Never allow a good sense of urgency go to waste.

Jason Yip
1 min readApr 3, 2024

“In successful change efforts, the first step is making sure sufficient people act with sufficient urgency — with on-your-toes behavior that looks for opportunities and problems, that energizes colleagues, that beams a sense of “let’s go.” Without enough urgency, large-scale change can become an exercise in pushing a gigantic boulder up a very tall mountain.

Kotter, John P.; Cohen, Dan S. The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations.

Creating a sense of urgency is the first step of the Kotter change model. Essentially a sense of urgency is necessary to overcome the inertia of the status quo and allow change.

A crisis creates a sense of urgency. From a change agent’s perspective, a crisis isn’t a problem; it’s an opportunity.

Very scientific chart showing the relationship between the level of crisis and the ease of creating a sense of urgency.

“Never allow a good crisis go to waste. It’s an opportunity to do the things you once thought were impossible.”

Rahm Emanuel

It’s hard creating a sense of urgency, so when one is given to you as part of a crisis, exploit it. Don’t argue about whether the crisis is overblown, use the free sense of urgency to facilitate the improvements that needed to be done anyway.



Jason Yip

Senior Manager Product Engineering at Grainger. Extreme Programming, Agile, Lean guy. Ex-Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl