Nine Steps to Create a Culture of Urgency

In part one of this series we talked about the latest State of the Industry report from IdeaAlliance. In that report, leading companies reported increasing profitability. When asked how they achieved those enviable results, one reason cited was urgency and discipline. In part two, we focus on the sense of urgency, identify three urgency types, and offer a Nine Step Process to build a culture of urgency.
There is research that focuses on the importance of a sense of urgency or what Gallup described as ‘being actively committed to doing a good job’. In Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace Report, employees were broken into three types: Engaged, Not Engaged, Actively Disengaged.
30% Engaged Employees – who work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.
50% Not Engaged Employees – are essentially “checked out.” They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time, but not energy or passion, into their work.
20% Actively Disengaged Employees – who aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness and even undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish.
In total, 70% of staff are either not engaged or disengaged. That means that 70% are either not working with a sense of urgency or acting out their discontent in counterproductive ways hoping to negatively influencing others.
Motivating a Sense of Urgency
John P. Kotter in his book, “A Sense of Urgency,” delves into the how-to requirements often seen in successful entrepreneurs on that first step. He believes that increasing the sense of urgency is the toughest of the steps necessary for effective change. Below are 9 steps to create a culture of urgency.
1. Create the vision. Meet with management team, share your concerns and discuss how to create a greater of sense of urgency.
2.Get the buy in. Talk individually with staff and ask for their input and ideas on how to create a sense of urgency culture.
3. Infrastructure. Create an infrastructure that supports schedules and deadlines. Do you have the tools in place to help monitor deadlines and alert staff when running behind?
4. Language. Create a language that focuses on monitoring schedules and deadlines.
5. Model the behavior. Start each day by behaving with urgency. If your day starts with a production meeting, use the language and tools to show how to act.
6. Communicate. Throughout the day consistently communicate urgency.
7. Reinforcement. Reinforce the culture by sharing articles, webinars and attending shows that support the new culture.
8. Emphasize Win – Win. Avoid finger pointing and emphasize taking lemons and creating lemonade.
9. Drive procrastination and procrastinators out. Learn to identify the signs of procrastination, model the behavior to drive it out of the company and deal with the urgency-killers.

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