Building the
Right Software

Accounting for
the Future

Common Sense
  of Urgency

 By Mark D Gagné

Do you understand the value of time? Do you act with commonsense to get things done? Do you say I can, not why I cannot; why it will work, not why it will not. Do you have a common sense of urgency?

Having a common sense of urgency means having:

  • Commonsense
  • A sense of urgency
  • A passion for tackling problems, challenges and change


Commonsense is practical judgment and decision-making based on facts. The secret to having commonsense is being able to distinguish true from false, valid from invalid, right from wrong in our reasoning.

Commonsense requires you to think. To exercise logical thought. To analyze the facts, in combination with what you know, what you have experienced, what you have observed and your instincts. Individuals with good commonsense recognize that:

  • All facts matter: Effective decision-making starts with knowledge of the facts and their interrelationships. Any significant decision will typically have more than 10 facts (like the facets of a decagon) that will impact making an informed decision.
  • Making an informed decision requires involvement of all constituents to ensure you have clarity of understanding of the strategy, goals, objectives, timelines and measurement points as part of a plan. The plan is created based on an input of all the facts. The plan must be implemented through a process that provides a mechanism for effective communication.

People with good commonsense have a thirst for knowledge. They ask questions to solve the problem at hand, they Drill down with the W's (where, when, why, which, what, who), to garner more facts to make an educated decision. Drilling down enables problem solving. It enables you to create the syllogisms that you need to effectively analyze and solve the problem at hand.

A syllogism is defined in the Random House College Dictionary as "an argument whose conclusion is supported by two premises, of which one (the major premise) contains the term (the major term) that is the predicate of the conclusion, and the other (minor premise) contains the term (minor term) that is the subject of the conclusion; common to both premises is a term (middle term) that is excluded from the conclusion. A typical form is if all A is B and all B is C therefore all A is C. This is often called deductive reasoning." Through syllogisms, we unite theory with analysis to enable effective decision-making and practical execution.

Commonsense gets you excited about fixing problems. To want to ask the questions that will bring you the knowledge you need to exercise the sound deductive reasoning that brings clarity to ambiguity followed by success.

Sense of Urgency

Hire people whose sense of urgency is similar to that of a person in search of water if their hair were on fire? Hire people who understand the value of the customer's time and who understand the customer's demands.

How often do your management team, employees and fellow workers deliver on time? How often don't they deliver on time? Do you have a culture that says it's okay to show up for a meeting 5 minutes late? Does that culture extend to how you service your customer? Are missed deadlines and broken commitments okay if you have a good reason?

Most of us have spent 17 years (kindergarten through college) understanding that time controls us; we must hand our papers in on time, we must show up for an exam on time, the bell rings and the class is over, the next bell rings and the class begins. Then we graduate and we rebel.

Millions of productive hours are lost in business each year because of employees who have lost their deference for the value of time.

Let's talk about a common scenario. Someone is ten minutes late to a scheduled 1-hour 8:00 a.m. operations meeting. Five people wait wasting 1 hour of time. Since no time cushion was built in between meetings the meeting has to end at 9:00 a.m. so participants can go to other meetings. Since the 8:00 a.m. meeting commenced ten minutes late and each person was allocated 10 minutes to present their updates, one manager was not able to provide updates or solicit input regarding a customer service issue. The manager handled the issue without input from the other managers resulting in a lost customer.

How do you create a sense of urgency? By setting expectations:

  • Openly communicate and share information.
  • Have common unifying goals- (e.g. a clear corporate mission where each individual understands their impact on success)
  • Give people realistic and specific objectives with established deadlines
  • CREATE (commitment, respect, empathy, appreciation, trust, expectations) a zero tolerance culture that stresses the importance of each individual looking outwardly as to how they work with others internal and external to the organization

A sense of urgency means:

  • A desire to get it done now
  • Having a strong motivation to take action and to stay the course until success is achieved
  • Recognizing that you are part of a team and that you have to deliver.


The key is to hire people who are self-motivated; who have a will to win and a passion for doing it right the first time right away; who recognize that satisfaction leads to decay. That to be successful in today's competitive environment everyone needs to constantly look around and figure out ways of improving the way things are done. To take the initiative to fix the things that are broken.

In summary, having a common sense of urgency differentiates your company from your competitors. A person with a commonsense of urgency not only leverages their past experience, knowledge, intuition and insight to analyze the facts and to solve the problems at hand, but they also recognize the value of Drilling Down with the W's to enable speed of execution, teamwork and communication. They recognize that if you can do it now, then do it now as time lost cannot be replaced nor can time be banked.

A person or organization using commonsense refrains from over generalization, tries not to jump to unjustified conclusions and sticks to the facts at hand. His focus is on improving the team and organization while achieving established expectations. The end result for the organization:

  • Improved organizational communication
  • Better decision-making
  • Teamwork
  • A higher level of operational execution
  • The knowledge and power to innovate and create

At Decagon Partners, we have a high sense of urgency; we believe customer service means now. We believe a commonsense approach works the best. Our passion is to help our clients win.