After seeing several webinars promoting XLR8 by John P. Kotter, I bought the book.

Kotter begins by stressing the need for strategic agility in times of business turbulence, an idea which many can agree with.

The book adds a concept of a ‘dual operating system’: namely an agile network-type of organizational structure working in concert with the traditional corporate hierarchy. He points out that management (creating smooth operating systems) is not leadership (establishing direction, aligning and motivating people), Kotter proposes this ‘dual operating system’ that combines the two models and uses his 8 ‘Accelerators’ (which appear to be copies the 8 stages in major change, from his previous book ‘Leading change’.

Note: I did not find anything new in Kotter’s proposal – Clayton Christensen proposed separating new initiatives from the rest of the organization years ago, for exactly these same reasons, ref: HBR paper.

 

XLR8

What I don’t like about XLR8:
The concept of dual operating system is in additional to the corporate hierarchy and not “instead of” the traditional corporate hierarchy. The results would be added complexity, contrary to an approach of simplicity, agility, and flexibility. One wonders: would it not be better to build simplicity, agility and flexibility directly into the corporate structure rather than an ad-on?

What I liked about XLR8:
If you’ve not followed Kotter, I think it would be a good entry point into his thinking about change management. However, if you have already read his previous book, Leading Change, unfortunately you won’t find anything fresh or new here.