ASAP: Perhaps the most ambiguous expression in business. What does it mean?
• As soon as you take your next breath, I expect you to be working on this.
• At your earliest convenience, this needs to be done. (And what I’m really saying is at my earliest convenience, I need this done.)
• I need this now – which means you’re already late. (Whoops. Did I forget to say please? Please.)
• Take your time . . . Whenever you can get around to completing this task.
• A.S.A.P. = Another Strategic ‘A’ Priority.
• A.S.A.P. = Ambiguous Schemes Attempting Precedence
The system wants to fool us into thinking everything is urgent. But the outcome is gridlock, where little that is important gets accomplished. Establishing common definitions of language is the important step in controlling the system that will otherwise control us, if we let it.
Does everyone on your team define ASAP the same way? (If you don’t know the answer to that, you’ll feel the consequences . . . ASAP.)