Wishing to grow your business? Who isn’t?
Suppose complacency and false urgency act as a brake, slowing growth, and business innovation. In that case, true urgency is the correct force propelling a company into the future guided by change leadership. True urgency is a positive and highly focused force that focuses on the most critical tasks with deeply felt determination to move fast and win now.
I’ve talked at length about complacency and false urgency; they are two common opposites and generally hidden behaviors that erode a company. Complacency is comfortable with the status quo feeling derived from past success. False urgency looks busy with a flurry of activity, but because it’s motivated by fear and anxiety, the action is busywork, not concentrated on the most important thing.
True urgency is a concept of Harvard Professor Dr. John Kotter’s 40 years of research, which behaves differently. It is focused energy, driven, and undergirded by vision reinforced by a change leadership mindset. Creating true urgency requires excellent boundary setting.
Start with your calendar. A crazed, over-booked leader cannot be genuinely urgent with a full schedule. Low-value meetings need to be delegated or canceled. Superfluous projects, distracting from the mission and vision of the company, should be eliminated to free up time and energy on genuinely urgent tasks.
A good change leader who operates with urgency is one who delegates—being able to delegate forces a leader to hire well because you must trust and grow those you empower. Delegating tasks also reduces micromanaging, improving the environment within the office and employee satisfaction. Good leaders know when to delegate and when to cut something completely; they also don’t allow subordinates to delegate back up the chain of command.
To grow your business, leaders need more room freed up during the day; the urgent leader responds immediately to calls, requests for meetings, and emails on high-priority issues. These become urgent actions that propel the company forward. A visionary leader can be confident that these action items are truly urgent because the whole ship is moving in the right direction.
During the meetings, a change leader communicates clearly about who will do what tasks and when they need to be completed. Speaking about specifics with clarity allows a team to move with speed. Moving with speed results from simplifying and prioritizing the right actions and tasks.
Teaching a team to behave with urgency on the right tasks and projects requires that the leader communicate the value of moving, adapting, and staying ahead of the competition. A change leadership mindset, paired with the change management motor, helps the company proceed with agility and adjust to change and the unexpected. Leaders speak with feeling; they are passionate, and their infectious passion will influence and motivate the people around them.
To grow your business, a leader acts on their words as a leader people will follow. So don’t just talk about exploring new ideas and opportunities, do it (after all, your calendar should now have some gaps in it!). Be the visible symbol you want your team to become. Be real. Authentic. Be as visible as possible to as many people as possible. Let your true urgency be on display.
True urgency creates the belief that great opportunities are ahead. It allows for the spark of raw creativity and innovation to light a fire. True urgency gives vision and sets the path toward what is possible. It eliminates the fluff and low-priority items, freeing people to move with more speed and agility. Giving employees freedom and time to dream engages their heads and heart, and the energy formed from passionate engagement is unstoppable. As a result, employees transform into people who seize real opportunities daily and avoid the hazards that happen every day.
True urgency can be transformative. It allows both leaders and employees to live consciously and with purpose. Workers become responsible for their actions because they are empowered to do so. They understand that they need to change before seeing a change in others and blaming bosses and coworkers for unmet expectations.
Taking responsibility for their actions is a characteristic of a change leader—regardless of position in the organization. Motivated employees, who feel helpful and energized, are constantly looking for ways to grow, learn, and improve. They are willing to admit mistakes with a lack of defensiveness.
People with a truly urgent mindset look for ways to say “yes” to help an opportunity succeed. They live to empower and inspire others through their actions, all while purging non-value-adding activities from their schedule. An urgent mindset gets excited about what can be achieved. It looks for ways to accomplish it. An urgent perspective rewards those focused on critical tasks and assists with concrete ways of helping to remove barriers.
If your team is not exceptionally alert, externally oriented, and internally aligned, you may need help casting a vision for true urgency. It is a learned skill, and I can help you create it in your organization.
I can help your team build an authentic urgency culture aimed toward winning and making progress every day. A culture constantly aimed at winning frees your company up to seize the opportunities that change ultimately creates.
If you desire to grow your business, chances are you won’t have to start from scratch but relearn and add new change-leadership principles. Doing so will change your company from the inside out. Let’s connect! I would love to hear from you today.