A Sense of Urgency

Front Cover
Harvard Business Press, 2008 - Business & Economics - 196 pages
8 Reviews
Most organizational change initiatives fail spectacularly (at worst) or deliver lukewarm results (at best). In his international bestseller Leading Change, John Kotter revealed why change is so hard, and provided an actionable, eight-step process for implementing successful transformations. The book became the change bible for managers worldwide.

Now, in A Sense of Urgency, Kotter shines the spotlight on the crucial first step in his framework: creating a sense of urgency by getting people to actually see and feel the need for change.

Why focus on urgency? Without it, any change effort is doomed. Kotter reveals the insidious nature of complacency in all its forms and guises.

In this exciting new book, Kotter explains:

How to go beyond "the business case" for change to overcome the fear and anger that can suppress urgency

Ways to ensure that your actions and behaviors -- not just your words -- communicate the need for change

How to keep fanning the flames of urgency even after your transformation effort has scored some early successes

Written in Kotter's signature no-nonsense style, this concise and authoritative guide helps you set the stage for leading a successful transformation in your company.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

A Sense of Urgency

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

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 ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This is a topic that I have often struggled with, so I was very happy to find this book at my favorite used bookstore. I've read a couple of Kotter's other books about Organizational Change and he does a great job of providing specific advice on what to do.
This book is a worthy successor as he breaks this down into 4 main themes: bring the outside in, demonstrate urgency in your work, take advantage of times of crisis, and effectively deal with those that fight urgency. He includes specific suggestions in each area with real-world examples.
What I like best was the discussion of what Kotter calls "false urgency", which is the frenetic, running around like it's doomsday, working 120 hours a week, screaming for everything to be done NOW mindset that we often call "urgency". He illustrates that true urgency is about identifying what is important and overcoming the obstacles to consistently move forward on those things. This includes stopping low-value work and meetings and delegating to allow time to focus.
Top-notch book and I recommend it to all professionals.

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

John P. Kotter is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. He is the Konosuke Matashusita Professor of Leadership at the Harvard Business School and was one of the youngest people in Harvard history to receive full professorship. Kotter's works include Power and Influence: Beyond Formal Authority, The Leadership Factor and Corporate Culture and Performance.

Bibliographic information