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Leading Exponential Change: Go Beyond Agile and Scrum to Run Even Better Business Transformations

Narrated by: Millian Quinteros
Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The way change is managed in companies has changed.   

Over the past few years, organizations have tried to adapt to relentless market innovations using traditional or agile ways. Artificial intelligence, Big Data, short work cycles, increasingly connected people, and new mind-sets have made disruptive change the only ongoing thing.  

Many organizations have attempted to use frameworks such as Scrum, SAFe, and Less or mind-sets such as Lean, SixSigma, and Agile to cope with the new reality: The exponential acceleration of change is affecting everyone and everything. However, human beings are not physiologically prepared for constant alterations in processes, roles, and ways of working.   

As a result of this, experienced consultants find endless obstacles and great resistance when it comes to expanding new ideas or concepts to the rest of the organization (outside IT areas). Leading Exponential Change begins by showing that new techniques are required to manage change and explains extensively the differences between Agile and Enterprise/Business Agility.

The book gives birth to new paradigms, practices, and tools for change management, which allow from day one to seek new solutions. Additionally, it covers areas related to innovation, agile software development, psychology, Enterprise Agility, group management, and neuroscience to provide the listener with advanced techniques.  

Each chapter contains dozens of examples and real stories, and four independent consultants have included their stories to provide better insights.  

  • Carlton Nettleton, CST and Agile coach
  • Claudia Patricia Salas, expert in human resources
  • Sebastian Vettel, innovation expert
  • Stefan Sohnchen, Agile coach

Finally, this book offers two change frameworks to consultants who want to increase Enterprise Agility. The first one, ELSA, is oriented to friendly environments with people prone to change. The second, DeLTA, is designed to manage change in companies with hostile work environments.

©2018 Erich R. Bühler (P)2019 Erich R. Bühler

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Enterprise Agile masterpiece!

I really enjoyed Erich's book.
It is easy to understand and includes a lot of examples and viewpoints from different angles, industries and methodologies.

He starts saying that although we are facing exponential change in almost every field, most of the companies are still being managed in a traditional way. He adds that exponential change, at first is slow but then it grows at really high speed and that the best companies are not those that arrive first but the ones that learn faster.

Erich shows in clear terms the differences between "complexity" and "complicated". The first refers to uncertainty which we cannot control. The second refers to a high level of difficulty which is solved with technical capacity.

Additionally, the book shows that the linear thinking concept that gave companies time to adapt does not exist anymore. We currently live in a world of exponential change led by complexity and uncertainty and companies must be horizontal, flexible and decentralized enough to make decisions instantly.

A statement from the book that concerned me was that only 33% of the American workforce was engaged at work. Fortunately, Erich tell us that new companies are treating their employees as their greatest asset and leaders are realizing that change is a mandatory requirement for facing new challenges.

Finally, I would like to say that this book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the present and future of work, companies and management.

Agustin Varela - Agile Facilitator (@aguvar)

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Must read for Transformation Leads and Executives

A comprehensive, pragmatic & modern approach to Organizational change
~ Toby V Rao, Enterprise Agile Coach

There is a huge gap between how many organizations currently operate today and how they need to, in order to not just survive, but also thrive in the coming decade and that’s exactly what Erich R. Buhler's 'Leading Exponential Change' focuses on.

To be successful and survive, organizations need to constantly learn and adapt to changing realities and harness the benefits of broader business ecosystems. This book serves as an excellent, detailed and pragmatic guide to understand, plan, execute and lead Organizational change.

Leading Exponential change can be a very intimidating topic loaded with dry and theoretical information, but Eric has written this book in an engaging style, masterfully blend foundational theories with practical tools/tips, personal stories and real-life examples. The narration by Millian Quinteros is en Pointe with an engaging articulation style that is well-paced, making it easy to follow along during our daily long commute to work.

Bringing transformational change in an organization is a Herculean undertaking that involves all tiers of the organization and a zillion moving parts. The human and cultural side of change is often daunting and makes it challenging. This book provides readily usable tools, ideas and concepts based on Agile frameworks and scientific techniques.

