Sense of Urgency in a Five Star World
By Hermann Elger General Manager, Montage Beverly Hills | April 14, 2013
The world has never moved more quickly than it does at this very moment, and we can certainly expect the pressure to grow. This increasing need for speed may be the only constant in an ever-changing world with distractions and various new obstacles in our way. The companies that succeed in today's economy will be those that can adjust their cultures from the contentment of the status quo to a sense of urgency. But how do we kick-start a sense of urgency? How do we communicate the need for change? How do we continue to fan the flames of urgency and avoid resting on the laurels of success? We will explore the ways in which to react to this stark reality, and how to propel ourselves from a state of inertia into one of perpetual motion.
Sense of urgency is an unrelenting push for results, or identifying matters of pressing importance and acting upon them immediately. This differs from being quick or hurried. So often we are busy checking tasks off a list without accomplishing true results, this can lead to burnout. Urgency is critical to a thriving organization; it must be practiced and maintained over time since it is not the natural state of affairs. Since complacency is more likely the norm, those who place an urgent focus on what is important will rise above the fray to set their product apart from the competition.
The world runs on a series of deadlines built to produce extraordinary results that we may unknowingly take for granted. Federal Express, airline boarding times, and the two minute warning in football that challenges players and coaches to make every moment count; all of these stimulate an immediate call to action to produce the desired result. Even milk, eggs, butter, and cheese all have such short shelf lives that we must use them before their expiration dates or they perish forever. These all use deadlines to create action, responsibility, and a sense of urgency.
In the luxury hospitality market, deadlines create a sense of urgency whether imposed by our own strict standards or the discerning needs of our guests. Check out times, dining reservations, turndown service, and minutes quoted by room service are all designed to meet guests' satisfaction. When practiced with a sense of urgency, our intention is to exceed the guests' expectations.
In this time of fierce competition, every hotelier must demand more from their team and lead with a sense of urgency. But how do you infuse that passion into the drives of those around you? In his book, A Sense of Urgency, John Kotter establishes that urgency is not the frenetic handling of tasks or emergencies, but a sequence of proactive behaviors, including the following six points:
1. Behaving with urgency every day - Always demonstrate your own sense of
urgency in meetings, interactions, memos and e-mail, and do so as visibly as
possible to as many people as possible. You are the role model for everyone
in your organization. If your tone or actions lack urgency, it percolates
quickly to everyone, and you reap what you sow.