Many organisations have a culture of urgency, with days full of action, heat and noise. However, it is usually targeted at operational fire-fighting. Imagine if that same sense of urgency could drive the strategic agenda.
When you walk in the door of some companies, you immediately feel a sense of urgency. There is a “buzz”, people are moving around, in motion. You can feel the tension and impatience in the air.
Unfortunately, this sense of urgency is usually motivated by fear – the desire to avoid immediate negative operational consequences – a customer is unsatisfied, a deadline is missed. This kind of fire-fighting has its place – every organisation has emergencies that must be responded to.
However, with many organisations, this negative urgency becomes part of the culture, rather than the exception. And the more operational urgency is present, the less urgency there will be for the strategic agenda. The continual stress of the negative urgency will lead to burn-out and cynicism – survival and avoiding punishment are not inspiring goals.
What distinguishes high-performance organisations is that they create a positive urgency for the strategic agenda. You have created your inspiring picture of your future, July 1st 2019. If you do nothing to advance your strategy today, do you realise that you have pushed that future back to July 2nd 2019?
Is this day’s delay real for you? Is it as real for your people as missing one day of fire-fighting?
This is the source of positive urgency – there is an inspiring future coming and you can take action right now to bring it closer.