Friday, February 27, 2009

A Sense of Urgency...

The West Michigan District Board of Administration met yesterday and part of our meeting was invested in working through Kotter's new book, A Sense of Urgency. No organization on the planet should have a great sense of urgency than the church, yet our denominational statistics reveal that 959 Wesleyan churches (56%) failed to grow by even one person in average attendance last year and 449 churches (26%) failed to report even one profession of faith. We're praying that God grips us with a renewed sense of urgency!

Here are the take-aways from the book:

URGENCY: a focused determination to win, and win as soon as possible!

“We are much too complacent and we don’t even know it.” (p.1)

“With complacency, no matter what people say, if you look at what they do it is clear that they are mostly content with the status quo.” (p.5)

“True urgency focuses on critical issues …. True urgency is driven by a deep determination to win, not anxiety about losing. With an attitude of true urgency, you try to accomplish something important every day… “ (p.6)

“People, who are determined to move and win, now, simply do not waste time or add stress by engaging in irrelevant or business-as-usual activities.” (p.9)

Create action that is exceptionally alert, externally oriented, relentlessly aimed at winning, making some progress each and every day, and constantly purging low value-added activities – all by always focusing on the heart and not just the mind. (pp.60-61)

The tactics:

1. Bring the Outside In

• Reconnect internal reality with external opportunities and hazards
• Bring in emotionally compelling data, people, video, sights and sounds

2. Behave with Urgency Every Day

• Never act content, anxious, or angry
• Demonstrate your own sense of urgency always in meetings, one-on-one interactions, memos, and e-mail and do so as visibly as possible to as many people as possible

3. Find Opportunity in Crises

• Always be alert to see if crises can be a friend, not just a dreadful enemy, in order to destroy complacency.
• Proceed with caution, and never be na├»ve, since crises can be deadly.

4. Deal with the NoNos

• Remove or neutralize all the relentless urgency-killers, people who are not skeptics but are determined to keep a group complacent or, if needed, to create destructive urgency

*** How high is the sense of urgency among the relevant people around you?