Sense of Urgency Critical to Driving Change

26 May 2011 Sandeep Mehta

I have seen many a process improvement and organizational change projects fail. In fact, studies have shown that 90% of cost cuts are reversed within 3 years. In fact, 60% of the organizations are dissatisfied with their return on process improvement tools such as six sigma.  Here is another interesting insight from Forbes about change management (The Biggest Mistake I See: Strategy First, Urgency Second) :

Some people think a “burning platform” gets people urgent and committed to change. Other leaders think that they can announce the change and then leave it to everyone else to make it happen. Both are mistakes. But the biggest one I’ve run into is when someone says, “We’ve done our research, we have our strategy, we’re ready to get everyone on board.” In the video below I talk about why this approach just doesn’t work for large-scale change, and what you need to do instead: start with a sense of urgency.

The message is clear, a strategy is not enough.  Change requires a clear purpose, vision and urgency from senior management.  Change also requires continued engagement from executives, leaders.  Finally,  change requires clear accountability, metrics and reinforcement systems to ensure it sticks.

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