It’s often said: if we want real change, we need to feel a Sense of Urgency. It’s also the first step in the famous Leading Change Model of John Kotter.
When a 50 year old salesman is taken to hospital after a heart attack and immediately gets bypass surgery, the sense of urgency to quit smoking seems obvious.
But what about organizational change?
Sure, not doing a digital transformation or not focusing on innovation might get your company out of business, you know that, but it’s not something you feel right now. Maybe you know it rationally, because you read a lot or go to conferences or join inspiration tours, but is that enough to really feel a sense of urgency, the feeling that if you don’t change today, that it might be too late?
And if it’s already hard for company owners or for CEO’s to feel the urgency, what about employees? What would define their sense of urgency and how would they get to really feel it? After all, the impact of doing or not doing something is in the future, it’s not tangible, it’s not even sure yet.
In my experience, the sense of urgency is often dealt with lightly, in the sense that generic reasoning is used:
- We need to change to survive
- We need to stay ahead of competition
- The world is changing, we need to change as well
The reasons might be correct, but they are too generic. Employees will listen to it, at best agree by nodding their head and then return to their desk and continue doing the same thing as before.
Prototyping the future change
I saw a Ted Talk last night of futurist Anab Jain. She creates experiences where people can touch, see and feel the potential of the world we’re creating.
Why not do the same kind of prototyping the future to let people really touch, feel and see the difference between not changing and changing for the better?
At least, the sense of urgency should be concrete enough, preferably tangible in some way, and speak to our different senses. And that’s just the start.