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Ways To Generate and Keep Energy On Your Team

One of the secrets to effective leadership is learning how to build a fire under people without burning them up, discouraging or disheartening them.  Here are some wonderful ideas (from the “Leadership Freak” as he calls himself) in creating a sense of urgency in those you are leading

Originally posted by Dan Rockwell on May 20, 2014

Failure is the result of lack of urgency.

Comfortable rhythms set-in. People wander toward fuzzy goals. Focus becomes drifting.

Complacency drives real leaders crazy.

Goals without urgency are fantasies.

Fifteen indicators urgency has left the building:

  1. Customers irritate and outsiders are marginalized.
  2. Teams justify poor performance.
  3. Comfort is job one.
  4. Everyone tip-toes around important issues.
  5. Minimizing problems.
  6. Maximizing history.
  7. Protecting the bosses feelings.
  8. Meetings without action.
  9. “It’s not my job,” is the team’s motto.
  10. Leaders and managers remain distant and hands off.
  11. Deadlines are suggestions.
  12. OK is good enough.
  13. “Our system doesn’t allow us to do that,” is acceptable.
  14. Infighting prevails.
  15. Office politics rules.

Success requires urgency. Complacent teams are dead before they start.

Fifteen ways to generate urgency:

Urgency ignites with the feeling that you must solve this problem or seize this opportunity, now.

  1. Listen to outsiders. Insiders – who lack passion for customers – are complacent, already.
  2. Speak to their values. Generating urgency is about whats in them, not you.
  3. Ask, “What happens if we do nothing?”
  4. Point out current or future dangers.
  5. Burn the ships. Leaders who aren’t solving big problems are figureheads.
  6. Define next steps. Set someones hair on fire the next time a meeting ends without action items.
  7. Measure results. Ask for updates that have observable results.
  8. Keep asking about the same things.
  9. Shine the light on the boogeyman in the corner. Nothing gets done when leaders pretend everything’s OK.
  10. Celebrate a victory.
  11. Create a deadline.
  12. Set a goal.
  13. Visit a successful competitor.
  14. Honor young leaders who get things done.
  15. Transfer authority and responsibility from talkers to doers.

Bonus: Fire someone who drains the team’s energy.

Creating urgency is leadership’s urgent priority.

What urgency building strategies DON’T work?

What can you do today to generate urgency today?






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