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Similar to Accelerate, I was expecting to write a table for each book detailing important points and actions I'd take for our internal Software Factory team. I've removed a bit of that, but decided to leave this formatting as-is to remind myself of the initial plans and how much they have changed.

  • Need? A new element is needed to address the challenges posed by mounting complexity & rapid
  • change. Large, slow, successful firms need to have a better approach to strategic agility for a faster moving world.
    • Young orgs (start-ups) are formed like 'networks.' Characteristics include opportunity seeking, risk taking, ALL agree and align the same vision; individuals are energized, move quickly & agility.
    • Old/mature orgs become 'necessary' hierarchies. Characteristics are driven by the orgs processes, planning, budgeting, job definitions, staffing & problem-solving. Challenges include: slowness, siloed, limited diversity (same individuals), slow information flow down & up.
  • Solution proposed?: DUAL OPERATING SYSTEM
    • Goal: Mobilize leadership & create speed & agility
    • Approach proposed: To establish a second system (working like a network - e.g. a start-ups 'solar system') to create speed and agility in a way that complements vs. overburdens a more mature org hierarchy.

Overall, a great book. It's unfortunate there is such a name collision between Accelerate and XLR8 because they both are really great and relevant to our team. Overall, it's about a single game-changing observation: organizations everywhere are struggling to keep up with the accelerating pace of change... let alone get ahead of it. It proposes the idea that you should have a dual operating system in the business. Let the traditional hierarchical side do what it does best: running the business day-to-day. Then let a separate network which is structured like a start-up (with appropriate ties back to the hierarchy) go after innovation and fast change. It's a solid idea and one that he develops convincingly throughout the book.

I think our transformation team has been structured at least partially in this style. I also think there are parallels in the Software Factory (although unknowingly) because it sits outside the traditional org chart and challenges.

The book is centered around 8 accelerators. I feel we should start trying to formalize these as early as our workshop next week. I'd be very supportive of moving our team to be even further structured like the book recommends.

  1. Create a Sense of Urgency Around a Big Opportunity
  2. Build and Evolve a Guiding Coalition (GC)
  3. Form a Change Vision and Strategic Initiatives
  4. Enlist a Volunteer Army
  5. Enable Action by Removing Barriers
  6. Generate (and celebrate) Short-Term Wins
  7. Sustain Acceleration
  8. Institute Change (back to the hierarchy)

More Notes

#NotesPotential Actions
1Don't discount the hierarchy.We need to not be so fast to discount the traditional business processes and hierarchy side. It works well at many things (HR, managing daily demands, building products, managing customers. It's just that we need the accelerator network to handle the things it doesn't handle well like identifying opportunities, or driving fast change.
2Start-up networks are very fast at changing and adapting, but fall over when the business gets big.What works is to have a dual system where you get both sets of benefits.
3The hierarchy works much like it would today with one exception: the innovation and strategic initiatives executed quickly get pushed over to the network side.This would be a large change to Rolls-Royce, but it might be the best way forward. not working outside the system, it is not a rogue operation, and it is not and informal organization. It is a fully approved, supported, and sanctioned way of doing some kinds of work.
5We need many people driving this important change, not just the usual few.This is important. We have people around who seem like they want change to happen, but we don't have a formalized way for everyone who is interested to get involved.
65-10%It seems like you only need 5-10% of the people in the hierarchy to be part of the volunteer army working on network items to make the system work smoothly. The fact that these people maintain their day jobs in the hierarchy and still help with accelerator tasks means even more benefits to the company.
7In this resource-constrained world, the incremental cost of this approach is almost zero.Its made of current employees who don't stop doing their day-to-day work. I've found this in the Software Factory. People will learn to code and build an app in their free time and wiggle time while still doing their normal day job... all because it's interesting and innovative.
8Best Practices are too slowTraditional hierarchy approaches to this like "best practices" and "lessons learned" are far too slow.
9To echo The Servant above...Management is not leadershipManagement is a set of well-known processes that help organizations produce reliable, efficient, and predictable results. Leadership needs to be about change. It's about setting a direction, creating a vision, and enabling people to move with energy and speed. It's about mobilizing people to jump into a better future.
10Both systems stay intact.If executed properly, this model has both sides of the business (left/hierarchy) and (right/accelerator network) coexisting in a dual operating arrangement that is totally organic.
11Most business start this wayUsually a start-up is more like a network... as it grows more hierarchy features are needed. Then the hierarchy slowly controls more and more resources and the network slowly dies. This is a standard path that the most successful businesses follow. It isn't actually a new thing, and usually businesses have this exact dual-operating model at some point in their lifespan.
12To succeed you need many more change-agents than you think.The usual hierarchy plans (task forces, executive sponsors, project tiger teams, etc.) won't cut it.
13Volunteers will do extra work.They'll do it because they feel passion for the work, and they'll do more than you can imagine... see number 7 above
14In the Network, project leads can be anyoneThe leaders of a project or initiative should be the people who have the best information, connections, motivations, and skills. Not the person with the highest position in the hierarchy
15A management-driven hierarchy will lean against change.This is especially true of a change as large as implementing a dual-operating model. To counteract this, you must create a strong sense of urgency all aligned around a Big Opportunity.
16Make visible and celebrate any successes you have.It's important to demonstrate movement in the network by claiming and communicating any wins, even small ones. This keeps a sense of movement in the direction of the Big Opportunity.
17Don't project manage the networkThe network works best when people don't try to project manage it. It is not carefully controlled, and there is likely no one in senior management who could list even 5% of what's going on. People might get nervous about it, but the system works.
18The network should use simple ideas and plansYou can grow a sense of resentment among employees if they are made to feel foolish by showing them documents which are too complex or detailed.
19Creating the Big Opportunity StatementIt should be short, rational, emotionally compelling, memorable, positive, authentic, clear, and aligned.
20Managers will worry about managing the networkThings like accountability, metrics, and compensation worries are not essential material in a strategy-accelerator network. It doesn't run the same way the hierarchy does and doesn't need to be managed the same way.
21As the world moves faster and faster, the hierarchy will also have to change.Strategy sessions can't be yearly, and top executives can't be the only change agents. Even businesses with accelerator networks will need to do a better job in the hierarchy to take advantage of the network's benefits. We need more eyes, ears, and hearts in the strategy game... not just a few senior managers.
heirarchy vs solar system

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