Read That's Not How We Do It Here!: A Story about How Organizations Rise and Fall--and Can Rise Again by John P. Kotter Holger Rathgeber Online


The bestselling authors of Our Iceberg is Melting (more than one million sold) are back with their second business fable, this time on the eternal tensions of management vs leadership, planning vs spontaneity, big vs small. This short, full-color fable tackles the most fundamental questions in business: why do organizations rise and fall, and how can they rise again in theThe bestselling authors of Our Iceberg is Melting (more than one million sold) are back with their second business fable, this time on the eternal tensions of management vs leadership, planning vs spontaneity, big vs small. This short, full-color fable tackles the most fundamental questions in business: why do organizations rise and fall, and how can they rise again in the face of adversity? It distills decades of research by bestselling Harvard Business School professor and leadership consultant John Kotter.  Once upon a time there was a clan of meerkats living in the Kalahari, a warm and dry stretch of land in the southern part of the African continent. After years of easy growth for their clan, a drought sharply reduces their resources and enables dangerous new predators. The harmony of the clan is damaged as the meerkats quarrel about possible solutions, and even whether a solution is required at all. One young, bright, and adventurous worker, Nadia, sets out to find other clans, to see if other meerkats have fresh ideas that could help her struggling clan. She discovers a much smaller group that does things very differently, with much more flexibility and team spirit. But not everything in the new group is as perfect as it seems at first. And they are just as likely to fall victim to some of the most dangerous words in any organization: "That's not how we do it here."  This simple yet rich story will connect with a broad range of people who need to combine flexibility and systems in a challenging climate....

Title : That's Not How We Do It Here!: A Story about How Organizations Rise and Fall--and Can Rise Again
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780399563942
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 176 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

That's Not How We Do It Here!: A Story about How Organizations Rise and Fall--and Can Rise Again Reviews

  • Casey Wheeler
    2019-01-26 14:31

    I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of Net Galley and Penguin Group, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon and my review blog. In addition, I posted reviews to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.I requested this book because I have read all of John Kotter's books and found them thoughtful, informative and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed his (and Holger Ratheber) other animal group based book "Our Iceberg is Melting".This book did not disappoint in any way. The subtitle is clear about what the book is all about: A Story About How Organizations Rise and Fall - and Can Rise Again. In their first animal parable the authors used penguins. This time they used Meerkats searching for a better way for their colony to thrive and survive. I will not give away the story line, but I will say that they have a most interesting journey.In the last few chapters the authors discuss the differences between management and leadership and how they work together within an organization.I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in how organizations can thrive and also enjoys an entertaining read!

  • Frank Calberg
    2019-01-21 12:25

    3 extracts I found particularly useful:# 1: On page 51, I learned about the frustration of Nadia: I am tired of seeing some of us seeming to care only for ourselves. I am tired of listening to endless talk of who is to blame. I am tired of noone listening to those who have ideas to make things better that go beyond what you all seem to see as the best and only way. I am sick of watching those who want to help get pushed back into their place and told to shut up and wait for orders.Additional inspiration: 2: On page 75, I read about people in a new clan / group, who come together weekly to talk about what they stand for, who they want to be, and the central issues facing the group / clan.Additional inspiration:Questions to discover values people have: is the purpose? 3: On page 65, I read about the power of brainstorming. First, everyody develops ideas. Then, everybody votes on ideas they want to try out. Then people who want to help try out ideas say what they are going to do.Additional inspiration:

  • Carsten Hansen
    2019-02-11 08:22

    For fans of the Spencer Johnson ("Who Moved My Cheese") and Ken Blanchard ("One Minute Manager" and many others), this book is of a similar vein, particular with the former. We follow a fable based on the meerkat society of the Kalahari desert. Where a pair of meerkats, Nadia and Ayo leave their established group because of how it is being led, inflexibility and lack of new ideas to make things/life better for all. They run into several other group of meerkats, one completely dysfunctional and another one highly functional, but considerably smaller. They learn a lot of what works and what doesn't work as well. Eventually they return to their own original group to introduce what they have learned.The book is ultimately about the balance between management and leadership, why some organizations fail and others succeed, and how an organization can aim to fall into the latter group.While the book as a whole is enlightening and the story well-written, the meerkat part of the book is tad to lengthy. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book and its message.[The ARC for this review was generously provided by the publisher through Netgalley]

