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

  • By: Erich R Bühler
  • Narrated by: Millian Quinteros
  • Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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

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

By: Erich R Bühler
Narrated by: Millian Quinteros
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Publisher's summary

Leading Exponential Change (Second Edition) unveils the secrets of enterprise Agility.

The way companies manage change has undergone dramatic shifts, and organizations have tried to adapt to relentless market innovations by using artificial intelligence, Big Data, the Scrum Framework, increasingly connected people, and new mind-sets such as Agile or Lean. But all these approaches have only established disruptive change as a new, relentless reality. 

In Leading Exponential Change, world-renowned consultant Erich R. Bühler shares the secrets that differentiate truly remarkable companies from those that fail to adapt to today’s constantly changing market conditions. 

During his years on the front lines, the author recognized that no two companies were the same - and that what worked in one enterprise might not work in another. He studied a wide range of organizations to determine the specific behaviors and mind-sets needed to embrace change.

One thing became clear: Human beings are not physiologically prepared for constant alterations in processes, roles, and ways of working. Realizing that a new approach was needed, Bühler developed a set of revolutionary principles and techniques to create responsive people and organizations that challenged traditional thinking (and many Agile concepts). 

Drawing on his experience as an international change consultant, the author takes you deep into why companies struggle to adapt even when they have the right people. He also analyzes the reasons some consultants face endless obstacles and resistance to change while others succeed. 

This ground-breaking book offers new foundations to help company leaders, managers, Agile consultants, HR representatives, mentors, and scrum masters become skilled at helping others to influence change. 

Here listeners find five types of Agility - including mental Agility and how to increase it! Bühler also explains two game-changing frameworks for increasing adaptability to change: The ELSA framework, ideal for environments where people welcome change, and DeLTA, which helps manage change in companies with hostile work environments. 

Drawing from years of experience and employing an easy-to-follow approach, Bühler also addresses the differences between Agile and enterprise/business Agility, explores what happens to the brain during change, explains methods for improving innovation, and teaches important concepts about organizational psychology and the neuroscience of change. 

Between the first and second editions, Bühler traveled around the world interviewing change consultants from different countries and cultures to verify which of his techniques had a positive impact and which ones needed to be improved. 

Bolstered by this new data, the second edition of Leading Exponential Change is packed with new paradigms, practices, ready-to-use tools, and real-life stories from the author and other industry-revered consultants specializing in innovation, human resources, and coaching. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

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

What listeners say about Leading Exponential Change: Go Beyond Agile and Scrum to Run Even Better Business Transformations

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From Agility to Exponentiality !

When I read about successful startups or unicorns, I always ask the same questions : how did they scale ? How did they go from 0 to 1 Million in a very short timescale ?

Unfortunately, common entrepreneurship books seem to focus more on the business side while agilists often emphasize the techniques and practices of iterative and incremental product development without diving into the details of how to ignite what Erich R Bühler calls exponential change in an organization.

In Leading Exponential Change, Bühler masterfully bridges the gap between different disciplines like product development, agile methods, organizational development, behavioral psychology and neuroscience to explain why should organizations care about shifting from a linear change approach to embrace the exponential change, and most importantly how they could achieve it.

The book offers not only a solid theoretical foundation for accelerating change in an organization and thus creating product and services that scale beyond the organization limits and constraints, but also a wealth of tools, techniques and methodologies to allow anyone to start making impact and contribute to their organization transformation.

The author starts by explaining what Exponential Change is and it's importance for modern organizations. Then, using a smart mix of science, real world stories and actionable advices, he guides the reader through a transformational journey of the organization.

I have really enjoyed the book and I found it had succeeded in offering the right balance between abstract concepts and ideas and detailed recommendations on how to use them in real world situations. I have particularly appreciated the chapters about Enterprise Social Systems and ELSA and DELTA frameworks for leading change initiatives in organizations.

I recommend this audiobook for business leaders, agile coaches, managers and anyone who wants to go beyond the benefits of agility. The narration is clear, well articulated and entertaining.

Malek KAZDAGHLI
Agile coach & practitioner

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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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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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Content is good but annoying narrator

I love the content so far but this guy’s voice makes it very hard for me to focus. I really don’t like his voice. At the end of every sentence, he sounds weird. It’s annoying. Please change the reader. Thanks.

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Good but repetitive

Overall the book was good. However, many times it would repeat the same thing and so I would sometimes zone out of listening to it and then have to repeat sections.

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Great Stuff

I will listen to this again and expand its use in my work. Easy to understand the simple common sense idea proven to work.

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awful, dont listen

just a horrible book about change as it provides no actual tools to manage change, this was more of an informational book telling people that change is going to happen and did not provide any examples the author was involved in. I attempted attempted look up the author and the authors website lists results the author was apart of, or how the author actually lead change. The author is a fraud and has never held a position outside of the company he founded. Google provides better information than this book.

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Important book for every change agent

This audio book is very interesting to hear. It has many tools that you can apply immediately, and it also has many real-world examples which makes it entertaining to hear. I particularly enjoyed the chapter about Enterprise Social Systems.

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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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