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That's Not How We Do It Here!

A Story About How Organizations Rise and Fall - and Can Rise Again

John P. Kotter, Holger Rathgeber

Publisher: Penguin, 2016 , 159 pages

ISBN: 978-0-241-25536-0

Keywords: Change Management


Toggle Synopsis

What's the worst thing you can hear when you have a good idea at work?

"That's not how we do it here!"

In their iconic bestseller Our Iceberg Is Melting, John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber used a simple fable about penguins to explain the process of leading people through major changes. Now, ten years later, they're back with another must-read story that will help any team or organization cope with their biggest challenges and turn them into exciting opportunities.

Once upon a time a clan of meerkats lived in the Kalahari, a region in southern Africa. After years of steady growth, a drought has sharply reduced the clan's resources, and deadly vulture attacks have increased. As things keep getting worse, the harmony of the clan is shattered. The executive team quarrels about possible solutions, and suggestions from frontline workers face a soul-crushing response: "That's not how we do it here!"

So Nadia, a bright and adventurous meerkat, hits the road in search of new ideas to help her troubled clan. She discovers a much smaller group that operates very differently, with much more teamwork and agility. These meerkats have developed innovative solutions to find food and evade the vultures. But not everything in this small clan is as perfect as it seems at first.

Can Nadia figure out how to combine the best of both worlds — a large, disciplined, well-managed clan and a small, informal, inspiring clan — before it's too late?

This book distills Kotter's decades of experience and award-winning research to reveal why organizations rise and fall, and how they can rise again in the face of adversity.

Table of Contents:

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  • Introduction

    • Nadia, the Creative One
    • Nicholas, Disciplined and Reliable
    • "You First Learn the Rules, Then..."

    • "How Could This Happen!!??"
    • Guarding from the Top of a Tree
    • Meeting, Measuring, Task Forces, Policies, Staffing, Planning...
    • The Final Straw

    • The Journey
    • A Very Different Way
    • Share-the-Food and Other Unusual Ideas
    • Circles Versus Squares, Want to Versus Have To

    • With Size Comes...
    • Finally the Rain Comes

    • The Big Opportunity
    • Trying to Explain
    • Urgency, Leadership, Volunteering, and Wins
  • Some Thoughts About the Rise and Fall (and Re-rise) of Organizations
  • Leadership and Management
  • Creating a Best-of-Both-Worlds Organization


That's Not How We Do It Here!

by Roland Buresund last modified 2016-07-04 15:29

Rating: ***** (OK)

Interesting in more ways than one! Today's executive seems to becoming so moronic, that s/he can only take in stories (or fables) at the seven to eight year level. This shouldn't detract from the subject matter, who is presented in a good and convincing way. Heck, I recognize a number of companies I have worked at in the story (and not in a good way).

Unfortunately, if we need to dumb the stories down to this level and not really make any new points, I despair of the management profession.

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