Sylvia Henderson

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SL Column: Emergency...Yours?

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Emergency, But Is It Yours?

     “Before you leave, would you please handle [fill in the blank]? It’s an emergency!” Usually you hear these words just before you leave the office for the day or go on your week’s vacation. Next time you hear these words, ask yourself, “Whose emergency?” Someone else’s poor planning does not your emergency make.

     Your business is full of “situations”. Plan and communicate well to effectively manage most of the challenges you encounter. Of course you have stress, over-committed times, and unplanned issues. What I am talking about are the situations where someone else brings you what, to them, is an emergency when it is not necessarily your own. Avoid making the emergency your own.

  • Make it a habit to ask questions when situations are brought to you. Define exact due dates and dependencies.
  • What effect will your action – and inaction – have on other areas of the business or other people?
  • Does someone you report to – a manager or client – deem the situation an emergency? Do you care?
  • What other commitments do you balance for which this additional one is just too much to effectively handle?

     When “It’s an emergency”, ask questions to determine whether the situation really is YOUR emergency.

Bonus gift: Two good articles – other than my own, of course – with “how to” tips on handling other people’s priorities and managing your own time.

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