The business world is changing ever more rapidly these days. If you see a need or a big opportunity but don’t act fast enough, the opportunity will pass or a competitor will get there before you do. Customers and opportunities don’t wait. If your startup culture doesn’t include a sense of urgency, your probabilities of long-term success are miniscule.
Some of you may remember MySpace, which came early to social media, but lost the lead to Facebook by evolving too slowly, many analysts say. Other examples often mentioned include Hashable and MapQuest. A sense of urgency won’t save a bad idea or the wrong team, but the good news is that it will fail faster, allowing people to move on quickly to more productive opportunities.
A culture of urgency does not mean a hyperactive reaction to the crisis of the moment. It does mean a proactive and ever-vigilant plan to keep moving forward with the market and stay ahead of competition, even if you must make your own products obsolete. As an advisor to entrepreneurs, I recommend the following practices to build and nurture an urgency culture: