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A Sense of Urgency Hardcover – August 5, 2008
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Item Weight : 13 ounces
- ISBN-10 : 1422179710
- ISBN-13 : 978-1422179710
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Hardcover : 208 pages
- Publisher : Harvard Business Press; 1st edition (August 5, 2008)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #130,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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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.
Top reviews from other countries
I found it inspiring stuff. Perhaps having the unabridged audio in the car for long journeys would have been better for me.
Would be good to limit people attending accident appointments when they could be allocated spar slots