Leadership Podcast: Institutionalizing Urgency, Part 1

Thank you for joining the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast! In this episode, Craig will discuss the importance of urgency in success. The greatest threat to future success is current success. Success feeds pride, and pride kills urgency: nothing fails like success. In many organizations, urgency is not the default mode—complacency is. The problem with complacency is it’s difficult to see in the mirror. It’s time to declare war on complacency and embrace urgency. You cannot change what you are willing to tolerate.

There are three factors that contribute to sustained urgency. Think of it with this equation:

Outside opposition + Divine calling + Limited time = Sustained urgency

There are four steps to institutionalize urgency in your culture. We’ll discuss two of them in this podcast, and we’ll break down the last two in Episode 9.

  • Embody healthy skepticism. All success is temporary. What works today may not work tomorrow. You need to have both faith and fear when you take risks.
  • Attack, don’t yak. As your organization grows, movement naturally slows. As an organization ages, it moves from a bias for action to a bias for discussion. It’s important to lead with a bias for action. The goal is not activity; the goal is productivity.

Remember, you don’t have to know it all to be a great leader! Be yourself. People would rather follow a leader who is always real than one who is always right.


Here's an exercise you can do to grow as a leader—ask your team these questions:

  1. What are five forces that could significantly and negatively impact your organization? What should that change about how you are leading?
  2. What are two things that you have considered doing that you’ve continued to procrastinate? Either commit to move toward your ideas or cross them off your list of dreams.
  3. What are you doing that is “busy” work but not “productive” work? What do you need to change about what you are doing to get the desired result?


I’d really love to hear how you sharpened your leadership skills early in your career when you were balancing the stresses and joys of life with young children.

Now, I'm balancing the stresses and joys of life with older children. It's still that way. I attend conferences to learn how people think. I try to take dead time and make it productive time—I'm listening to books and podcasts while I drive or work out. I'm reading books with groups, because you never want to grow alone as a leader, you always want to take people with you. I'm putting myself in uncomfortable places and attempting things I've never tried before. I seek mentors and teach leadership. I try to add one discipline to my life every year. That's been anything from journaling to planning days specifically or positive declarations. You don’t grow accidentally; you only grow intentionally.

What is something you do now, that you wish you would have done at the age of 20?

One thing for me is journaling. I also think back and wish I would have enjoyed the ride. Sometimes I became so intense I didn’t see the blessings along the way. And finally, I would have thought longer-term. Whenever I think about things I can do now, I ask myself, Can I multiply that number by 10? If I want to reach 100 people, how can I reach 1,000? A mentor once told me, “You’ll very likely overestimate what you can do in the short run, and underestimate what you can do over a lifetime of faithfulness.”

Have a question for Craig? Email him at leadership@life.church.