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John Kotter shows in his book what is missing in nearly all organisations today: a sense or urgency - that attitude that leads people to use opportunities and avoid pitfalls - they purge low-priority activities and move faster and smarter in a rapidly evolving economy.

A Sense of Urgency

A Sense of Urgency

by John P. Kotter


1.05K reads

Producing large-scale change

You may be aware that your organisation needs change. You may even know what the change should be: a new strategy or reorganisation or a new IT system. However, change comes too slowly, or the implementation has come late and with much frustration.

The problem is complacency. We und...

Managers often think they have found the solution when they see lots of energetic activity, where people run from meeting to meeting, preparing presentations, and an endless list of activities.

This false sense of urgency is not driven by a determination to win but by pressures that...

A real solution does not involve running from meeting to meeting or creating a huge list of trivial activities. True urgency focuses on critical issues driven by a deep determination to win.

There are four tactics we can use to counter complacency and instil a culture w...

When organisations don't attend to external threats, they will eventually become complacent and blind towards them.

As a first step, leaders should be proactive in collecting information.

  • Lower-level personnel are often the closest to the customer and will know w...

Collecting information is insufficient to spark a sense of urgency. Therefore, it is vital to share the information.

  • Tell a compelling story. Dry facts may appeal to the mind but are not enough to appeal to the hearts of the people in your organisation...

Acting with urgency has to do with clarity and purpose. Be specific with everything you do. 

Create an action that is alert, externally oriented, and aimed at winning. Make some progress every day, and continually purge low value-added activities. Cancel pr...

Great leaders know that a crisis has the opportunity to create an atmosphere of a true sense of urgency. With good leadership, a crisis can be used to wake people up out of their passive routines.

Make the crisis visible, specific, and big enough to require creative...

The NoNo is someone who is armed with reasons why the current situation is fine, why the problems others see don't exist, and why you need more data before moving into action.

A NoNo is not the same as a sceptic. A sceptic is essential to show out poor ideas but can bec...

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