A Sense of Urgency. Place your order online today and receive a 20%* discount off our books, tools, cases, or articles. SHOP NOW. Urgency can be a positive force in companies, says leadership expert and HBS professor emeritus John P. Kotter. His new book, A Sense of. The Advisory Council has chosen another book by John Kotter, A Sense of Urgency, for this year's Best Practices Conference in Vancouver, Washington ( Not.
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A Sense of Urgency MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged. John P. Kotter is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School, and is widely regarded as the world’s foremost authority on leadership and change. Yet another change management. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Author and international business consultant Kotter Add Audible book to your download for just $ Deliver to. A Sense of Urgency book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Most organizational change initiatives fail spectacularly (at w.
Publication Date: September 03, Most organizational change initiatives fail spectacularly at worst or deliver lukewarm results at best. In his international bestseller "Leading Change," John Kotter revealed why change is so hard, and provided an actionable, eight-step process for implementing successful transformations. The book became the change bible for managers worldwide. Now, in "A Sense of Urgency," Kotter shines the spotlight on the crucial first step in his framework:
Big Mistake Number 1: Assuming that crises inevitably will create the sense of urgency needed to perform better. An example. At a major European retailer, margins were shrinking year after year because fashionable boutiques were taking its top-of-the-line business, and discounters were taking away its low-end business.
Then the European edition of the Wall Street Journal published an explosive article spelling out many of the firm's problems. The CEO had two weeks' warning, but instead of alerting others or working to kill the story, he deliberately chose to do nothing. Not only did he not warn others, except one close confidant, but he also did little to analyze in advance exactly what would happen the day the article came out and what precisely he should do to channel fear, anger, and confusion into a determination to act fast and succeed.
The day came. A full-blown crisis was created. The CEO waited for a great wind to start pushing his organization off its complacent platform and into a good direction.
But it didn't happen. Instead of mobilizing people into action, the crisis led many managers into making fewer decisions because they didn't want to be accused of mistakes with the press and public watching. Many other managers were genuinely afraid that is they rushed into actions their decisions might accidentally create harm. So they held back just at a time when the CEO most needed their help to get the organization moving swiftly into a better future.
Big Mistake Number 2: Going over the line with a strategy that creates an angry backlash because people feel manipulated. No one wants to feel manipulated. If people sense that someone has created a crisis that deliberately puts them in harm's way, especially if it is not strongly connected to real business problems, they may suspect sabotage or lunacy, both of which can create anger and not a steely determination to act fast and win.
The crisis-creating strategy not only fails but makes matters worse.
Because his managers and employees would not change to meet new market demands, the head of the largest division of a Midwestern manufacturing company reluctantly drew the conclusion that his only alternative was to engineer a crisis.
New energy formed more as anger looking for someone to blame for the crisis. Suddenly, a rumor started that the plant manager had purposefully taken steps in the prior year in order to create the severe problems the company faced. Any energy to confront the facts and deal with the real business problems was redirected at the plant manager.
Big Mistake Number 3: Passively sitting and waiting for a crisis which many never come. A major problem with passive strategies is that nature may not cooperate by providing the right amount of lightning in the right place at the right time. A passive, hopeful, wait-and-see strategy fails. The CEO at an electric utility was actually looking forward to deregulation as a means of unfreezing a tradition-bound monopoly that was not adequately preparing for a more competitive future.
But deregulation came slower than he anticipated and with fewer new freedoms. The enterprise continued to make money even as it turned slowly to lose market share in a post-monopoly world.
The positive net income helped greatly in supporting complacency. In frustration, his change agents waited and waited for a powerful legislation that they knew must happen in the current year. But it never did, and the crisis never came. Big Mistake Number 4: Underestimating what the people who would avoid crises at all costs correctly appreciate: that crisis can bring disaster. Using a technology recently made available because of ever-shrinking microchips, a new competitor took away dozens of a firm's key customers.
The crisis could have been anticipated. But because the management believed that only an unexpected burning platform could help push a complacent organization out of its comfort zone, it didn't pay attention to the danger signs.
Revenues collapsed, losses mounted, the stock tanked, people were laid off, and some good employees jumped ship. Kat added it Shelves: I appreciate that the writing in this book was organized and clear, it made for an easier time to flip back and forth between higher level structure and immersed in the later chapters detailing significance of the tactic described.
It was a pretty straightforward read. I liked the advice to the reader about not getting confused with similar looking behaviors, as true sense of urgency should provide relief rather than anxiety if proper actions are taken to resolve matters.
I also like the multiple I appreciate that the writing in this book was organized and clear, it made for an easier time to flip back and forth between higher level structure and immersed in the later chapters detailing significance of the tactic described. I also like the multiple example described on reiterating the point to not become someone resting on laurels, that culture and holistic awareness and self-awareness is something to cultivate regularly.
After finishing this book I feel inspired to peruse other books by this author. Perhaps there's a book on another principle that the author pointed out to be critical and goes hand and hand with a sense of urgency - communication. Oct 09, James Keough rated it it was ok.