Learning from this book is truly an enriching experience as it not only validates some of the challenges I have faced at organizations as an Agile Leader and an Enterprise Transformation Coach. The author has provided great tips, ideas and insights to help steer the transformation initiatives, stressing that change leaders have to inculcate Behavioral Guidelines for their Organization’s exponential change.

I appreciate the research and thought leadership that has gone into composing the comprehensive content of the book. I immensely enjoyed learning about the traps of linear thinking, distinguish Complicated from Complex, the power of Micro Habits and the science behind Neuroplasticity. Some additional tools I picked up were Robinson Crusoe technique, Perceptual position technique, Impact Mapping, A5 Canvas, ELSA framework etc.

If you are a leader or consultant looking for a comprehensive and practical guide to be ready for your organization’s upcoming business transformation – this is the book you just cannot miss. The scientific and agile techniques in this book helps in shaping a highly effective agile organization in a disruptive marketplace.

~ Toby V. Rao, Enterprise Agile Coach

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  • LeeT
  • Brisbane, Australia
  • 06-21-19

Simplicity does not precede complexity...

...but follows it.

Leading Exponential change is a must read for anyone currently working in an agile or digital transformation. It is suitable for team members, agile coaches, product owners and senior leaders alike.

It is a very well structured and thought out book, you may choose to read it end to end all at once or use it as a handy reference for any particular problem you may encounter along the way.

With current technology evolution is no longer linear or cumulative, so we need approaches to help people and organisations deal with what Erich describes as exponential change. Whilst this book leans on the foundational agile practices of scrum and kanban, it goes a lot further into exploring mindset, cultural change and how to achieve long lasting results. In short it creates a important link from technology to psychology.

I found this book enlightening and very enjoyable, it was easy to navigate and listen to and it logically introduces some great frameworks, tools and useful checklists. For example VUCA, ELSA and DeLTA and many more.

I look forward to trying to use (and reuse) some of the techniques suggested by the authour on my next assignment.

This book is highly recommended to anyone wishing to make their organisation a better and more enjoyable place to work.

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introduction into the state of mind of tue agility

First of all, to sum it up, as an experienced Coach for Agility, my verdict is this is a great book and well worth listening the 8 hours time. Erich Bühler presents an impressive, profound and comprehensive overview of the world of agility. Although most of what he is explaining wasn’t new to me, the book triggered a significant insight for me. While sharply distinguishing between illusionary change and real agility, Erich makes the point that any true transformation into agility essentially needs an exponential dynamic. This idea is building upon the Lean Startup model and is putting it in a broader context. One of many proofs of his healthy agile mindset is that he emphasises the importance of organisational simplification. Erich relates his arguments to findings from neuro science and this gives it a scientific flavor that will speak to left-brained people.
While the book is good Introduction into the world of agility for consultants coming from legacy methodologies such as Prince2, PMP or SAFe, Erich weaves strings together in a way that creates a potential learning for any reader, however seasoned she or he is. He arranges pieces of a great puzzle in an inspiring way.
The book is highly structured and very concise. It provides a reliable compass thru the state of mind of agility.
For people seeking advice, the book provides also detailed instruction for implementation. Also many readers can benefit from the trap patterns of illusionary agile adoptions described in the book. In summary, the book belongs in the shelf of any agilist and leader of a journey into true agility.

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Good starter on systems thinking for managers

Leading exponential change
This is a book for people wishing to understand how technology organizations work, and how to tweak them towards better results.
The book is not for beginners, but it’s not advanced either. Instead, it is a curation of many ideas from the fallacy of linear thought, systems thinking, some ideas from neuroscience, as well as ideas and practices developed by the author himself.
The first chapters demonstrate the non-linearity of how organizations operate, counter to common belief. For instance, the Kodak example is a great demonstration for this, and makes it well worth to read through the first, foundations, chapters.
The notion of changing the term ‘requirement’ to ‘hypothesis’ is good technique to avoid linear thinking and to promote exponential change by advocating more thinking and innovation within teams (rather than suggesting that managers have the better solutions).
Similarly, the notion that rationalism is overrated and empiricism is under-practiced is important to understand subsequent chapters.
The role of the facilitator as being uninvolved is critical, in my view. In particular in a VUCA world where the only constant thing is change, paraphrasing on Heraclitus. The quote: “It is impossible to find the shortest path to an unknown destination “ is wonderful, in my view.
In this context, the example of solving a math problem vs. finding ways to control the behaviors of six year olds is great.
Peter’s story is telling of the mindset shift towards the role of leading a transformation as an organization grows. Otherwise convergence, or preserving the status quo and instilled old values, occurs.
This reminds me of Craig Lerman’s laws of organizational change.

