By Amanda Byrne
In today's faced-paced technologically advanced society innovations and techniques are revealed regularly and it is especially important to keep up. It's important to be thorough when inspiring change and follow each step. One of the most important steps to create change in an organization is the first phase, creating a strong sense of urgency for the change.
To create change in any environment it is important to have a strong sense of urgency whether a person is in a workplace or even dealing with change in their personal life. It is extremely important to be motivated and embrace the change that you want to happen. A lot of companies struggle with creating a strong enough sense of urgency to start the process of creating change 50% of companies tend to fail within this phase. Organizations can underestimate the difficulty of pushing employees out of their comfort zones to embrace change. They can also overestimate how successful they have already been at increasing urgency and fall short. Many executives also lack patience and want to skip to the more involved and later steps of creating change (Kotter, 2015). Executives also can become overwhelmed with the potential downsides of starting the change process like low employee morale or dealing with short term business issues (Glesson, 2018). This can occur when there are too many managers or weak leaders.
People tend to think that establishing strong leadership should not be the main focus in the process of change but, if leaders are not distinct and passionate, it will be hard for employees to feel motivated to embrace the change (Kotter, 2015). If leaders of the organization do not attempt to create a strong sense of urgency, employees can feel comfortable and resist conforming to the change (Glesson, 2018). In a leaked Nokia memo CEO Stephen Elop compared his company’s current position to a man standing on a burning platform. The man had to decide whether to jump off of the platform into ice-cold water or burn. Although the man would not normally decide to jump off the platform he was in a dire situation and needed to act with urgency; “...these were not ordinary times – his platform was on fire... After he was rescued, he noted that a “burning platform” caused a radical change in his behavior. We too, are standing on a “burning platform,” and we must decide how we are going to change our behaviour...” (Torben, 2017). Having a leader that can dictate the need for a sense of urgency when dealing with a change like Elop is important in inspiring the rest of the employees to also embrace change.
Overall, creating a strong sense of urgency is extremely important in inspiring change in an organization. It is an early step in the change process so if it is ignored or overlooked it could harm the result of the process. To create that strong sense of urgency it is necessary to have strong leadership to inspire the rest of the employees to follow the urgency. The beginning of the change process is the best time to establish and identify strong leaders to be prepared for any kind of obstacle or speedbumps that an organization might encounter.