A mentor of mine once stated that the two most important ingredients to a successful business are urgency and accountability. I think he is right. In fact, if your business lacks urgency, it probably makes up for in desperation.

Before you dismiss this topic as something that does not pertain to you, you should first make sure your company’s urgency is not desperation in disguise.

If your business is always in panic mode trying to cover payroll, you’re not being urgent, you are being desperate. You should be urgent to market for more clients or train your people to serve them better or cut cost to stay profitable no matter what size you are.

If your call takers or inside sales people are rushing through the calls to answer the next ringing line, you are not being urgent to gain business; you are being desperate to stop the ringing phone. Your urgency should be to find out why they are not able to spend the time needed to correctly use their scripts and help the customers.

If management is grabbing whatever task they can to keep their people busy, they are not being urgent about profits, they are desperate to look busy. This is a sure way to run up labor costs. The urgency should be to run a profitable day by marketing for more clients or giving some of your people a day off or two. I promise they will take their time cleaning when they have it. If you have Urgency to keep the shop and yard clean at all times, they will move much quicker after a day on a job as they will want to get home.

When you are so excited about a decision to make change in your business that you begin implementing it right away, you have urgency.

When you are faced with a customer complaint and your team moves fast and is eager to resolve it, you have urgency.

When the phone rings and you rush out to serve the client even when you are a head of budget, and you have fun doing it, you have urgency.

To have urgency you must have an “urge” to do something. What I find in my North American travels from business to business is that the urge of most people is to sweep problems under the rug as soon as possible and go home as early as they can. These people are easy to spot. They are the same ones who complain about the same things over and over.

So how do you create a company with urgency? The easiest way to do so is to make sure your company has that other thing that my mentor mentioned accountability. You can use accountability to create that urge needed in you people. But before you do that you need to set an expectation.

Set high expectations. And hold your people accountable to them. This will give them urgency to achieve. If it doesn’t, you have the wrong people.

Lack of urgency and accountability will stifle sales and lead to the entitlement mentality in the workplace. In other words it’s a knife to the wrist of your business.

If you have disguised urgency in your business, you should address it now. The best time to start something is the time you decide to do it. Don’t wait. I’m not saying you should not take a moment and plan it out a bit, you should. But don’t halt progress looking for reasons something can’t be done. Look for reason it can.

Sometimes you are too deep in your business to see it objectively. This is a good reason to have an outsider come in and help you see you business as you should.