Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
A Sense of Urgency Hardcover – August 5, 2008
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
From Publishers Weekly
Author and international business consultant Kotter (Leading Change, Our Iceberg is Melting) returns with an engaging look at companies that need to overcome a lack of urgency-or a surfeit of complacency-with a proactive agenda. Kotter dissects well his seemingly simple premise, using his professional experiences to examine the inner workings of real companies. Kotter defines his terms with clear language and bullet lists, convincingly asserting that urgency "is not driven by a belief that... everything is a mess but, instead, that the world contains great opportunities and great hazards"; it is, in fact, "a compulsive determination to move, and win, now." Among suggested tactics: bring the outside world into overly insular work teams; make your deeds consistent with your words; view crises as potential opportunities; and disseminate data that "feels interesting, surprising, or dramatic," as opposed to "information so antiseptic that it flows in and out of short-term memory with great speed." Great examples illustrate real-life frustrations and successes, and a special section on dealing with the nay-sayers is full of practical ploys to overcome dissent and kill complacency.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Change can strike fear in the hearts and minds of businesspeople, whether frontline employee or C-suite executive. Harvard Business School professor Kotter is the master of change, hammering home his eight principles straightforwardly (Leading Change, 1996) and via fable (Our Iceberg Is Melting, 2006). Now Kotter identifies the single biggest factor to successful change, which also happens to be his number-one principle: creating a true sense of urgency. In a way that will resonate with those charged with carrying out new corporate strategies or implementing transformation, he details one streamlined strategy—appeal to the head and the heart—with four supporting tactics: bring the outside reality in, behave with true urgency every day, selectively look for upside possibilities in crises, and effectively confront what he calls the no-no’s. Stories accompany all; unfortunately, a number are repeats from The Heart of Change (2002) and stripped of detail for confidentiality. Charts and chapter summaries help connect theory to the practical question: How do we move people to act? An easy, quick read that provides good elucidation of what makes change work. --Barbara Jacobs
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book sort-of consists of three parts. The first chapter introduces the well-known 8-step kotter change method: 1) create a sense of urgency, 2) form a guiding team, 3) create a compelling vision, 4) communicate, 5) empower the people to change, 6) celebrate short wins, 7) don't give up, 8) make the change stick. This part summarizes the method and shares the latest insights on it from Kotter. It then expands on the first step, which is the topic of the rest of the book.
The second part has one chapter for each of the 4 tactics on how to create a sense of urgency. They are 1) bring the outside in, 2) behave with urgency every day, 3) find opportunities in crisis, 4) deal with the NoNos. To me, there was very little surprising content in this, it just summarized some practices. I didn't agree with all of them, especially the attitude of simply declaring a person a NoNo is not the most constructive way of managing change.
The last part is about sustaining the urgency and the next steps. It is the typical action chapter of a management book.
All in all, I found the book only mildly interesting. I find Kotter's change method a bit too ordered, structured and top-down. I've not ever experienced a true organizational change to go that way. Of course, it is only a model of what Kotter has seen in organization... but still... I'm not convinced that looking at change in that way is the best way to bring change. The new things in the book weren't particularly impressive and, as mentioned, the part about dealing with NoNos was highly disappointing. Yes, there are times you need to deal with people who obstruct change, but labeling them as obstructors is the least constructive thing I can imagine. All in all, an average book.
Focusing on changing an organization's perspective outward, instilling and behaving with urgency at all times, finding opportunity in crisis and dealing with the negative nellies in any organization, Kotter takes the reader through a fairly well written and well organized set of approaches to combat complacency and instill urgency. His approaches range from light psychology to outright firing people, and after reading the book, you will be presented with a fairly large if not well discussed tool set for managing complacency and instilling urgency in an organization.
If you are a manager, you need to at least be aware of the elements of psychology that Kotter discusses in the book - particularity being able to separate skeptics from naysayers and overcoming organizational inertia in our self and others. Worth the quick read.
As a follow-up Kotter has written A Sense of Urgency. In this 2008 book he clearly makes his point in the six page preface and the first three chapters that take up 61 of the 196 total pages of primary text. That is all you need to read to benefit from his VIP's [short for very important points].
Here are some of the VIP's:
*The single biggest error people make when they try to craft change is they do not "create a high enough sense of urgency among enough people to set the stage for making a challenging leap into some new direction." [viii]
*Our biggest challenge is complacency. "We underestimate its power and its prevalence." 
*Our second biggest challenge is a false sense of urgency. "A false sense of urgency is pervasive and insidious because people mistake activity for productivity." 
*To increase a true sense of urgency, "create action that is exceptionally alert, externally oriented, relentlessly aimed at winning, making some progress each and every day, and constantly purging low value-added activities--all by always focusing on the heart and not just the mind. 
To create a real sense of urgency I entreat you to go forward and do likewise. What is your first step to create a real sense of urgency in your congregation or other ministry setting?
Most recent customer reviews
I recommend this 1