  • Bob Wallner
    2019-01-28 09:43

    Hakuna Matada - What can Timon the meerkat from The Lion King teach us about the cooperation between leadership and management...probably not much; however, in Dr. Kotter's book, a parable called "That's Not How We Do It Here!", he chronicles the lives of a colony of meerkat as they suffer newer and greater hardships, yet like many, insist on sticking to their traditional ways of doing things expecting their situation to change. Through the story, we follow the lives of two young meerkat as they leave the colony in search of a way to keep their colony alive under increasingly new hardships. Along the way they discover the advantages and the shortcomings of having only leaders and no managers. They discover the balance needed to not only survive but to prosper. This parable is a great way of communicating the need for a balance of leadership and management. The need to foster ideas while maintaining accountability. I was able to vision companies that I have worked with that relied on traditional command and control and I see where they are now. Companies who did not embrace the views of leaders but lead with carrot and stick right over the edge.I am a fan of the parable. I think they are a fun break and allow for great reflection. The only negative...The audiobook was very difficult to listen to. The reader had a strong accent, possibly Eastern European, that took some adjusting to get used to. Maybe it was intentional, but I found it terribly detracting and it lead to overall dissatisfaction of the book.

  • Darren
    2019-02-14 14:25

    Billed as a story about how organizations rise, fall and can rise again, this graphically rich book is presented in the form of a series of fables to underline its message.It is a simple device and one perhaps that you will either love or be at best ambivalent towards. For this reviewer it was the second of the two situations. It is by no means a bad book yet it just failed to engage; in the hands of another reader it could be entirely different. The authors believe that this will assist companies cope with challenges and bat them away into opportunities and explain this through the lens of a group of meerkats, their lives, their problems and how they met the challenges head-on.If you like the book and its format then its price is insignificant. However, if you are on the edge or uncertain it can be a costly investment to find you can’t stand it after a few pages. It might be worth looking out for it at a bookstore and seeing which way you swing. For this reviewer, the content and advice was just not so engaging, special or different to warrant the “trauma” of its cutey-storyville style. Different strokes for different folks…

  • Sumit Singla
    2019-01-19 12:52

    Usually, I like fables about leadership and management because they let you draw your own learnings without being preachy. Also, stories stick around longer in one's head than bullet points. However, this fable really goes nowhere. My only takeaway from the book was that meerkats are cute creatures and it is a pity that they get attacked by various predators.Broadly, the book tries to talk about two approaches through which organisations evolve:1. Having structures and hierarchies and trying to stay relevant by building innovation into them2. Coming together as collections of ideas/ideals and then trying to figure out the best possible structure to support.The overall discussion is on which one of these approaches is better, or whether both of them together are more useless or more useful. However, this book is nowhere close to the impactful storytelling of Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions

  • Adama
    2019-01-17 13:43

    Consisted but comprehensiveThus is the most concise and comprehensive book I've read about leadership and management in fast change context. The fable of the meerkats demonstrate that leadership and management are not a "neither ... or" . Organisations which are over managed and under led rise and fall. Equally organisations which are over led and under managed rise and fall. To succeed in question fast changing world, organisations must be both well led and well managed.This is my take away after reading this great book from Kotter and Rathgeber. A must read book for all managers and leaders.

  • Greg
    2019-01-22 14:23

    One of the best business books I've read so far this year, this one provides powerful lessons in a very engaging format. It uses fable to illustrate points which would have been boring for some if read through the usual prose.This book narrates the story of meerkats, the one I think is the specie of Timon in the movie the Lion King. The story is not related to The Lion King franchise but they both give life to ordinary animals to convey powerful messages. Anyhow, many will surely enjoy this book since the concepts are easier to understand and it impacts many organizations nowadays.

  • Heather Mores
    2019-02-14 10:36

    A cute sequel to Our Iceberg is Melting.

