How keenly is your organization aware of what's really going on externally? Think your front-line people know what's going on? Think your key people know? Do you know?
According to John Kotter, "The disconnect between what insiders see, feel and think, on the one hand, and external opportunities and hazards, on the other, can be astonishing at times–even in organizations that are producing very good short-term results (p. 67, A Sense of Urgency)."
That reality, what Kotter calls "the inside-outside disconnect," is pretty frightening. Or at least it should be. It comes into play primarily after some success; after some amount of winning takes place. A sense of accomplishment and even a healthy pride develops. And then the inside loses connection with the outside.
Is that a big problem? Only if you want to have impact on the outside! If you want to impact the outside and the inside-outside disconnect develops you will have to work hard to overcome it. Why will you have to work hard? Why doesn't it come naturally? The less connected the inside is with the outside the faster complacency grows. If a sense of urgency is step one in any change process, and complacency is the enemy of a sense of urgency…well, you can see where this is going.
How's your organization doing in this area? Concerned? Good…that's the first step. Next step? Help your organization reduce the inside-outside disconnect. Why? "An inside-outside disconnect always reduces an organization's sense of urgency (p. 67, A Sense of Urgency)."