We’re throwing it back! This week we’re showcasing a guest post from Jack Quarles about the theme from his latest book, Expensive Sentences, which launched on January 30, 2017.

“We need it yesterday!” is an Expensive Sentence.

There’s a time for urgency, but inflated urgency can cause you to pay too much, select the wrong vendor, or choose the wrong solution. It can also be a lazy way to justify a half-baked decision. So how do you handle this Expensive Sentence and make sure your team’s decisions are fully-baked?

Pause & Think

To be a stickler, you probably didn’t really need it yesterday — because, as it turns out, you didn’t have it yesterday and you’re still here. Here are a few ways to move from the absolute language of need/don’t need to a discussion about optimal value:

“Are there specific dates that we are working backwards from?”

“Yes, we want to do this soon. To help the team focus, let’s prepare an estimate on the cost of each week we delay.”

“Let’s ballpark the cost and risk of taking another four weeks to scope this out more and talk to several vendors… how does that compare to possibly saving another 5-10% on the project?”

Speed almost always carries a premium. If you absolutely, positively have to have it there tomorrow, you can do it for a price. It is sometimes worth the price. Take a few minutes with the team at a whiteboard to talk through these questions and write down answers:

  1. What is the actual cost of delay? Get specific, and when you don’t know an exact value assign a dollar range.
  2. How much delay are we really talking about?

Addicted to Urgency?

Some companies and some leaders build a culture of over-urgency, and that greatly impairs expense management. Consider how your company makes decisions, and the aftermath. Be honest:

  • Have you hired several people too fast and then discovered they really weren’t the right fit?
  • Have you often scrambled to meet a client request that ended up being bad business for you?

If this is a pattern, it’s likely you also buy hastily — and as someone first noted in the early days of the English language: “haste makes waste.”

The urgency card is over-played. A modest measure of analysis and patience will almost always save you money and clarify what you need to buy.

Sometimes if you are patient enough… you may not need to buy anything.