“We are Not Prepared for This Pace of Change” – Insight from John Kotter, XLR8 (Accelerate)


What do we mean when we say that everything is changing?  And, that everything is changing faster than before…  maybe, much, much faster than before.?

And, maybe most importantly, what do we do about it?

xlr8-by-john-p.-kotterI am now fully immersed in reading (XLR8) Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World by John P. Kotter, my selection for the April 4 First Friday Book Synopsis. And, it deals with these issues. And, I am feeling just a little overwhelmed by the challenge presented…

There are some books that teach me new things, There are other books that help me understand what I may “know,” but have not quite been able to put into coherent thoughts.  In other words, there are books that help me with the “how do I make sense of this?” challenge.   This is one of those books. It really is helping me “make sense of this.”  Here are just a few excerpts from the book.  Read them carefully.

We are crossing a line into a territory with unpredictable turmoil and exponentially growing change—change for which we are not prepared.

Accelerate is about how to handle strategic challenges fast enough, with agility and creativity, to take advantage of windows of opportunity which open and shut more quickly today.

My conclusions as presented here are fundamental. The world is now changing at a rate at which the basic systems, structures, and cultures built over the past century cannot keep up with the demands being placed on them…

More is coming at us faster
In fact, it is very difficult to look at data and evidence from the field and come to any other conclusion than that our world will continue to accelerate, quite possibly at an increased rate.

If we don’t shift to a new way of operating, the consequences will be severe—for businesses, governments, economies, societies, and, ultimately, for the many billions of people living on our planet.

Strategy won’t operate only on a yearly cycle because opportunities and hazards don’t operate on a yearly cycle. Creation and implementation will start to blur as new data are discovered during implementation which immediately need to inform new creation.

What Mr. Kotter is saying is this:  change is coming faster; the pace of the change is accelerating; and the need for an entirely different organizational structure is now upon us.

Two specific lessons, so far from my reading:

#1 – the “yearly” strategy development cycle is simply not adequate in this faster-pace-of-change era.

#2 – And, no matter how well you plan, you have to adjust your plan constantly.  Quickly. Really quickly.

And I am learning something new in this book.  Mr. Kotter proposes a dual operating system that will provide a new way to deal with this era of Acceleration.  He states:  “although the dual system is a new idea, it is a manner of operating that has been hiding in plain sight for years.”

I will write more about this later.  In the meantime, check out the review of this book by Bob Morris at his web site. And, if you are in the DFW area on April 4, 2014, come join us at the First Friday Book Synopsis for my presentation. (Click here to register).

I think this is a genuinely important, valuable, useful book…

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