Niall McShane Niall McShane . Oct 31 . 2 min read

Executive Habit of the Urgent and Important Quadrant

I have worked across many industries with dozens of executives; they are all busy people. It seems the more senior you are the crazier your day gets. 

I have no problem with you having a full day; it is what is in your schedule that I want to talk about. In Obstacle 7 of our recent Whitepaper, I discuss the Executive habit its important Quadrant.

"I'm back-to-back today, sorry I can't meet with you"


In agile change programs, executives need to maintain perspective and avoid getting too caught up in the details. It is crucial for success to schedule dedicated time in your diary to attend to essential but not urgent work.

This allows for a focused approach to address important tasks that may otherwise be overlooked amidst the fast-paced nature of change initiatives. By allocating specific time for such activities, executives can ensure that they have the necessary bandwidth to make strategic decisions and drive successful outcomes.

Obstacle 7 - Urgent vs Non-urgent Work

When I coach an executive member, a lot of the conversations are to support their personal journey as a leader (shifting their mental model and mindset). This work requires Quadrant II time, which means giving up some (usually) “fake” Quadrant I time to allow for introspection and
reflection. I say fake because most supposedly urgent meetings are not necessary.

Transitioning to Agile is a complex process that does not follow a linear path; what you need to do
emerges as the change unfolds. Therefore, I recommend you book regular coaching/reflection
meetings with yourself (or a coach) into your diary, making time to “get up on the balcony and look
down on the dance floor”. This change of perspective will help you see the forest for the trees and
better navigate the complexities of the change process.


If you do nothing else but consider these seven obstacles and keep them in your awareness as you lead the change, then I am glad. Change is difficult and leaders have the hardest job of all, so in some way I hope this article helps you to be just a little more prepared to navigate into and out of the valley of despair to new heights of delivery performance.

We have reached the end of this blog series. Download the comprehensive Executive Whitepaper below to access the entire document.


From Hurdles to High Performance: Download our Whitepaper

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