  • Matthew
    2019-01-21 11:42

    Most of this book (much like one of the author's previous books "Our Iceberg is Melting"), is written in the form of a fable. While I didn't necessarily enjoy following the story of a clan of meerkats, the application at the end, made the story worthwhile. Toward the end of the book, the author writes these words..."Management and leadership serve different functions: The first can get the regular work done well, reliable, and efficiently, even in exceptionally large and complex systems; the second can energize us, despite barriers, to innovate swiftly and propel us into a prosperous future, despite changing problems and opportunities. Management and leadership are not two ways to achieve the same end. They serve different ends, both of which are essential in complex organizations that operate in changing environments."In other words, instead of choosing between leadership and management of your employees or team, maybe there needs to be a healthy dose of both.

  • Kendra
    2019-02-12 15:36

    This is a great book for those who work in medium and large organizations where there is a struggle to balance structure with innovation and creativity. It is a parable based on meerkat clans in the Kalahari Desert; this style of writing may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed it and thought it provided a good illustration of the difference between leadership and management. I felt the parable did not quite provide enough in terms of describing how leadership and management can co-exist, but there is additional discussion at the end of the parable on this topic as well as a guideline for seizing opportunities for innovation within organizations.

  • Jane
    2019-01-28 15:35

    Otter and Rathgeber craft a cute but long-winded tale about two Meerkat communities, one of which runs on management and one on leadership. Guess what? To survive the colonies need both. How desperately they need each style depends on crisis and the rate of change. The story clearly illustrates the need for both, but...I think most readers would get the point from a story a third the length of this one and would be happier with more information on facilitating the needed discussions around identifying the adjustments and changes their specific organizations require—and how to get there.Thanks, Netgalley, for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • Toyin A
    2019-01-20 12:48

    ​This is a leadership and management book written as a fable of Meerkats building a community that faces trouble putting in measures to mitigate the issues that arise as a result of challenges and changes.John and Holger tell the story of this Meerkat community in such a way that the reader can see opportunities for innovation, changes and improvement.This book helps leader approach alternative ways to leverage the capabilities of their team in order to yield measurable outputs.Rating: 4/5Favourite Quote: “To understand how we can get better outcomes, we need to more clearly understand how organisations rise, whey they often eventually struggle no matter their past success, and why they can fall.”

  • Justin Hairston
    2019-01-20 13:44

    The central parable wasn't all that interesting on its own, but it allowed for several surprisingly revelatory insights. More than simple pop-management, and definitely a book I'll refer to (if passingly) in the future.

  • Piritta
    2019-01-25 15:45

    Hmm hmm. A meercat story as an audiobook. How does a meercat speak? There might have been deeper insights in the book and a lesson to learn and something about a two by two box drawings, but all I could think about was the choice of making the meercats sound like Finnish rally drivers.

  • Kathy Heare Watts
    2019-01-23 14:37

    I won a copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. I am paying it forward by passing this book along to a business organization that offers business skills, hope, and dreams to be used in their ministry.

  • L
    2019-02-07 13:25

    Another fable by Kotter. This one is about how organizations need to have leadership and management. No management, no leadership - doomedManagement with no leadership - well run but bureaucratic and unable to change quicklyLeadership with no management - Innovative, adaptive and energetic but chaoticLeadership and management - well run and innovative, adaptive and energeticThe story is essentially about a clan of meerkats who encounter challenging and changing environmental threats. After the protagonist surveys other groups for best practices, she brings home the idea of having innovation teams and giving them the freedom to implement the ideas for the betterment of all in the clan.

  • Bárbara
    2019-01-25 13:50

    A good book to understand how we can thrive in an environment that is constantly changing. It is easily read and clarifies the difference between management and leadership in a curious way.[Note: I have read the Portuguese version - 'O nosso deserto está a mudar'.]

  • Gabriela Fischmann
    2019-02-01 08:38

    Interesting idea on how to satisfy both the need for change and the need for management in bigger organizations.

  • Sarah Kaiser
    2019-01-17 11:27

    Love the fable format and it teaches why it's important to have organizations that are both good at leading and managing. Short read. Three hour audio book.

