Saturday, November 1, 2008

An Astonishing Lack of Urgency

John Kotter expresses what I've been sensing lately about the danger of complacency. In "An Astonishing Lack of Urgency (And What You Can Do About It)," he says,
True urgency is a set of emotions, a gut-level feeling that we need to get up every single day with total determination to do something to deal with those hazards and opportunities and make some progress, no matter how modest, and do so today.

The remainder of the column may be found at If we haven't already, I think that we who are in government must consider this right now. No matter where we're placed, there is something that is ours to do. Are we doing it?


  1. The complexity of a grave situation can prevent people from developing a sense of urgency. For example, the root causes of the current financial crisis are so complex and overlapping, people can reasonably worry that taking the action they have in mind could make things worse. When there's no clear path to take, it's natural--and sometimes smart--to stand still and do nothing while you get your bearings. Is the sense of urgency to do something always better than the sense of caution to do nothing?

  2. No, of course not! Here's another perspective:

    "Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive, the full consequences of which will be drawn out over many days to come, can only be taken as the result of animal spirits - a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities."
    (John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, 161-162)