If you’re a leader, you’re always worried about something, right?

Maybe it’s your competition? Perhaps you fret over inexorable margin squeeze. Or it could be the strength of your leadership team. You get the idea…and that’s the SHORT list!

Since every leader and every organization on the planet is facing the same “change monster,” they all end up in a frantic search to find “the answer.” A new strategy.  A new product.  A new wrinkle.  A new website.  A new something.

That search often ends in futility when proactive change appears to be impossible. At this point, the leader’s nagging worry and pessimism morph into full-blown complacency. I know it from first-hand experience as a CEO. It sneaks up on every leader.

Fair enough, but no leader wants to give up. So what can be done to stay out of that quicksand?

Manufacture URGENCY.

That’s the ultimatum left in its wake of our ChangeAge where normalcy is under siege and virtually every aspect of organizational life is changing before our eyes. It’s an ultimatum because lack of urgency is the silent assassin of opportunity.  Every day those opportunities slip away unnoticed in the night, never to return.


As I have asserted here, the primary reason an organization lacks urgency is COMPLACENCY.  I call it the Complacency Culprit, a phenomenon that is:

  • Almost always produced by SUCCESS.
  • Created by people who NEVER think they are complacent.
  • Common when the focus is on INTERNAL issues and external forces are ignored.
  • Apparent when trouble comes and the complacent people BLAME someone else.
  •  Assured when people FAKE urgency with a frenetic activity churn around unimportant minutia.
  • Evident when people are CONTENT with harmony, equilibrium, and their own personal security.


Don’t panic! There is a way out. Here are the five ways I have created urgency in my 25-year career as a CEO, leader, and strategist:


  • If real urgency doesn’t exist…CREATE it, no matter what it takes.
  • If a crisis appears, LEVERAGE it by turning the opportunity into urgency.
  • If something new must happen, REMOVE something old to make room.
  • If there’s a fixation on the past, INTERRUPT it by framing today through the lens of tomorrow.
  • If you want to create urgency, FLOOD the organization with information from the outside—the market, the community, the world—and shut down insular, internal thinking.


Try it…create urgency now!