3 Ways to Create More Strategic Urgency

A businessman is relaxing in an open field complacent and showing no Strategic Urgency

Do You Need to Create Strategic Urgency?
Our high performance research identified complacency as one of the top five strategy execution warning signs.  Often, the most vulnerable time for an organization is when you are at the top of your game.  If you are looking to take your performance to the next level, you should consider creating some strategic urgency.

Why Strategic Urgency Matters
Leaders today cannot afford to get caught flat-footed or miss important market windows of opportunity.  While unchecked or unauthentic strategic urgency can certainly be counterproductive, well-placed strategic urgency is a vital component to amplifying the importance of the desired strategic shifts.   Most change experts believe that 75% of the people affected by change need to believe in both the importance and the urgency of the desired changes.

Where Strategic Urgency Starts
Strategic urgency starts with the leadership team.  While 75% buy-in may be enough for the employees affected by change, we look for 100% commitment from the top.  Leadership alignment is critical to ensure executives consistently reinforce the new direction so their teams remain dedicated to move toward the “new way.”

Three Ways to Create More Strategic Urgency
Breaking through complacency requires an active and honest dialogue across the organization until people understand and believe in the desired strategic direction enough to commit to trying to make them happen.

1. Challenge Your Business Model
Get your leaders together to think through the consequences of various scenarios that may be unlikely to happen but could greatly impact your strategy for success. Conduct a thorough examination of “what if” and “then.”  Consider challenging how you define and execute against areas such as your assumptions regarding:

  • Target clients
  • Target markets
  • Value proposition
  • Competitive advantages
  • Rate of scale
  • Leadership team
  • Talent management
  • Cultural norms
  • Competitive threats
  • Market shifts
  • Level of focus
  • Level of conviction

2. Check in with Dissatisfied Customers
Because almost every company is in the customer-experience business, one of the best ways to heighten strategic urgency is to shine a light on unhappy customers.   Though you can learn about strengths from satisfied customers, lost and unhappy customers often provide early warning signs of bad assumptions or hard times to come.

Your customers have their finger on the pulse of how you are living up to your strategic brand promise.  Use unvarnished feedback from your lost and dissatisfied customers to create urgency for change.

3. Scan Outliers
Often, the biggest strategic disruptions happen on the fringes. For example:

  • LinkedIn, a social media platform, is disrupting learning and recruiting
  • Tesla, a car company, is disrupting battery storage
  • Google, an internet search company, is disrupting mobile phones
  • NetFlix, a DVD company, is disrupting media content and delivery
  • Uber, a ride-sharing company, is disrupting food delivery

Is it possible that the greatest challenge to your business is not from close competitors but from maverick companies looking to disrupt your business model?  It sure seems that Amazon is on a path to disrupt most industries by itself.

Can potential threats from outliers, nearby or connected industries help provide the strategic urgency you need to mobilize the troops?

The Bottom Line
If you want to stay competitive, you cannot afford complacency even in the midst of good times.  Smart leaders continuously test their strategy and underlying assumptions with a mindset toward making strategic adjustments to sustain success.  If you want to create strategic urgency, remember leaders and their teams must believe that the status quo is not as appealing as the desired new direction or plan.

To learn more about creating strategic urgency, download How Strategic Clarity Distinguishes High Performing Leaders

Comments are closed.

LSA provided top notch solutions right when and how we needed them. They exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and cost standpoint. I recommend them to anyone looking for a true business partner in the Learning and Development arena. The breadth and depth of their expertise has helped us hit tight deadlines across multiple projects.

Fortune 500 Financial Services Company
Director of Infrastructure & Technology

I highly recommend LSA Global to anyone who is looking to improve individual or organizational effectiveness through their top quality programs and broad range of expertise.

Greg Pappas
VP of Human Resources

We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.

Terri Wright-Scheer
Vice President Human Resources

The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.

Robert Breckner
Firmware Engineering Manager

I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

Duane Schroeder
Human Resource Manager

I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.

Kristin Westland-Kaune
Director, Team Development

I am very impressed with the quality of work and talent. LSA did a great job of listening to my needs and providing the exact management training program expertise I needed to get the job done.

Don Pryor
Director, Business Planning & Analysis

We have been able to utilize LSA’s extensive network of top-notch resources to leverage our investment in employee development. The result has been the cost effective and highly efficient delivery of quality educational and management training programs.

Steve Feller
Vice President, Human Resources

Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out our valuable management development training program. I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight working with LSA. We look forward to partnering with them at Blackhawk Networks for future training and consulting needs.

Suzanne Kinner
VP Human Resources

Blackhawk Network

LSA’s customized Effective Presentation Skills program has helped me elevate my presentation skills to the next level. I now have a much greater self-awareness of my presentation skills and can leverage off of my strengths while working to improve upon other areas. I would definitely recommend this solution to anyone for whom business presentations are an integral part of their job.

Jim Elliott
Senior Marketing Manager

Samsung

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

In the Next Generation Management Development courses, I was trained with skills and tools that have made me and my team more productive, motivated, and successful at communicating with other departments.

 

Kevin Ashman
Firmware Engineering Supervisor

Understanding and conforming to legal compliance was very important to our company. We turned to LSA Global to provide a quality and cost effective way to ensure that we were AB 1825 compliant. Their interactive eLearning program was top-notch. It allowed our managers to learn at their own pace, and on their own time. The program was tailored to include our logo and our internal harassment policies. It was interactive and met all federal and state legal requirements. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company looking for an efficient and effective and top quality way to train their managers to be in compliance.

Kelly Warren, SPHR
Director, HR & Compliance

I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership development and management expertise and quality of advice and facilitation that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.

Tracy Esposito
Director, HR Business Partner

LSA’s consultant designed and delivered a half-day team building solution for our recent conference. It included careful customization to integrate the design with our new mission and values. Everyone had fun and identified key issues with our teamwork. Altogether a great program!

Bob Ward
Director of HR

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More