demanded a client start a trial before the attorney expected to start the trial and there are many other examples of what some may see as unreasonable priority shifting. But, the key is learning to roll with the changes (yes, I’m a fan of REO Speedwagon) and to reprioritize. This reprioritization must be communicated and one way to do it is to say “do it now.” There are other ways, depending on the situation and certainly different businesses or industries have different priority shifting issues than ours does. And, as employees, don’t hesitate to ask the boss, “what do I need to do now (or first)?” Or, “what is my top priority?”
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