Friday, June 4, 2010

Lean Quote of the Day, June 4, 2010

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

Feel free to share some of your favorites here as well.

“Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there; they cause change. They motivate and inspire others to go in the right direction and they, along with everyone else, sacrifice to get there.” - John P. Kotter

In today's times the difference between urgency and change will result in either survival or liquidation.  Executives need to recognize the difference between the two. Urgency creates a motivating force on results and teaming. Change is imposed from above, the subject of skepticism and numerous Dilbert cartoons.

Every organization needs to change, that is commonly understood. We have become complacent in our approaches to change management.  Change has lost its potency. It's become routine and we have lost sight of its fundamental roots.

Kotter reminds us that the root of success involves a sense of urgency. Urgency is the highly positive and focused forces that give people the determination to move and win now.



Kotter says there are two kinds of urgency, good urgency vs bad urgency.  The good kind involves relentless focus on doing only those things that move the business forward in the marketplace and doing them right now. The bad kind is panic driven and characterized by breathless activity that winds up producing nothing demonstrably new.

Many organizations struggle to create the change necessary and many more of them can not sustain the gains of their change. True urgency is the most important precursor of real change.


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1 comment:

  1. You raise a great point Tim. I think the success of many organizations hinges on whether they can create a postive tension, a sense of urgency that drives the right kind of action. Even organizations that speak of needing a sense of urgency can use it as a whip towards short-termist ends. I've also noted a bit of "urgency fatigue" setting in these days with some leadership teams. Without the vision of a hopeful long-term path action based on urgency is hard to sustain indeed...

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