T&D: Conveying a Sense of Urgency

Sometimes The Client Has Their Hair On Fire

Sometimes they are overt about it – and sometimes it is more covert.

You need to discern it either way.


You need to match the sense of urgency – and not overreact as well.

I recall a time when I misread the room – of several clients – picking up on the urgency expressed by one – and then doing my thing – when the client told me to relax – that they weren’t in that big of a hurry.

Taking the Shortcut Of Route A

Most often if that was my sense on a sales call – I would jump up when appropriate and go to their flip chart – as back in the day all my clients had one mounted on the wall of their offices – and then later they became white boards – and immediate put my hair on fire too – so to speak.

I’d map out the project “Activity Blocks” and talk my way OUT LOUD so they could hear and test out and question the logic behind the steps, who was involved and how long both the touch time and cycle time would take.

They were ultimately concerned about the CYCLE TIME for the total project because – as I said – I discerned that THEIR HAIR WAS ON FIRE. And total cycle time is a function of incremental cycle time – so I wanted them to see – like it or not – how long this was going to take.


And in my TALKING OUT LOUD while mapping the Activities (Steps, Major Tasks, whatever) I’d make sure I also presented/said why this was the fastest way to do it – also stating the alternatives – the traditional approach – that they might be familiar with already.

They may not like the total cycle time – but they knew it was as quick as we could go while also making sure it was worth the effort overall. Because it was focused on that Terminal Performance thingy.

And for three Past Posts about Activity Blocks – please go – here.

But Sometimes I’d Have To Go Route B Shortcut

That’s when I sensed that even just immediately Planning The Project Before Their Very Eyes – wasn’t responsive enough.

Then I’d jump up and at their Flip Chart or Whiteboard I’d start a Lesson Map – and ask them about the:

  • Terminal Performance Objective that they had in mind
  • What the appropriate Application Exercise (APPO) would prove it – and provide Practice with Feedback
  • Whether or not a DEMO would help the learner/Performers see what that APPO would be all about
  • What chunks of INFO would be necessary to both understand the DEMO (if there were to be one) and then be successful in the APPO – or in the APPOs I’d suggest.


9 times out of 10 they’d realize that they themselves did not have enough of the FACTs to help me develop a Lesson Map – which was cool – as that let me foreshadow exactly what a Design before Development would look like and accomplish – and what the Analysis before Design effort would be required to capture. Pr a combo Analysis/Design effort. BOOM-BOOM. The old 1-2 shot.

And they would also know that I got it – that I read and understood their Sense of Urgency.

And that’s always a good thing – when you’re an external consultant IMO.


My ISD methods are captured and presented in my 1999 book: lean-ISD – which was intended to provide the Advanced Organizers and a post-Training reference tool to those whom I formally Trained via Workshops after observing projects for:

  • PPA – PACT Performance Analysts
  • PCD – PACT CAD Designers
  • PMD – PACT MCD Designers
  • PLD – PACT Lead Developers
  • PPM – PACT Project Managers

Now that book is central to my offering of 5 PACT Practitioner Self-Development Paths through the hundreds of FREE RESOURCES – including a PDF of lean-ISD – for those 5 Key Roles in my PACT (ISD) methods.

PACT Paths for Self-Development.net-gifmaker (6)

The “A” in PACT is for “Accelerated” witch is accomplished using standard templates, tools and techniques – but especially using a Facilitated Group Process in Analysis and Design.


It’s not all about Learning.

It’s all about Performance.

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