At a meeting to talk about both a big program to magnify innovation and cleanup efforts after a fire in one of your plants, you know which topic occupies most of the conversation.
John Kotter, Accelerate (XLR8): Building Strategic Ability for a Faster Moving World
It really is no contest. When there is a fire to put out, nothing else much gets done. There is simply no time for long-term strategic thinking or innovation planning to be conducted in the midst of putting out a fire.
So, because there really is always some kind of fire to put out, John Kotter recommends – strongly recommends! – a dual operating system for this volatile, fast-changing era. (I wrote about this in this blog post).
So, I presented my synopsis of Accelerate at the April, 2014 First Friday Book Synopsis. One of our long-time participants at our event is Bronwyn Allen, President of High Profile. You know those dynamic, great, high-energy, engaging-personality leaders you hear about? Yep – that’s Bronwyn. And she has pretty much put together a company that is equally dynamic, great, high-energy, so very engaging.
She is not only all of that – she is also smart. And she hires smart people. And she and one other staff member attended our event that month, heard me present my synopsis of Accelerate, and went back to the company asking “so what do we do about this?
Now, I’m not going to lie, to you, or to myself. I work hard on my book synopsis presentations (and, my other presentations). But, I suspect — and I have good reason to suspect — that the average audience member listens, “learns” a little of the content of what I have to say, and then, they do practically nothing with with what they have “learned.” Which, as we all realize, means that they have not really learned much at all, have they?
But this time, something clicked. Bronwyn and her staff got together, acknowledged that they desire to always stay ahead of the game, or they run the risk of being left behind, And, they acknowledged that the change – the disruptive change; the disruptive, technology change – will come at them faster and faster, and they had better be ready…
So, they initiated an “Accelerate Group.” It is their attempt to implement Kotter’s “Dual Operating System” within their own company.
At the moment, the group is meeting monthly, using a pretty traditional approach – the old standard, the SWOT analysis – but, they are applying it specifically to the challenges they face in the midst of the accelerating world of change. “What is coming? What are they unprepared for – simply not ready for? How will they get ready before the crisis hits?” These are the issues they are raising, and preparing to answer.
Thus, they ask, and answer, and prepare… they are mapping out plans to be ready, and to keep moving forward.
The Accelerate Group is made up of carefully selected folks from each part of their company – one from each group within the company. And, its very existence has already added to the morale, and the hope, and the readiness throughout the company.
Pretty much like Kotter laid it out.
Now, this makes me think very highly of High Profile. And it gives me hope that people can read, and listen, and learn,… and do…
So, what have you changed, what have you implemented from what you’ve read or heard?
It may be time for you to convene your own “Accelerate Group.”