Very long-winded way of emphasizing the importance of having a sense of urgency, and the repercussions of not having a sense of urgency.
Seems like a bunch of common sense pardon the pun , or a duh, when it comes to the examples presented in the book. Not sure I could have read this cover to cover, so thankful this was an audio-book. Jun 05, Michael Culbertson rated it liked it Shelves: Probably would have been better as a HBR article or two. Leading Change felt like it had more substantial content. In A Sense of Urgency, Kotter does clarify that the opposite of a sense of true urgency is not always complacency: Sometimes, organizations are beset by false urgency, which manifests as frenetic activity without producing any real movement.
True urgency means always asking, "What can be done right now to move the work forward? For fostering a sense of urgency, Kotter recommends modeling e. May 03, Grant Cousineau rated it liked it. It's a compact book with an important message for businesses: It all makes sense, and Kotter supplies a lot of testimonials from anonymous businesses to support this argument. However, it felt like this book was made to be digestible for hurried types urgent people, I suspect. There's enough to get a foothold in the concepts, like how complacency is natural a It's a compact book with an important message for businesses: There's enough to get a foothold in the concepts, like how complacency is natural after periods of success, and how thwarting a NoNo an adversary of change is more complicated than just trying to work around them.
And yet, I felt myself wanting more. First of all, his central argument is simply to have a sense of urgency for urgency's sake because it's vital to growth. If you work for a company you want to see succeed, it's critical that you find this urgency.
He even talks about how to project-manage for it, to invite in risks and get people involved from every level of the company. But for many, I think it's difficult to internalize that desire. Some people will act with urgency because they know their company and colleagues depend on it. People are inherently resistant to change. I think he could have tied it more to why change in and of itself is important. The world is always changing: Cultures change. Politics change History affects change.
And if a business is going to be a significant cog to its customers and their environment, sitting still isn't just bad for your bottom line.
It's an act of moving in reverse. There was space to make this case better, and maybe more personal. But his ideas were enough to get me to identify things I never thought about before, like the harms of complacency, and the difference between urgency and misguided actions--even when he digs into how a crisis can be flipped into a source of motivation.
I view my workplace a little different now, and that's more than enough to have an impact.
It's intention is to get you to write your own map, and for people like me, that becomes more of a suggestion when what we really want is a prescription. Good read though. Quick, smart, and applicable literally to any business or even nonprofit or government entities, really. Oct 07, Charlie rated it it was amazing.
Professor Kotter outlines a very succinct case for why - and how - we need to be urgent for the most pressing issues effecting us. Aug 16, Jordan Munn rated it liked it. This book could easily be pared down to a page article I'm assuming it started life as an article anyway. And it tends to say the same thing over and over in different, increasingly emphatic corporo-speak ways.
It gets real alpha at times. And yet, despite my peeves with it, it's still a solid, easy-to-read book with some ideas and suggestions worth serious consideration. I'm glad I read it. May 22, Dwayne A Milley rated it it was amazing. Dec 16, Vinay rated it liked it. This books goes to the heart of what causes a lot of successful organisations to become obsolete. In one word - complacency. While Kodak and Blockbuster are sadly poster children of this phenomenon, there are teams, departments and organisations that fail to realise their potential because of becoming complacent.
Apr 10, Nicole rated it it was ok. Discussed difference between urgency, complacency and false urgency. Did not care for his writing method.
Gave me anxiety thinking that after an urgent issue is dealt with, you need to focus on the next issue or create another urgent matter. I think there are times when you should just stop and think about the situation. Jun 16, Scott Couchenour rated it it was amazing. Kotter does that in this book. He goes back to point 1 of 8 points in his book Leading Change and digs deeper.
A sense of urgency is absolutely necessary when changing for good. Kotter deals with the topic adequately. Feb 24, Gamingtildawn rated it really liked it. Really details urgency vs. Loved all the examples and comparisons. Well written; easy read. Spends lots of time explaining complacency which was very helpful. Sep 16, Mike Studdard rated it liked it. Well documented with examples of how important urgency is today and tomorrow.
Many of the rules are intuitive and a few come from the authors vast experience in consulting. Feb 15, Ric McCormick rated it liked it. A short read with useful case studies that builds on his previous books but focuses on the beginning of the change journey. Would recommend reading after Leading Change and Heart of Change. May 13, Farooq Mazhar rated it it was amazing Shelves: Jun 11, Erica Johnson rated it it was ok Shelves: This book was fine.
I understand the point the author is getting at. I would have appreciated more specific examples and less fluff. Feb 02, Vijay rated it liked it Shelves: Makes valid points about urgency. Gives many examples. A little too much expounding , but that is necessary to get simple points across, as people are quick to dismiss simple points.
Dec 30, Trevor rated it liked it Shelves: In Leading Change, Kotter laid out the 8 stages of how to lead change.
The connection between this book, A Sense of Urgency, and that book is that the first stage in the change process is, "Establishing a sense of urgency. The challenges to true urgency are complacency and false urgency. Kotter observes that "Complacency is almost always the product of success or perceived success" p.
