And that’s the crux of the matter. Creating urgency is harder than Kotter’s theory would have you believe in his well-known book on the pull strategy. Kotter describes a situation of an iceberg melting and the penguins having to find another iceberg. But….how do you create urgency when it’s not a matter of life and death?
What if the target is 20% more turnover, or a 50% faster production process? Or, even trickier, the same work with X% fewer colleagues? How are you going to make that attractive for the employees? Is that even possible? Sticking to the pull strategy doesn’t often work out the way you hoped it would. The change manager inspires and motivates till he’s blue in the face, but the organization doesn’t budge.
The problem? It’s not urgent enough. That’s why we are often asked by managers, what on Earth they should do to make sure the change actually happens. The solution is often simple. First check to see if the change really needs to happen. Keep everything the same. The answer is nearly always a convincing: No! Then determine if more inspiration, more motivation, more explanation, would change anything. The answer is nearly always a reluctant, no.