Urgency Requires a Fundamental Shift.

Leaders All Want Success! But there are those times when circumstances work against success. O.K. most times. But how do we shift our attitude, our motivation, our energy when the chips are down and the forces against forward momentum are at gale-wind speeds? John Kotter shares his research in his book Urgency. He contends that it take an intentional sense of urgency. In other words a Leader_Shift that moves things forward. Leaders must get moving!

Moving 2 Change
John Kotter’s book ‘A Sense of Urgency, a loss of urgency in our lives is a key problem in effecting change. The opposites of ‘true’ urgency are seen in two areas. The first is in the area of complacence where people have experienced attempted change but have come up short. The resulting effect is defeat, despair, and denial. Defeat in that all attempts to hope, trust or believe in the possibility of change are non-existent. In despair in that once hope is lost depression sets in. And in denial in that life is lived with the belief that there is no need to change.

The second opposite that Kotter points out is ‘false’ urgency. False urgency demonstrates itself in endless lists, meetings, and to do’s. It operates from a base of anxiety and fear that if something doesn’t happen then everything will implode. The problem with living on this type of urgency is that it requires a constant volume of adrenaline which is impossible to sustain. The manifestation of false urgency is that life is live in desperation mode at a frenzied paced with no single direction. It is living in the Tornado not the ‘eye of the Tornado’. The commentary of this type of attempted change could very well be what the Bible calls, ‘Ever learning and never coming to an understanding of the truth’. The emotional cost is severe because people end up living in cynicism, anger, and frustration.

Kotter sees that the answer lies in what he calls ‘true’ urgency. ‘True’ urgency is defined as living with clear intent. An individual (or organization) can identify a critical area of change that is needing to take place. Attached to this identification is a very high level of emotion which is undeniably required in order for true change to occur. Absent of the denial of complacency and the frenzied, distracted approach of false urgency, true urgency has the positive emotion of anticipation with it. Missing the ‘A’ type personality image of what urgency can be true urgency is intentional, methodical and deliberate. It builds on clarity of a preferred future and focus’ on that one critical outcome that can be a ‘game changer’. The benefits of operating in true urgency mode is that success is a real possibility! In addition, according to Kotter’s research, there is a halo effect where the results are exponential affecting many other areas that were in need of change. So practically if you are in a position where ‘everything’ is wrong and in need of change, choosing just one area and passionately going after that one area will impact other areas creating a sustainable and significant difference.

‘Shift Your Leadership’ Questions:

  1. Are you at a point where denial is the only space to be in order to cope?
  2. Are you moving at break neck speed attempting to bring change but when the dust settles all you have is an adrenaline hang over?
  3. What if you tried to identify the one critical issue that needs to be addressed? What if changing that one thing would create a domino effect bringing change to others areas of life?
  4. What is that one thing for you? What action can you take immediately
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