4 Reasons Your Change Effort Lacks Urgency

Leading change is difficult work. Helping walk an organization through a transformation effort is a complex thing. There are lots of moving parts and a variety of ways the change could go sideways on you as you navigate it. One of those potential potholes on the path toward a desired change is when a leadership team, as well as the rest of the organization, lack a real sense of urgency about the change.

This urgency is really important, because any change effort or organizational shift requires the proactive, passionate, commitment of a lot of people and groups. While the urgency may have its genesis with just one or two folks who are the initial catalysts and proponents of the change, it eventually needs to be felt on a larger scale.

There could be a number of reasons that the urgency just isn’t there. Here are a few I’ve seen or heard about most often.

1. Leadership can underestimate how difficult it’s going to be to convince folks to rally around the change. Even though a change may make perfect sense in your mind, and perhaps even the minds of your leadership team, it may not resonate the same way with others across the organization. Others may think things are just fine the way they are, or perhaps they’d agree with you that a change is needed but think your solution is off base. There could be any number of reasons some people aren’t convinced (like lack of trust, for example), but it’s almost always going to be harder than you think.

2. Leadership thinks they’re better off or further along than they really are. Sometimes leaders are under the impression that things “aren’t that bad,” or that the organization is much closer to the desired state than it actually is. Again, this happens for any number of reasons. One possibility is that it can be difficult for leaders to say something needs to change, because that can feel an awful lot like you’re admitting that you might not have gotten everything right to this point. (Why else would you need to change?) It’s almost a tacit admission that you’re not perfect.

3. Leadership can be impatient. Change can be, and usually is, a lengthy process. Culture doesn’t shift overnight, or in a few weeks, or even in a couple of months. If leaders aren’t in it for the long haul, and don’t have the patient focus necessary, they can become distracted and move on to other things.

4. Leadership becomes overwhelmed by the possibility of failure and freezes up. This is related to the analysis paralysis we hear so much about. There are so many things that could potentially go wrong during a shift that it can be easy to feel like the best thing to do is nothing at all.

Do you sense a lack of urgency on your team? Is there a change effort within your organization that just seems to be stalled? Perhaps it’s because of one or more of the factors mentioned above.

Have you seen these in action? What happened? How’d you overcome it?

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Matt Monge

Matt Monge

Matt is a cancer survivor who’s dead set on making the world a better place by helping organizations be better places to work. He’s currently Chief Culture Officer at Mazuma Credit Union, and also does speaking and consulting work to help other organizations with culture, development, recruiting, and leadership. He has been recognized as one of Credit Union Times’ “Trailblazers 40 Below,” and has spoken at national conferences for CUNA and NAFCU in addition to other events. He has written articles for Training magazine, the Credit Union Times, the Credit Union Executives Society, is a contributor for CU Insight, and an editor for CU Water Cooler. He is also a Training magazine Top 125 Award winner. Matt is earning his Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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