As leaders, it’s our responsibility to help protect our teams against urgencies by identifying and rewarding the specific behaviors that lead to achieving our goals.

Act on the important, don’t react to the urgent. Focus your team members on the “wildly important” (important and proactive efforts) and not the wildfires — even the ones you set! But first, ensure you haven’t modeled or reinforced a culture that rewards firefighting more than fire prevention.

Recognize that you may well be the source of many team urgencies.

Ask yourself if your need for validation or excitement is undermining the focus of your team.

Reward proactive and preventative efforts, not just heroic firefighting.