How to Raise the Level of Urgency During Organizational Change

Urgency for organizational change

The level of urgency during organizational change has a direct correlation to successfully implementing an important change initiative.  And the urgency for change cannot be false or driven by fear, anxiety or anger. The urgency for organizational change must be driven by market and competitive realities and the fundamental risks and opportunities they present at the individual, team and organizational levels.

If you read the articles on change management consulting and training, you know that there are many reasons organizational change initiatives fail.  Some change efforts don’t even get off the ground…and this is often because there has not been enough urgency established around the need for change.

Unless you can convince your organization, from the top down, that the status quo is more dangerous (and not as appealing) than the change you recommend, your change initiative is in trouble. You need to communicate with a sense of importance, not exaggerating the facts, but painting a picture of the dire consequences of not changing. What will be the result of your declining competitive position…loss of market share, decreased revenue, new or increased competition, unhappy customers?

Until your senior management understands what is at risk and your employees accept that change is necessary for survival, the attempt at transformation will typically languish. It takes energy, hard work, courage and great leadership to effect change.  Don’t be stalled at stage one.  Raise the urgency quotient so you get everybody on board at the outset by:

  1. Getting Client-Centric Feedback.  Start with your current, potential and target customers.  Then speak with partners and front-line employees. Use the information to paint a compelling and pressing picture of the reality in terms of the current situation, the complications, the implications of not changing, the desired path forward and the anticipated benefits of completing the change.  One client successfully used video-taped interviews of clients to get the unfiltered need to change across.
  2. Sharing the Truth.  Too many leaders are afraid to share bad news or interactions with unhappy customers because they do not want to create a sense of doom or failure.  Smart change leaders know sharing data throughout the organization that supports the claim that change is necessary is a critical step toward creating the urgency necessary to gain commitment.  Sure, you must be smart about how you share information, but do not be afraid to treat those affected like adults.
  3. Behaving with Urgency.  While this may seem obvious, you would be surprised how many leadership teams do not act with a sense of urgency commensurate with their proposed need for organizational change.
  4. Creating Accountability.  Smart change leaders enforce the requirements of change and hold people accountable for living the change.  This includes having clear and significant consequences for those who resist change and creating meaningful recognition and rewards for those who get on board.

To learn more about effective organizational change management training and consulting and how to create a positive sense of urgency, download the 5 New Lenses of Change Leadership Now

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