Skip to content

Be Quick – Don’t Hurry! (#103)

The Confident Leader

While on a recent morning run, the bumper sticker on an AT&T truck caught my eye, “You’ve Got Time!” The intent was ‘don’t text and drive,’ but I took it as – don’t hurry! I could sense a little hurry in me – finish the run to hurry to the office. As a leader, is hurry helping you or hurting you?

Be quick but don’t hurry.
— John Wooden (American college basketball coach)

This Week’s Edition

Hurry Sickness: a behavior pattern (not a diagnosable condition) characterized by chronic rushing and anxiousness and an overwhelming, persistent sense of urgency — even when there’s no need to be moving so fast.

Clarify Your Thinking

In January, I read The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer, which highlighted the negative impact of hurrying. Immediately, I began to study the concept of leadership hurry.

Leaders are prone to hurry – too much to do, too little time. A recent study reported that 95% of executives interviewed suffered from Hurry Sickness, which often masquerades as “efficiency” causing leaders to not realize the negative impacts. 

The main causes of leadership hurry are:

  • Manager/customer demands and expectations

  • Poor planning

  • Real or perceived deadlines

  • Analysis paralysis/procrastination

These causes leave leaders feeling over committed and perpetually behind, reinforcing the perceived need to hurry more. 

It produces a default mental state where the leader assumes this is the way it has to be. “Robin, the deadline is the deadline. There is nothing I can do about it.” The result: leaders who are stressed out, burned out and wanting to tap out.

The cost is substantial:

  • Decreased leadership quality and effectiveness

  • Inability to stop and think or see the big picture

  • Nervousness in the team

  • Constant flood of cortisol creating health problems

  • Constant overstimulation – tired, anxious, irritable, etc…

Old Thinking: I know I’m not doing my best work when I hurry, but I don’t have a choice. This is just how it has to be.

New Thinking: I wonder what might happen if I stop hurrying. Will I become more proactive? Will my leadership improve? What will I miss? 


Thoughts Lead to Actions

Typically, I experiment with a new leadership tool or approach for a year before I share my findings. After only six months as a recovering hurrier, I am compelled to share my insights. A no hurry routine looks like this:

1. Spend five minutes each morning setting your intention for the day.

My state of hurry was so engrained, I found that I needed to remind myself each morning (for six months) to not hurry so I would avoid lapsing back into old habits. 

2. Utilize a paper/pen planner which calls out the important tasks for the week and provides a ready list to choose from for each day’s priorities.

I utilize the Productivity Planner which gently forces me to confront the top priorities and deadlines. It has turned my pressure prompted approach to an early starting routine. Plenty of time. No hurry.

3. Happily, say “no” or “not right now” to anything that is not on the priority list knowing you are spending your precious time on the things that matter most to you vs. matter most to someone else.

It takes courage to say “no”. Generally, leaders don’t want to miss an opportunity or disappoint someone else. Pro tip: It’s much easier to say “no” when you know what you’re saying “yes” to.

These three simple routines have had a profound impact on the leaders I work with. They report the following benefits:

  • Ability to communicate more easily when a deadline is in jeopardy.

  • Spending time training others in order to confidently delegate tasks.

  • Serving only those clients the organization is meant to serve.

  • Making more proactive well-informed decisions.

  • Feeling less scattered and more grounded in the work to be done.

Boost Your Performance

I was concerned with a number of things when attempting to change my daily and weekly disciplines so as to eliminate hurry from my life: dropping a ball, letting a client down, missing the big opportunity or appearing to not have a sense of urgency for important projects. My concerns were unfounded as described in this week’s video.  

What’s Your Opinion?

What can you do today to eliminate hurry from your life?  Share with me at:

Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

Let’s Connect

Follow me on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.

What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.

Let’s Do This!

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.