Sometimes you have to be quick.
Sometimes life throws something at you that you have to deal with immediately.
How quickly can you produce important information? Do your tools and organization allow you to react rapidly?
Or do you find yourself frantically searching for information when emergency strikes?
I like to avoid unnecessary fire drills at all costs, but when push comes to shove and you need to act quickly… how quick are you?
The Quick Draw at Work
Recently, there was a true business emergency at work. Due to an incident, we needed to get 10 managers on the phone in 30 minutes. These managers were geographically dispersed across the country and in 3 different time zones. As a conference call was arranged, someone said, “How are we going to reach all of them in time to let them know about the impending call?”
Another team member responded, “Can we look up their numbers and call each of them?”
Before the conversation had gone any further, I had pulled out my iPhone, and tapped a text, “Urgent Conference Call in 30 Minutes – Details via email.”
Within minutes, 9 of the 10 managers had acknowledged via text that they would be on the call.
The strange part of this occurrence was that I did not have regular contact with any of these managers. Yet, I had their personal contact #’s at my fingertips.
Over the past several years, I had interacted with each of these people at least once and had their cell numbers in my address book.
I had no idea that I would need to urgently reach these individuals at some point, but having their information let me quickly react to an urgent situation.
How to Be Quick on the Draw
While this example is a simple one, it demonstrates how your tools and organization can support you in times of crisis. I needed to quickly reach people and I had their contact information immediately available. The same should be true of your documents, calendar, etc. Does your system support you during urgent situations? How ready are you to react?
Here are just a few tips to help your quick draw be a little quicker…
- Capture All Info – Capture information with discipline. Especially contact information. It is simple really, any time you encounter someone’s #, make sure you save it to your address book. The CEO of our company called me one day from his cell. I saved that right to my address book. You never know when you may need a number. Email signatures are another great place to capture information.
- One Place For Your Information – Capturing information is powerful, but only if you know where you put it. Practice the Power of 1. Have one place for your information. Keep all addresses in one address book, not spread out at home, work, and online. The same should be true for your calendar, todo list, and notes.
- Have a Notebook – Where do you take your notes? The simple notebook is the tool most often missing from people’s time management systems. Ensure that you have a place to write things down whether in a business meeting or on the go.
- Be Able to Find Documents Quickly – Where do you store documents? Whether in a filing cabinet or on your computer, ensure that your system lets you locate documents quickly. I use Evernote for all my electronic documents and notes. I can quickly find information, even many years back.
- Do a “Quick Check” – If you had to produce a piece of important information immediately, could you? One of the best ways to prepare for emergency, is to do a “quick check” of your system. Quick: What was the last vehicle maintenance you had done? Can you produce the receipt?
- Make Sure It Is Airtight – Find the leaks in your system. Where do you have issues losing info? For me, it used to be receipts. To address this, I put an envelope tracking system in place for my business trips. Now, I never lose a receipt. Additionally, I have started using a mobile app called Shoeboxed that lets me capture all my receipts via my iPhone. (affiliate link – Review coming soon!) Where are the leaks in your organization system?
Ready For Anything
When urgency strikes, you want to be ready to react. You want your information to be handy whether it is a phone number or a document from 2 years ago.
Making sure that your system is ready to support you now, will ensure that you are quick on the draw when emergency strikes.
How fast is your quick draw? When was the last time you had to quickly produce important information?