The business world has never moved faster than right now and we can expect the pressure only to increase. Speed, agility and proactivity are necessary requirements for survival and success — yet they cannot be pursued at the expense of disciplined execution and consistent quality.

Chapter Four explores the need for speed: how to create a culture with a strong sense of urgency. What is meant by a “sense of urgency” is not running around at 400 miles an hour with your hair on fire, but instead displaying a driving desire to accomplish the most important items… now! And unrelenting push for speed that leads directly to desired results. In this chapter, I share my best ideas on decision making, risk analysis, empowerment, and the value of building a vast network of people who want to help you succeed.

Additional Resources

Kotter’s four tactics to establish a sense of urgency

The ”Leading Blog” has many great articles on leadership topics, here is a review they posted of the major ideas in John Kotter’s book “A Sense of Urgency”
How to Develop and Maintain a Sense of Urgency

Understanding urgency and using it effectively

A nice blog article from the CEO of a company that made “urgency” a theme for their organization:
Creating a Sense of Urgency

A good blog article on the difference between “panic” and “urgency”
The Difference Between Panic and Urgency

 

Recommended Reading

A Sense of Urgency

John Kotter is regarded as one of the most influential business thinkers in the world, and rightfully so. He does a superb job in this book of describing exactly what having “a sense of urgency” truly means in the business world, and how to create it in your organization.

Competing Against Time

With many detailed examples from companies that have put time-based strategies in place, such as Federal Express, Ford, Milliken, Honda, Deere, Toyota, Sun Microsystems, Wal-Mart, Citicorp, Harley-Davidson, and Mitsubishi, the authors describe exactly how reducing elapsed time can make the critical difference between success and failure. This book is a bit of a tough read, but you will be rewarded with some excellent insights and ideas.

It’s Not the Big That Eat the Small…It’s the Fast That Eat the Slow

The authors traveled around the world to learn the secrets to speed from such winning firms as H&M clothing stores, Charles Schwab, Hotmail and Telepizza, and created a good book, with lots of examples, how-to’s and advice. It is sure to give you a few new insights.

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

The Goal is an entertaining novel and at the same time a thought provoking business book. It is the story of a plant manager, Alex Rogo, whose plant is in serious trouble and he has just 90-days to turn it around. The book deals with the concept of the “Theory of Constrains” (TOC) and although it is focused on manufacturing, I found several useful ideas in it.

The Six Secrets of Change

This is an outstanding book, I really recommend it heartily. Fullan deals with several critical factors of running a great organization including urgency, best people, learning systems and the critical need for transparency. This one is a must read.

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