The book has many exercises and activities to try out in your organization.
Such, for example, are:
The Micro-habits exercises, especially in groups experiencing low motivation or resistance to change
The Drama Triangle, along with the cards game for meetings and the ted model. Both can be great exercises for a retrospective for gathering data and generating insight, respectively.
Explaining Reframing, along with the Robinson Crusoe and the Reframing exercises.

The chapters on forming and leading transformation teams are great.
Using Impact Maps for the transformation team is a great ideas.
Understanding the difference between transformation team lift-off and reset is also instrumental.
The suggested roles for the transformation team, being focused on the level of helpfulness rather than on subscribing to specific tasks (and creating un-constructive boundaries within the team) are also instrumental and eye-opening.
The A5 Canvas reminded me of OKRs, and I would love to learn more about what differentiates them. A reference for John Doerr would be helpful, in my view.
The KPIs section for a transformation team is also helpful and useful.

Some of the practical ideas in this book felt a little over-subscribed to me. Such is the exercise to create a shared vision. There are dozens of ways for that, and it would serve the reader more to add references to other exercises.

The chapters on enterprise social agility including enterprise social density, permission to learn index, the Farmers Market, enterprise social visibility and the Boston Consulting Group complication-complexity index are great tools for understanding and shaping organizations.
And, finally, the last chapter on ELSA and Delta frameworks is also instrumental for bringing a transformation team’s work to life, with practical tools to oversee the transformation stages.
The last exercise on social systems game is nice, and resembles Tova Averbuch’s Organizational Kaleidoscope

Overall, there are some great ideas and principles described in this book. With the format of the audiobook, I would love to see a cheatsheet in the form of a PDF companion, as frequently done in books of similar nature.

What I didn’t like about this book? (or why not 4 star rating?):
The book is sprinkled with inaccuracies and dogma that, for me, made the listening hard, on the verge of painful.
This includes anecdotal errors, such as that the perfection game was developed by Jim and Michelle McCarthy (not by Bob Marshall).
Worse, some schools of thought are being diminished or belittled through comparison to ideas presented in this book. Two prominent examples for this are viewing Large Scale Scrum (LeSS) as a framework for product planning and not for deeper levels is, in my view, a gross misunderstanding of the LeSS framework. LeSS principles are derived from Systems Thinking, Queuing Theory, Lean Thinking, Empirical Process Control and more, much like this book. Diminishing the core values and principles of LeSS in unfair, in my view. I guess that advocates of other holistic frameworks mentioned in this book as having lesser merit will share similar experiences.
The distinction between agile and business agility is also non-constructive. Agile is a school of thought, derived from a set of values and principles, and, as such, business agility is a subset of being agile. I would understand, not agree, with this distinction, if this was compared specifically to agile software development, and not with being agile in the larger sense.
Finally, referring to Psychological Ownership as being ignored until 2001 is, in the least, unfair to scores of ideas and empirical work conducted in the many decades prior to 2001. Ignoring the work of Peter Drucker, Wilfred Bion, S.H Foulkes, Eric Trist, Eric Miller, to name a mere few that published their discoveries as early as the 1930s and 1940s, is almost irresponsible, in my view. More recent works of Takeuchi and Nonaka, for example, on learning organizations is also undermined by suggesting that the world became enlightened only after year 2000.

So why listen to this audio book? (Or, if you read that far, why not 2 star rating?)
A couple of weeks or so after finished listening to the book, I still find myself recalling and referring to examples from the book.
The effects of the parts that I didn’t like are waring off, and the effects of the parts that I like remain useful to me.

Final word:
A good book for an experienced Scrum Master or otherwise leader in an organization wishing to expand her horizons to understanding organizations.
However, the book might feel frustrating for someone who has a number of books on similar frames of thought due to its dogmatic approach.

