“Were born to change, but we resist it at every turn.In most Companies, organizational initiatives eitherimplode or succeed only partially because of suchresistance”.- Prof. John Kotter
What is a Sense of Urgency??? Urgency = “Of pressing importance”. A true sense of urgency is when people think that action on critical issues is needed “NOW”. A sense of urgency is not an attitude that I must have the project team meeting today, but that the meeting must accomplish something important today.
Creating a True Sense of Urgency STEP 1: Deeply understand the opposites of Urgency i.e Complacency and False Urgency Complacency = “a feeling of contentment or self satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger or trouble”
Complacency is evident from what people do. They are mostly content with the status quo. They pay insufficient attention to wonderful new opportunities and frightening new hazards. In a fast moving and changing world, a sleepy or steadfast contentment with the status quo can create disaster.
How To Indentify Complacency? They never think they are complacent. Content with the status quo; irrationally afraid of the personal consequences of change. Do not alertly look for new opportunities or hazards facing their organization. They do what has worked for them in the past.
False Sense of Urgency: Where people seem to have a great sense of urgency where they run from meeting to meeting, have agenda’s containing long list of activities and seem willing to abandon the status quo. But more than often it is driven by pressures, anger and anxiety and not by any determination to move on and win “NOW”.
Sources Of False Urgency? Frenetic activity. Non decisive & excessive meetings after meeting. Projects tend to geometrically grow without clarity. Overwhelm and/or apathy is a common response to new organizational goals. High stress levels - bursts of frustration or anger.
Kotters 8-Step Change Model1. A sense of Urgency2. The guiding team3. Visions & strategies4. Communication5. Empowerment6. Short Term Wins7. Never Letting up8. Making change stick
Conclusion A big reason that true sense of urgency is rare is that its not a natural state of affairs. It has to be created and recreated to form a continuous change process. Without continuous change urgency tends to collapse after a few successes. With a shift from episodic to continuous change, urgency will move from being an important issue every few years to being a powerful asset all the time.