A sense of urgency
Today's reading is an excerpt from John Kotter's most recent book "A Sense of Urgency" which appeared in the September 15, 2008 issue of Business Week.
Kotter's fundamental thesis is that if the sense of urgency is not sufficiently high at the beginning of a project, complacency will take over and the project will falter and may fail. His observations lead him to conclude that intellectual arguments alone will not generate the urgency that is required. To get the urgency required you have to engage the heart with the mind.
He outlines four "heart-head" approaches:
Bring outside reality into groups that are too inwardly focused by creating emotionally compelling experiences involving other people, information, etc.
Leaders personally behave with urgency making their deeds consistaent with their words.
Leaders look carefully for upside possibilities in crises. As Shel Waggener, CIO at Berkeley, has said: "Never let a crisis go unused."
Leaders do not accept the idea that an organization must put up with the people who work to kill urgency.
I found even this short excerpt to yield a lot of useful information and to really get me thinking. I suspect that you will as well. You may want to ask: Are you instilling the right level of urgency in the work you lead? If not, as a leader you may want to ask what you need to do to step it up.
. . . . . jim