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Outstanding Resource for Agile Change Leaders

This is one of my favorite change leadership books especially in the context of helping digital organizations navigate an agile transformation. Erich opens his book with a discussion of exponential acceleration and moves to numerous concepts such as empiricism, organizational health, and an exponential mindset. While not explicitly mentioned, he further provides compelling arguments supporting the theory of social construction of technology and how it impacts digital companies. He also includes sufficient discussion of the deeper factors of organizational change such as conflict, emotions, preparation, and resistance. Given my agile coaching specialization and past research into socio-psychological effects of Scrum, I especially liked his strong focus on people and the discussions around behaviors, neuroscience, and psychology. Overall, Erich’s book is unequalled in its breadth and nice balance of theory, models, and techniques to lead change. Just a few of my favorite takeaways include the SCARF model, the deep dive into enterprise social systems, and the ELSA and DeLTA frameworks. This book has my highest recommendation for change leader anywhere.

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  • Kim
  • Pampai, New Mexico
  • 06-12-19

Neuro-sci-backed Lots of Practical Change Know How

Like Yin to the Yang of change management approaches and separations between process and empiricism, I hold in high regard and laud Erich Bühler’s Leading Exponential Change: embrace of new approaches as our gateway to the new era of exponential change. Erich takes change professionals on a journey of tool and method discovery, guiding them with a series of neuro science-backed approaches and ideas. This is a great book to enlighten the change driven mind to shift it away from the old linear ways of adopting change and move it towards adoption of change at an exponential rate. He bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and purposeful application by teaching change consultants with Agile mindsets of all types how to turn scarce resources and knowledge into exponential business value. Along the way practical advice on culture, governance, process, motivation, and other directives will inspire the reader to think outside the box and build the creative muscles that hold the key to contagious outcomes. ~Matt Kirilov

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Unmissable Book

Leading Exponential Change is an indispensable book for any change agent, especially Managers and Coaches who are thinking on start a change strategy in their organizations or in their clients, as well as for all those who have been faced failures in their change management strategies. It’s a book full of experiences and very good techniques and practices to carry out from day 1. The connections to Neuroscience, psychology of thought, and the links to the Agile philosophy, are essential complements to understand the foundations of a successful change process, learning how to make it exponential and begin to be initiators of successful change strategies. In the same way, the micro habits shows how continuous improvement leverage lasting changes in the long term. Definitely Leading Exponential Change is a book that can not be missing in your library.

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Innovative ideas to make sustained change happens

In these times where the digital transformation is changing how to do business in a volatile, uncertainty, complex and ambiguous world, Erich provides insights on how micro-habits and simple changes have the potential to impact on the organizational culture significantly to achieve the business goals.

The author shows why Agile is much more than Scrum and Kanban, and how different methodologies should be used based on the company situation.

This well-written book has given me guidelines and frameworks to implement now and set my team up for success in a moment of constant changes. The real cases exposed here are not only examples of how the change happens, but also they are inspiring.

Leading Exponential Change is a must-read book for leaders who need to deal with transformation changes, as well as for individual contributors who want to be part of change initiatives in their organizations.

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  • Rob Annis
  • 06-23-19

Essential, exponential change

This book is an achievement that has genuinely surprised me, I met Erich for the first time at a conference in Portugal that we were both speaking at and it was immediately obvious that he's very talented. However, this book is of a depth and standard that has impressed me deeply - as an indicator, I am already planning to buy it in print format so that I can use it as reference guide in the future.

As a consultant working with companies to help them change, I am effectively a change agent; this book is a guide as to how AND why people and organisation will need to change to survive. It is based in the real world, not in theory, with examples and explanations that can be seen and tested. Each chapter lists defined steps and approaches. So much from this book has stuck with me; in fact, just the other day I was explaining to a business leader why his approach to a problem was appropriate for a complicated problem but completely unsuited to a complex issue and that the problem he was facing was complex and so his approach would not succeed. Once we had discussed it and he understood, it was easy to agree a new plan. This is one tiny example of things I learnt from reading this - needless to say, he'll be buying this book.

I am very impressed with this book and I believe I will be using it again and again to help my clients and their growth into the next decade - excellent work Erich and thank you.

