Why people feel different levels of urgency and proven tactics to bridge that gap

In change management, there exists a powerful methodology known as Kotter’s Eight-Step Process for Leading Change. At its core lies the crucial first step: “create a sense of urgency.” This step emphasizes the need to bridge gaps between real and experienced urgency, particularly between leadership and frontline employees. Organizations often face challenges when the necessity of change is not effectively communicated, leading to delays, resistance, and a lack of shared understanding. In this blog post, we explore the four gaps that can arise between real and experienced urgency and that can hinder successful organizational transformations. Strategic communications and change management can serve as crucial tools in bridging them and in conveying a collective sense of urgency to drive successful change initiatives.

Real vs. Experienced Sense of Urgency

The first gap arises between leadership and frontline employees, where a disconnect can exist between real and experienced urgency. For instance, leadership may have insights into future financial projections or transformation plans, while frontline employees remain unaware, leading to delayed or insufficient communication. This gap can be closed by embracing a timely strategic communication plan that effectively conveys the “why” of the transformation in an early stage, fostering a collective sense of urgency and commitment across all levels.

Skipping the 'Why' Phase

When change management support is brought in too late, organizations often neglect the crucial ‘why’ phase, rushing into the ‘what will change.’ Skipping this essential step can lead to resistance and misunderstanding among employees. By incorporating strategic communications early on, organizations can invest the necessary time and effort to articulate the vision and rationale behind the change, ensuring a smoother transition towards the ‘what’ phase.

Numbers Over Emotions

Communicating the necessity of the transformation without addressing employees’ emotions can create a significant gap in the sense of urgency. If messages focus solely on numbers and targets, they may fail to resonate with employees’ personal motivations (What’s in it for me). A strategic approach involves translating the external customers’ perspective into relatable terms, demonstrating the real impact of the change on individuals and the organization’s growth.

Varied Departmental Perspectives

Diverse departments within an organization may experience different levels of urgency for change. Customer-facing teams might see the necessity more clearly, while other units may not fully grasp the need for transformation. Strategic communications and change management can bridge this gap by harmonizing perspectives and fostering a shared understanding of the transformation’s significance for the customers, the entire organization, business growth, and its competitive edge.

Navigating the gaps in the sense of urgency requires a realistic and customer-centric approach. At No Gaps, we understand the significance of positioning the necessity for change from the perspective of the external customer, not just the management’s viewpoint. By communicating the vision and ambitions for growth and innovation, you can foster a collective sense of urgency. Embracing this customer-centric perspective helps employees see the tangible benefits of transformation and fuels their commitment to staying competitive in the ever-evolving business landscape.
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