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A Sense of Urgency

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2008

    Stopping a false sense of urgency

    Kotter's book makes the argument that we're moving from a time of episodic change to continuous change in organisations. Episodic change is when things are stable and then you are thrown a big IT system and everything is chaotic for a few years, then it settles down again. Continuous change is when you keep getting these things thrown at you all the time. So, having a sense of urgency built into the organisation becomes more and more not just something to do with being part of a change process, but a more central organisational capability that might help you differentiate you from others. So, why does he think so much organisational change is doomed to failure? Because no change can get off to a good start unless you can take the false urgency - this kind of anxiety-driven, running around in circles, activity - or the complacency out of the system. That, and getting enough people who are absolutely determined deep in their hearts to get up every day and find the real problems and opportunities within the organisation and taking some action, even if it's teeny. Until you get enough people doing that you do not have a strong enough foundation to be able to launch an effort that has any chance of succeeding. More often than not, if people don't do that, any change is doomed from the beginning. He argues too that his book has a particular resonance during the current downturn, and we should always look at difficult situations not just as difficult situations but as an opportunity to launch some changes that will make you stronger in the future. Just firing a few people isn't going to make you stronger. Nobody has ever shrunk themselves to greatness. The most important piece of advice to take away from the book, he argues, is this: The world is dangerously full in an age of change with too much complacency and too much of this wretched, stressed-out, frenetic activity that we associate with false urgency. This is not producing outcomes that are good for the human community, and it will produce worse outcomes in the future. But we can do something about this. It is not an inevitably negative story if we recognise it and know the various methods for correcting it. All in all, another great book on business strategy from John Kotter. I read another leadership book this week after having come across it in a review for another one of Kotter's books. It's great and I also recommend it highly: Squawk!: How to Stop Making Noise and Start Getting Results

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Survival

    Back in the 70's I received a minor promotion on the job. My boss stated that the promotion was in large part due to my "sense of urgency". At the time, I really didn't fully understand what he meant but grew to love this attribute in others as the years and decades went by. <BR/><BR/>As a corporate human resources director, I find this trait is needed more today than ever in the past. Amid the continual chaos in our markets, Kotter has written a timely book that every manager should have on their desk or night stand. In his book, Kotter explains the hurdles that pop-up preventing a sense of urgency mindset. He speaks the truth when writing about making the "business case" and the limited value of such for most people. More importantly, he details how to remove these roadblocks. One of the most helpful sections speaks to the actions we must take to maintain the urgency after the initial sell. <BR/><BR/>I found this to be a very helpful book that I will be sharing with management. I hope you find this review helpful. Michael L. Gooch, Wingtips with Spurs: Cowboy Wisdom for Today's Business Leaders.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Exposition on the importance of urgency

    Complacent organizations simply cannot keep pace with today's accelerating rate of change. Resting on your laurels is no longer viable. Competitors, evolving markets and technological developments will swamp organizations that try to sit things out on the sidelines. Today, organizations must adopt the "fierce urgency of now" ethos that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made famous in the 1960s. Business expert John P. Kotter explains why. His book tells leaders how to foster a "sense of urgency" among their employees. He contrasts "true urgency" with "false urgency" and discusses why negative pressure is counterproductive. getAbstract recommends his clear, enthusiastic book to executives who want to motivate employees, meet crucial goals and effect change in their organizations.

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