  • Nathalie Karasek
    2019-02-12 16:28

    Nice little book about how to find the sweet spot between bureaucracy and self organization ... making clear that we need both leadership and management

    2019-02-02 15:31

    The story discusses strategies to adopt for overcoming resistance to change and adopting innovation in teams and organisations sprinkled with lessons in leadership and management.

  • Don
    2019-02-09 15:47

    Teaching about organization change and development through parable.

  • Robin
    2019-02-15 16:29

    This is a story that uses clans of meerkats to explain different corporate structures, and the difference between managers and leaders. If you are not into analogies, you can skip to the back where the strategies are explained like any other business book, but I really enjoyed the meerkats aspect. It gives plenty of room to explain things while helping to make the points memorable. I recommend you pick up this short book and give it a read.The story starts with a meerkat, Nadia, getting promoted into a new job/ When she expresses nervousness to her brother and best friend, they each give her advice based on their positions within the clan. One is very much part of the structured chain, while the other has some ideas for his own job that he's trying to figure out how to communicate to his boss. This clan has strict rules and clear guidelines that everyone follows, for the clan's growth and safety.Because of some sudden environmental challenges, Nadia realizes the structured clan is slow to respond. She figures there must be another way and decides to learn how other clans address these challenges. She and her friend find other clans - some of which are growing, some dying off - before landing with a clan that makes decisions-by-committee. While this is intriguing and creates wonderful growth, this style also has some inherent problems.Nadia, however, sees the potential in what she's learned and heads home in hopes of creating some combination of systems that allow the clans to grow, be safe, and respond to environmental changes.The solution the authors create at the end of their book is not a simple system. This will not streamline your business. If you look past their closing summary - which I think just makes everything confusing and fussy - you can see the benefits and challenges in both clan systems, and the solution should be pretty obvious of combining them. But combining them will look different for every company which may be why their summary is so clunky. I think the real takeaway, from any discussion of business structure, is that everyone in the company should feel like they can contribute, and companies can benefit from listening. We all get tunnel vision with our jobs and how we go about doing them, so popping your head out of the sand to see things from a different perspective is always beneficial. See? Meerkats are great examples. It's hard to avoid the references after reading this book. I also recommend re-reading this periodically to remember to look around for new ways to do things.BTW: This is not a book on greening your company - environmental is used in my review as things that are happening because the meerkats live in the desert and face different predators based on wet seasons vs dry seasons. For those of us who are not burrowing in the Kalahari, substitute technological changes, regulatory policies, and competition. Are you prepared to handle such challenges to your business? I think you may find some tips in this book. I am sure you will remember the story of the meerkats.

  • Nita
    2019-02-11 08:38

    I like how Mr. John P. Kotter explained things in the most lightest way to visually state the situation through story. For me, I love this kind of book it gives me easy way approach to see things. I understand the message well. I agree with it that on any situation it needs to try new things, more options to check which is the best to use in more effective way.I hope to be get a chance to read more books from you. Thank you.

  • Lew Button
    2019-02-02 10:36

    That’s not how we do it here--John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber; Portfolio/Penguin Illustrated by Kari FryI have long been fascinated by last words and epitaphs on tombstones. As a pastor I often heard that the last words spoken by many church leaders was “We never did it that way before”. When I saw the title of John Kotter’s book I knew I had to read it. “That’s not how we do it here” may well be the epitaph of many churches and businesses. Of course this book is focused more on businesses and organizations than churches but I heard some familiar voices as the Meerkats of the Kalahari worked through or resisted the changes to their habitat.John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber use a style familiar to the readers of Our Iceberg is Melting by talking about organizations with a story. In this book meerkats are seen living life under harsh circumstances then seen facing even harsher circumstances when the dreaded vultures return. The book is well illustrated by Kari Fry.The rules put in place by the Alphas seemed to work when everything was normal (for a meerkat). They managed quite well but the organizational charts and squares were not adequate when change arrived—vultures, flood. Two meerkats go off to see if there is another way to survive.The authors state at the outset “We need more clarity about how a few (organizations) rise once again to grow, fulfill their mission, create new jobs and services and wealth It helps to see the role that discipline, planning, and efficiency play in these stories. And the role of passion, vision, engagement, speed, agility and culture. And there is the issue of management versus leadership—and the latter not just from a few people in corner offices”. The authors do not pit management against leadership but show first how they differ and then how managers and leaders can and should work together.There are some helpful charts giving some bullet points on steps to take but the reader can also be drawn into the power of story and make his/her mind up and set a direction for their organization to survive.I read though this book in several hours and found it engaging and helpful. Look out vultures I am ready.I received a copy of this book from with the understanding that I would read and review it. I recommend it for those who care about their organization and it will be good for pastors and churches too.

