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Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World Hardcover – April 8, 2014

4 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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  • Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World
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Editorial Reviews


“A Top Shelf Best Business Book pick of the Year: Strategy” — strategy+business magazine

“One of the Best Leadership Books of the Year” — Inc.

About the Author

John P. Kotter is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School, and is widely regarded as the world’s foremost authority on leadership and change. In recent years Kotter and his firm, Kotter International, have helped numerous organizations, both public and private, build dual operating systems to drive growth and accelerate strategy. He predicts that such systems are the key to sustained success in the twenty-first century—for shareholders, customers, employees, and organizations across all industries and sectors. For more information visit kotterinternational.com/accelerate.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (April 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1625271743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1625271747
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Regarded by many as the authority on leadership and change, John P. Kotter is a New York Times best-selling author, award winning business and management thought leader, business entrepreneur, inspirational speaker and Harvard Professor. His ideas, books, speeches, and company, Kotter International, have helped mobilize people around the world to better lead organizations, and their own lives, in an era of increasingly rapid change.

Professor Kotter's MIT and Harvard education laid the foundation for his life long passion for educating, motivating and helping people. He became a member of the Harvard Business School faculty in 1972. By 1980, at the age of 33, Kotter was given tenure and a full Professorship - the youngest person ever to have received that award at the Business School. Over the past thirty years, his articles in The Harvard Business Review have sold more reprints than any of the hundreds of distinguished authors who have written for that publication during that time period. Most recently, his HBR article "Accelerate!", won the 2012 McKinsey Award for the world's most practical and groundbreaking thinking in the business/management arena. Today, he continues to deliver seminars in Harvard Business School's Executive Education Programs, which are sometimes regarded as life changing by his students.

Kotter has authored 18 books to date - twelve of them bestsellers. His books have reached millions, and have been printed in over 150 foreign language editions. Arguably his most popular book, Our Iceberg is Melting, was released in 2006. This New York Times bestseller helped launch to a large audience the 8-step philosophy behind Kotter International. Written as an allegory, it is a simple, yet unforgettable story about a group of penguins on a melting iceberg and the changes they undertake to survive and thrive amidst an unclear future. This story connects with a broad range of people needed to effect major organizational transformations in an easily understood, clear way. Kotter International aims to do the same. Dr. Kotter is the founder, and Head of Research at Kotter International. Other widely read books include "A Sense of Urgency", "The Heart of Change" and "Leading Change", which Time magazine selected in 2011 as one of the 25 most influential business management books ever written. Professor Kotter is currently working on writing his 19th book.

To supplement his books and expand on his ideas, Kotter has released several videos on his teachings, most of which are accessible to anyone interested in his work via YouTube. His "Succeeding in a Changing World" video was awarded Best Video Training Product of the Year by Training Media Review and also won a Telly Award. His YouTube videos have been watched by hundreds of thousands and continue to be a helpful tool for anyone from students to high-level executives in the business world.

Kotter's research and pursuits in education, business and writing over the past 35 years have earned the respect of his peers, helped transform organizations around the world, touched countless lives, and still inspires others to adopt his methods and spread the word. He continues to work tirelessly to achieve the goal of "millions leading, billions benefiting".

Professor Kotter is a proud father of two and resides in Cambridge, MA with his wife, Nancy Dearman.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have read all of John Kotter's books and reviewed most of them. In my opinion, no other business thinker in recent years has made a greater contribution to our understanding of what continues to be a highly competitive, tumultuous global marketplace. In his latest book, Accelerate, he explains how almost any organization can move quickly enough to stay ahead in "an age of tumultuous change and growing uncertainties." His focus is on how to handle strategic challenges fast enough, "with agility and creativity, to take advantage of windows of opportunity which open and shut more quickly."

What Kotter proposes is an appropriate, integrated, and coordinated balance of two quite different approaches to both perils and opportunities: the traditional management-driven hierarchy and the entrepreneurial innovation-driven network. As he explains, "What we need today is a powerful new element to address the challenges posed by mounting complexity and rapid change. The solution, which I have seen work astonishingly well, is a second system that is organized as a network - more like a start-up's solar system than a mature organization's Giza pyramid - that can create agility and speed. It powerfully complements rather than overburdens a more mature organization's hierarchy, thus freeing the latter to do what it's optimized to do."

Of special interest to me is his assertion that the best results of business initiatives are achieved with a "dual system." That is, one whose structure effectively coordinates traditional, stable hierarchy with an entrepreneurial, dynamic network. He believes - and I agree - that, with effective leadership, they are interdependent. Order, structure, and stability do not preclude experimentation, creativity, and innovation.
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The book is a well-argued case for the need for strategic agility in times of business turbulence. It has also an interesting concept of a 'dual operating system', namely an agile network-type of organizational structure working in concert with the traditional corporate hierarchy.

There are three reasons for my significant disappointment when I read the book: First, there is little new in this book, relative to what he has previously been saying, for example in 'Leading change', and relative to the thinking of other authors writing about related subjects. For example: the so-called 8 accelerators in 'Accelerate' are more or less exact copies of the 8 stages in major change, as postulated in his previous book 'Leading change'.

Second, I understand the whole concept of dual operating system to be in additional to the corporate hierarchy and not instead of the traditional corporate hierarchy. Then it would inevitably add complexity and gravity to an organization, which seems contrary to simplicity, agility, and flexibility. Would it not be better to build simplicity, agility and flexibility directly into the corporate hierarchy?

Third, the big thesis in this book is that this dual operating system is something different from traditional change projects, task forces, and strategic initiatives. That difference was not clear to me, rather the opposite, if one looks at for example the figure on p. 152.

That said, the book is clearly a must read for those belonging to his large group of dedicated followers. It is also an interesting entry point to Kotter's thinking for those having had limited previous exposure to it, though for those I would rather recommend for example his book 'Leading change'.
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Format: Hardcover
The pace of change in business is accelerating. New solutions, new demands, and new paradigms are arriving at a dizzying pace. You have the challenge of navigating in an ever changing landscape with fewer and fewer resources. Freeing up capacity for innovation across your organization is something you dream about.

Dr. John Kotter’s newest book, XLR8, paints a clear picture of how companies have successfully employed a dual operating model to accelerate transformational change initiatives - delivering business results in a world that requires constant adaptability to stay ahead.

I have witnessed both business acceleration and unleashed leadership at every level in my organization through the dual operating system detailed in XLR8. Initiatives successfully driven using this approach have a direct impact on improved employee productivity, have increased customer engagement, and have driven faster growth.

The proven model empowers employees to contribute across your organization in a way that adds capacity without adding headcount, increases innovation without creating new teams anchored in the hierarchy, and unleashes the passion of dedicated people who want to go above and beyond to grow your business faster.

Built on the strong foundation of decades of Dr. Kotter’s research and several bestselling titles that each contained key elements for successful transformational change, this book is the evolution of both research and practice, and showcases the principles and the 8 accelerators for change in a way that clearly articulates how change pioneers can implement the dual operating system successfully.

If you are ready to learn more about the key principles that make this approach successful, want to understand how a dual operating system can positively impact your business, or are looking for new ways to unleash the power of your teams – I recommend finding a comfortable chair and sitting down with XLR8.
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