Does your team always seem to be in emergency mode? Are you running around endlessly putting out fires and handling crises within your organization? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you might be experiencing the epidemic of manufactured urgency that often masquerades as productivity but can lead teams astray. In a world that thrives on speed and instant results, it’s crucial to discern between authentic urgency and the deceptive allure of manufactured urgency.

The Manufactured Urgency Epidemic

Manufactured urgency is a sneaky intruder that creeps into teams, convincing them that every task requires immediate attention. It’s the pressure cooker that simmers just beneath the surface, pushing teams to react hastily rather than respond thoughtfully. It’s that feeling of a scarcity of time that can not be overcome. This epidemic can compromise the quality of decision-making, strain relationships, birth toxic cultures, and ultimately hinder the pursuit of peak performance.

Identifying Manufactured Urgency

How can you discern this manufactured urgency within your teams? Ask yourselves: Is the urgency real, or is it a result of external pressures or unrealistic expectations? Who or what is driving this crisis? 

External and internal pressures are usually the root cause of this perceived urgent state.  For instance, internal pressures such as miscommunication or lack of transparent communication within a team can create misunderstandings, prompting hurried responses to perceived issues.  And external pressures like market trends, unrealistic fan or vendor expectations, competition, and unexpected events could cause perceived urgent state. 

As leaders grow within the organization and climb the ladder of success, the pressure and stakes of those decisions and actions also increase. It’s important to realize that your actions could be the cause of a manufactured urgency as well.

Decision-making becomes easier when you can realize the cause of the urgency.  

Recognizing manufactured urgency is the first step in reclaiming control over your team’s performance.

A group of employees on the same team working together in sync and smiling

Counteracting Manufactured Urgency

Several strategies can be deployed to counteract the manufactured urgency epidemic and foster an environment conducive to peak performance.

Prioritize with Purpose

  • Encourage your team to adopt a mindset of purposeful prioritization. Clearly define goals and align tasks with the overarching mission. By understanding the significance of each task, teams can focus on what truly matters, minimizing the urge to react impulsively.

Strategic Planning

  • Equip your team with the tools for strategic planning. Develop a roadmap that outlines short-term and long-term objectives. This provides a structured approach, helping teams allocate resources and time effectively, reducing the likelihood of succumbing to manufactured urgency.

Communication and Transparency

  • Foster a culture of open communication and transparency within your team. Encourage team members to share their concerns, workload, and progress. This promotes a collective understanding of each other’s responsibilities, preventing unnecessary urgency stemming from miscommunication or lack of information.

Mindful Decision-Making

  • Instill a culture of mindfulness in decision-making. Encourage your team to take a moment to reflect before reacting. This pause allows for a more thoughtful response, mitigating the impulsive actions driven by manufactured urgency.

Embrace Adaptability

  • Manufactured urgency often arises from a fear of falling behind or missing opportunities. Embrace adaptability as a core value within your team, acknowledging that change is a constant. By embracing change, teams can navigate challenges with resilience and avoid succumbing to unnecessary urgency.
Team meeting with the boss discussing an important issue

What to do First 

Enlighten your Team 

Begin with the end in mind.  You want a team with energized, engaged, and productive members. Educate your group on what you deem real urgency versus manufactured. Help them understand how to recognize the difference and how to prioritize the work that will lead to productivity and positive outcomes for the team.  

Empower Individuals

Even though you are working as a group, leadership can empower each individual. Instill the education and the tools to take on challenges without a felt need to work in crisis mode.   


Great leaders, in the pursuit of peak performance on teams, must be vigilant guardians against the manufactured urgency epidemic. By fostering purposeful prioritization, strategic planning, open communication, mindful decision-making, and adaptability, you can create teams that thrive amidst challenges and consistently deliver their best. When you add to that, an empowered group of individuals that come together for each other and for the greater good of the organization, you create the opportunity for peak performance. 

Together, let’s elevate our teams to new heights, free from the grips of manufactured urgency. Visit Courtside Leadership and let’s get your team on its way to peak performance!