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Sense of Urgency

posted Jan 23, 2010, 10:15 AM by Jeremie Poutrin   [ updated Jan 24, 2010, 12:57 AM ]
Today, I was watching a few videos on Youtube when I ran into that one:

John Kotter explains that what he observed as being a key factor among successful projects was the creation of a Sense of Urgency.
He also said that this is not naturally created. That you have to keep it alive, because of the rate the world is changing. (Exponentially according to growth ratios)
I definitively agree with him because I observed that myself and read a few books and article, corroborating the fact that human-beings tend to relax when they are successful and that ego rises.

I also had a few long talks at the Open Agile Holland 2009 with project leaders, coach, senior IT people. And it became obvious to me that the key factor of people having initiated change successfully were the people having introduced that sense of urgency.

It also reminds me my experience in Prague at T-Mobile. I was in charge of deploying the product I developed. My product was complex but only one piece of a more complex system.
I was setting up the machine that was suppose to talk with the CRM(Customer relationship management) system of T-Mobile to authenticated mobile phones. I was strugglying configuring it. Nothing was working I checked everything twice, two times ;).
I asked the guy in charge of the CRM system if he did everything correctly on his side. He told me: "Yeah, everything is good, no doubt!"
I was about to lose faith in succeeding with my mission. After 2 days of hard work; being occupied in troubleshooting products of partners/competitors (our partner this day was also a competitor) who were not able to setup the connection with my machine.
Suddenly, I became certain that I did everything correctly and since the beginning. Then I decided to create a sense of urgency on the other side.
The guy called me back 10 minutes after to tell me: "Sorry, I didn't plugged the cable in...". I learned that the hard way this day.

For the last part, and also a little bit more prestigious than my story, I would like to talk about Philopoemen, Prince of Achaeans and great warlord. When he was not fighting, he still reflected about it, still being ready. He used to keep this sense of urgency alive. That's how he remained victorious as long as he was in charge of leading his army.