And the success doesn't even need to have been achieved recently. The complacency remains mostly because "the complacent do not alertly look for new opportunities or hazards facing their organizations" p. While complacency is demonstrated by acceptance of the status quo, false urgency is seen in the frenzy of activity that keeps busy with activities of low-importance.
It is frenetic. It is more mindless running to protect themselves or attack others than purposive focus on critical opportunities" p.
Ultimately, Kotter wants readers to recognize that "both the business-as-usual behavior associated with complacency and the running-in-circles behavior associated with a false sense of urgency are increasingly dangerous" p. His term "increasingly dangerous" stands out to me.
Either of these two mindsets have the potential to kill your organization. They are deadly. That simple acknowledgment, alone, can increase your urgency. After explaining what true urgency is not, Kotter begins to unpack what it is and how to create it. He says, "The winning strategy combines analytically sound, ambitious, but logical goals with methods that help people experience new, often very ambitious goals, as exciting, meaningful, and uplifting - creating a deeply felt determination to move, make it happen, and win, now" p.
He offers four tactics, which serve to elaborate on the "methods" he mentioned in the quote above. Those tactics are: Each of these tactics are matched with case studies that illustrate their importance, as well as practical suggestions and cautions for how to use them well. In the end, Kotter counsels a kind of "urgent patience.
I recommend this book for anyone who is involved in the hard work of leading change. Change takes time, but if you create a true sense of urgency at the start then the time it takes and the challenges you face will be significantly less than if you don't. Mar 31, Anthony Deluca rated it it was amazing. A Sense of Urgency By: John P. Kotter Read: September Reviewed: November Copyright: The first was Leading Change which was written about 11 years prior.
A Sense of Urgency builds upon a subset of the content from Leading Change. Kotter starts out by comparing a sense of urgency to complacency and false urgency.
Often in business people become complacent when success has been had. Even if there is a brief sense of urgency, due A Sense of Urgency By: Even if there is a brief sense of urgency, due to some problem, once things are back into place complacency prevails. Many also have a false sense of urgency. They are very busy doing a lot of work they believe is urgent, when in fact the work is just an overabundance of busy-work.
It is not important and really has no use to be urgent. Kotter highlights 4 tactics to drum up urgency. First is to bring the outside in. Often people are complacent because they are around the same, also complacent, people day after day. They never look outside to see others in the industry, including competition.
Bringing the outside in will enlighten folks and often spark urgent desire to change something. Secondly, behave with urgency every day. This involves setting an example and not settling for typical non-urgent behavior. Do something and cause others to do something NOW. A common obstacle to this is usually full calendars of useless, non-urgent meetings. The third tactic is simple: Find opportunity, for urgency, in crisis.
Use crisis situations to spark urgent behavior. It is important to not confuse a NoNo with a skeptic, and Kotter provides guidance to distinguish between the two. This was also a much easier book to grasp than Leading Change. Jul 23, Kristin rated it it was ok Shelves: Apparently I needed to create a sense of urgency to read Sense of Urgency! This sat on my shelf for over a year!
Given we're due to teach Kotter this spring and given one of my students just read it for independent study, I thought I should get started. The book makes helpful distinctions between complacency, false urgency and true urgency within our organizations, discussing the signs and effects of each.
The author defines urgency as "the determination to win and move, now". Four tactics for cr Apparently I needed to create a sense of urgency to read Sense of Urgency! Four tactics for creating urgency are discussed: A chapter is devoted to each.
Overall, the book shines a needed spotlight on the issue of urgency and is a logical extension to Kotter's earlier works Leading Change, The Heart of Change and Our Iceberg is Melting. Personally, working within education, I was frustrated with the continual use of corporate business examples, as if other types of organizations don't exist.
At times it was difficult to relate to the situations, indicators of complacency or urgency and strategies because of the continual dialogue on industry analysts, quarterly earnings, suppliers, customers, etc.
For those not living in the corporate world, you must continually ask yourself "What would this type of situation look like in my organization e. That said, I did especially appreciate the discussion of the successful and unsuccessful ways for dealing with those that are committed to derailing progress, as well as the author's thoughts around "finding opportunity in crises".
These will definitely be easily useful in my environment. I would recommend this book to those that are fans of Kotter, have studied his earlier work and desire a more indepth examination of methods for affecting urgency.
Jun 01, Tony Vynckier rated it really liked it. A Sense of Urgency is a book that is needed in today's times as a true sense of urgency can make the difference between faiture or survival and long term success in today's economy.
Executives need to recognize the difference between Urgency and change. Urgency creates a motivating force on results and teaming. Change is imposed from above, the subject of skepticism and Dilbert cartoons. A sense of urgency compels people to try and make some solid progress every day. I recommend this book to any e A Sense of Urgency is a book that is needed in today's times as a true sense of urgency can make the difference between faiture or survival and long term success in today's economy.
I recommend this book to any executive, manager, team leader, and concerned professional as a way to lead and create results in a powerful way.