Creating a sense of urgency

One of the first action steps in implementing change is to create a sense of urgency.  Employees need to be energized by a feeling that change is needed—now!  This is what creates the energy that empowers people to make a change and embrace the change as it is implemented.

Creating a sense of urgency does not need to be focused on averting a crisis.  Although there are countless examples of organizational change focused on preventing a corporate doom, not all change is dependent on an impending negative event.

A few examples of creating a sense of positive urgency include the following:

  • A new vision – A company wants to expand to meet new goals in the market (i.e. to develop the next generation of widgets).
  • Higher standards – A company plans to raise the bar for quality, production or price.
  • Better service – A company wants to improve the level of service or customer satisfaction.

Regardless of the method used, it should be done in a way that is palpable.  Make sure that employees cannot just see, but also feel the benefits of the change.

This can be done by providing real-life examples.  If it’s a change that improves the quality of the company’s products, spotlight a key customer or individual consumer and talk about the benefits to that customer.  If it’s a change that will reduce the time it takes to complete a process, highlight how the change impacts the bottom line and makes the people that are impacted by the change a part of the competitive advantage that the company has over others in the industry.

This can also be done by getting employees involved early in the change process.  Instead of keeping employees isolated from the process, engage them so that they can have a stake in the change process.