Urgency is not frantic activity. Urgency is organizational nimbleness. Responsiveness. Agility. Simplicity. Purposefulness. Courage. “True urgency focuses on critical issues,” notes John Kotter. “Without a true sense of urgency any change effort is doomed.”1 This urgency must be felt by the whole organization, not just leadership. The enemies of urgency are complacency, bureaucracy, and crisis management. These arise from overconfidence in past performance, long intervals between decisions, and the desire, when face with a crisis, to return to the status quo. Leadership is about focusing on future performance, simplifying decision-making processes, and using crises as catalysts for creating something new.
1John Kotter (2008). A sense of urgency. Harvard Business School Publishing, p 6. See also his interview, “The importance of urgency,” YouTube video