Sense of Urgency: Part 1

Halden Zimmermann’s latest blog post

A Sense of Urgency: Part 1

When we think about continuous development of highly innovative technology,

changing political environments, globalization and steep growth, tough competition,

mergers and acquisitions, it’s a whirlwind of rapid change that fosters urgency.

Urgency means a sense of pressing importance. To live out success factors, its

crucial to be able to distinguish between a “true sense of urgency” and a “false sense

of urgency.” In fact, distinguishing between them during the very first step of any

kind of change can mean the difference between success and failure.

A good change model is one whose leadership adopts and promotes a culture of

the “right” sense of urgency throughout the company. The thought leader on this

phenomenon is Harvard MIT Change Expert Dr. John Kotter, who says that 50%

of all change efforts fail during the first step of change. Why do they fail? Mainly

because of lack of vision, communication of the vision, empowering others to act on

the vision, and more, the lack of which creates a false sense of urgency.

In many cases, the opposite of a right sense of urgency is compliancy. We all

unconsciously experience complacency to a certain degree in certain situations. And

it is possible to see problems and be complacent because you do not feel tat they

require change from YOU.

On the other hand, people having a true sense of urgency think that action on

important issues is needed now and not eventually when it fits into their schedules.

“Now” means making progress every day. “Critically important” means that acting

upon it is central to success and winning. To illustrate something we all face every

day, a sense of urgency is not an attitude that I must have the team meeting today,

but rather, a positive, focused attitude that the team meeting must accomplish

something important today.

from Halden Zimmermann


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