Urgency & Momentum: don’t stop now
Urgency & Momentum: Great! you should feel very pleased with having gotten your business off the ground, but now you must maintain the urgency and momentum for the business startup. This is a major achievement in itself, but now is the very moment not to relax. if you don’t maintain a sense of urgency and continual momentum, all that planning will have been for nothing.
From my own experience, there are three natural consequences that follow Day One of the business: the first is fatigue, the second is discovering that doing is very different from planning, and the third is that the daily grind takes a lot of willpower and avoidance of complacency.
- Make sure the strategy is compelling—share it
- Be convincing about what you’re doing—win people over by telling a good story
- Go for incremental wins, you can’t eat an elephant in one bite
- Don’t loosen your grip—keep on top of progress/stay in touch with reality, and
- Follow-up and follow-through.
In his book, A Sense of Urgency, John Kotter, the well-known leadership professor at Harvard Business School offers four tactics for increasing a true sense of urgency:
- Bring the Outside in
- Behave with Urgency Every Day
- Find Opportunity in Crises
- Deal with the No-Nos.
In my long life I have observed the way that inside small businesses, internal events of little consequence have a tendency to become affairs of state and get in the way of urgency and momentum for the business startup. Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life? is the story of four characters living in a Maze who face unexpected change when they discover their “Cheese” has disappeared. Change happens inside and outside the business. Welcome it and appraise it quickly.
The trouble is that we often blithely expect the world to remain as it always was. Business introversion can be the biggest killer of all. We need to keep alive to the ways in which things are not working to use them as opportunities. However, we also need to be awake to the fact that though things are working, there may be seeds of failure in the future that we have not spotted.
Keep watching the radar, even when you can’t really be sure what you are looking for so that you can keep up the urgency and momentum for the business startup. Listen to the ‘messages on the street’. This something you can do by subscribing to relevant newsletters, doing web searches in your field, signing up for RSS feeds.
Manage yourself, staying both tight and loose:
- Use as good planner system, either paper or computer-based.
- Check up on yourself; set mini-goals.
- Listen to customers.
- Send people out and bring people in (a good Kotter tip).
- Trip yourself up! Put reminders on your phone or computer screen. I use Doomi1, a magic to-do list.
- Develop your time management skills.
- Find intriguing ways to remind your team of strategy and goals. Try my simple goal tracker.
- Choose a ‘buddy’ and set mutual agreements to remind each other.
- Do a little marketing every day.
- As Kotter also says, sometimes there’s a problem of success killing urgency.
- Keep balance in your life so that you don’t get into a rut.
- Remember that activity is no guarantee of effective urgency or momentum.
1. Doomi was designed from the ground up to stay out of your way and out of your browser. It has all the features you use, and none of the ones you don’t. Create, edit, set reminders, and keep archives of your old tasks.