Transforming your organisation begins with understanding the importance of urgency to build momentum at the beginning of the change process. Kotter's seminal book Leading Change* outlines eight steps to drive organisational change and transformation. The first of these steps, establishing a sense of urgency, is examined here.
A sense of urgency
A sense of urgency provides motivation for the change to happen. Change can be difficult to achieve and without a strong uniting force that reinforces why the change is necessary to the survival of the organisation, it is unlikely to gain traction and succeed. Therefore, this first step is critical to the success of the remaining steps. It can be more difficult to achieve than is usually anticipated.
It might be easy to assume with economic pressures and increasingly competitive markets, that there would be plenty of scope for identifying a sense of urgency to drive change. Getting past the mindset that an organisation's pressures, issues or challenges only apply to others, not oneself, is key. In practice, this step requires working with individuals to help them understand that they are impacted, how they must feel the sense of urgency and experience how the change will affect them. This is critically important as it is the individual that will have to change what they do and move out of their comfort zone to make the organisation's changes happen.