One of the secrets to effective leadership is learning how to build a fire under people without burning them up, discouraging or disheartening them. Here are some wonderful ideas (from the “Leadership Freak” as he calls himself) in creating a sense of urgency in those you are leading
Originally posted by Dan Rockwell on May 20, 2014
Failure is the result of lack of urgency.
Comfortable rhythms set-in. People wander toward fuzzy goals. Focus becomes drifting.
Complacency drives real leaders crazy.
Goals without urgency are fantasies.
Fifteen indicators urgency has left the building:
- Customers irritate and outsiders are marginalized.
- Teams justify poor performance.
- Comfort is job one.
- Everyone tip-toes around important issues.
- Minimizing problems.
- Maximizing history.
- Protecting the bosses feelings.
- Meetings without action.
- “It’s not my job,” is the team’s motto.
- Leaders and managers remain distant and hands off.
- Deadlines are suggestions.
- OK is good enough.
- “Our system doesn’t allow us to do that,” is acceptable.
- Infighting prevails.
- Office politics rules.
Success requires urgency. Complacent teams are dead before they start.
Fifteen ways to generate urgency:
Urgency ignites with the feeling that you must solve this problem or seize this opportunity, now.
- Listen to outsiders. Insiders – who lack passion for customers – are complacent, already.
- Speak to their values. Generating urgency is about whats in them, not you.
- Ask, “What happens if we do nothing?”
- Point out current or future dangers.
- Burn the ships. Leaders who aren’t solving big problems are figureheads.
- Define next steps. Set someones hair on fire the next time a meeting ends without action items.
- Measure results. Ask for updates that have observable results.
- Keep asking about the same things.
- Shine the light on the boogeyman in the corner. Nothing gets done when leaders pretend everything’s OK.
- Celebrate a victory.
- Create a deadline.
- Set a goal.
- Visit a successful competitor.
- Honor young leaders who get things done.
- Transfer authority and responsibility from talkers to doers.
Bonus: Fire someone who drains the team’s energy.
Creating urgency is leadership’s urgent priority.
What urgency building strategies DON’T work?
What can you do today to generate urgency today?