Monday, August 25, 2008

Developing And Maintaining A Sense Of Urgency

Thanks to the Leadership Now Blog for their post on developing and maintaining a sense of urgency. It gives me another soapbox!

A sense of urgency is critical to executing any strategy. However, it is important to note that a sense of urgency is different from activity. In John Kotter's A Sense Of Urgency, he describes much of what is done under the name of speed, urgency, or activity is actually a false urgency which is "unproductive flurry of behavior built on a platform of anxiety and anger."

Kotter describes a true sense of urgency as being externally focused and expressed in daily behaviors that move relentlessly to the target, ever alert to changing conditions and weeding out superfluous activity.

A true sense of urgency requires thoughtfulness, focus and disciplined execution. Often, it requires one take time to think and review. Often it takes patience and discipline to follow through to see what results are produced and to take corrective action. Finally it takes courage. So much of the meaningless activity we encounter produces a facade of moving forward, but when you look behind it, nothing is happening and no results are produced.

The blog is worth reading and I've put Kotter's book on my reading list.

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