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  • David Cuesta
  • 06-23-19

Focus on what’s important

There are many learnings in this book, but what really caught my attention was to pay attention at people’s feelings and how a companies deal with conflict, we use to underestimate it. Great learning

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  • Karin Groissenberger
  • 06-19-19

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Is this Audiobook the right choice for you?

Do you want to know what is meant by exponential change and how to deal with it?
Are you interested in learning about how change works in organisations?
Have you already knowledge about Change Management and want to expand this knowledge?
Are you someone who wants to transform (resp. effectuate) your/an organisation?
If you can answer one of the questions above with yes, this audiobook definitely adds value and is well worth the investment.

About the book:

The book is very well written and Millian Quinteros is a good and fluent narrator that I liked to listen to.

It is well structured.
Apart from the start, the chapters are not entirely dependable on each other which means that you can chose which chapters are most interesting for you.
My approach was to listen to the book as intended.
Each chapter refers to at least one relatable real life example that is used as a reference for the following scientific explanations.
At the end of each chapter there is a summary with the key learning objectives and questions for yourselves.
My recommendation is to always keep something near you to take notes, when listening to the book.
There are lots of lists, which I personally love because I am a list person, yet sometimes it tends to get in the way of the flow of the audio version of the book.
There were several parts of the audiobook, that I listened to for 3-4 times to get the whole picture and to chose what is important for me to write down for future reference.
It has proven helpful to dedicate enough time to listen to a whole chapter at once with some time in between to process the mount of information.

Content:
As the title says the focus of the book is not on agile methods but on change itself.
It explains in a comprehensible way the what, why and how of business transformations lined with psychological and scientific research knowhow.
As a Change Agent and Scrum Master there were some parts that are common knowledge today, yet are really essential to know if you just start to learn about this topic.
For example:
Why do you want/need to change
The importance of company culture and values (which is really important and connects everything)
Employee commitment and the human factor
Agile/Scrum Knowledge (e.g. difference between complicated and complex scenarios)

Beyond those topics there was a lot to learn and gain from this audiobook and I really enjoyed it.

I subtracted 1 star on story and overall performance for the above mentioned reasons.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-16-19

Digital & human side of 'Exponential Change'

Change is no more a guarantee for success rather a requirement for survival. This book covers both the digital & human side of 'exponential change' and help us shape a well-informed perspective.

Author gave us an integrated framework to plug in experience and expertise from several domains - digital, leadership, neuroscience, people management, agile, change management - to make clear sense of organizations, businesses and surroundings. The state of 'exponential' when attached to businesses disrupt the business models and mental models we are used to for centuries. It then requires new thinking patterns, mental models, behaviors, ways of interactions, skillsets, business models and organization design to thrive. To lead the wave of 'exponential change' leaders have to understand those levers and how to pull them. This work explains it with industry examples and analogies.

This book is highly recommended for entrepreneurs, leaders and practitioners who want to see through evolving complexity, frame right questions, deliver exponential business growth and build strong foundation to sustain it.

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  • Joanna Koprowicz
  • 06-15-19

Go-to book for any Change Agent.

A practical guidebook for anybody leading or supporting a transformation within their organization. It provides a truly holistic view to this extremely complex topic of organizational transformation. Erich combines various theories from agile, psychology, neuroscience, linguistics and sociology in an integral and very practical approach.
It is definitely packed with many helpful tips, useful techniques and 2 change frameworks. It’s very actionable.
The book is well written and structured. Information provided it’s easy to understand and digest. Erich backs up each story with real-life examples from numerous companies, which makes it more relevant and credible.
Great learning!
 

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  • John Coleman
  • 06-09-19

A broad and deep journey through people and change that to my mind is broadly accurate and comprehensive

I love the thinking the leads Erich to the terms “exponential change” and “exponential organisations”. The content is comprehensive and is best supported by the physical book for reference, given there are many good pointers to remember. And I’m told that key levers such as the reduction of failure demand, optimizing flow and blowing away bottlenecks / constraints are better visualized in the physical book. Erich demonstrates a broad and deep approach to 21st century change, while at the same time providing starting points and two frameworks. Welcome to ELSA and delta!