  • Louis Prosperi
    2019-02-08 13:45

    A clever parable that explores the relationship between management and leadership.This book tells the tale of a clan of meerkats in the Kalahari desert in Africa. The clan is very well organized and managed, with many rules, procedures, and policies for how to handle the clan's day to day activities. All is well until those rules, procedures, and policies fail to address changes in the environment (lack of rain and the arrival of vultures to name a couple). When a young creative meerkat named Nadia and her friends suggest new ideas for how to handle these changes, they are told "That's Not How We Do It Here." Frustrated with the uncompromising leadership of their clan, these creative meerkats leave the clan in search of new ideas. They eventually come across a smaller clan with barely any rules, procedures, and policies, and where teamwork is prominent and new ideas are welcomed. But as the clan grows, the lack of rules, procedures, and policies causes problems, and disaster strikes.Nadia then looks at how to combine the rules, procedures, and policies of her original clan and the less formal approaches of her new clan to find a solution to the problems facing both. Eventually she returns to her original clan to help its leadership change their approach to better adapt to the changes facing it.The story told in this book provides an excellent look at the differences between management and leadership, and how organizations need a balance of both to survive in the ever-changing business world. In particular, this story highlights how organizations can grow so attached to their own rules, procedures, and policies that any new ideas are rejected out of hand simply because "That's Not How We Do It Here." Following the parable and its happy ending, the last section of the book drops the meerkat analogy and describes the business principles explored in the parable, and outlines an eight step process for leading change (based on the work of the book's author).If you're a fan of business parables, such as "Our Iceberg is Melting" and "Who Moved My Cheese", I expect you'll like this book too.I recommend this book to anyone interested in management and leadership and how to combine balance the two.

  • Joe McFadden
    2019-01-18 14:46

    Full review here: really enjoyed this short book and would definitely recommend it to others. This book offers a lot of practical application for leadership both in business sectors and church leadership as well which is the aspect that I currently focus within.Perhaps all of us at some point have heard the expression voiced, "That's not how we do it here" or at least in some way or another it is said when ideas are expressed. This mentality kills creativity. Personally I lean more toward creative engagement and structures that are more decentralized and "free-thinking". I feel controlled and limited in high-control organizations and engage less creatively than in roles where I am given more autonomy. The high-control environments feel like "management" and for a long time this is a style of leading people that I do not respond well to or even enjoy. The more creative, free-thinking form is often called "leadership" and is highly visionary and more open to ideas but lacks structure and control which is often a good thing until faced with complexity.Most books I have read focus on one function or the other. Management through it's deadlines, agendas, organization and structure or leadership through it's vision, creativity, risk-taking, etc. Kotter does well to present a view that shows how these two styles of leading an organization can function together rather than competing against each other while showing the strengths of each. In a whimsical way by using Meerkats as an example in this book, Kotter does well to show how each of these styles of leading people has their weaknesses, while pointing toward a way that these functions can work together. It is a "both/and" scenario for how management and leadership can function together to provide the strengths of each while overcoming the weaknesses of each. I believe this is a concept that we will learn more about and see more information created on in the coming years.NOTE: I received a free copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

  • Mark Steed
    2019-02-14 11:51

    That's not how we do it here! is a fable which addresses the issue of how organisations and the individuals within them can respond to the present phenomenon of constant change. Whereas their previous fable, Our Iceberg is Melting, tackled the issue of how to lead change in a crisis situation, illustrating Kotter's eight step process for Leading Change; this book builds on Kotter's work in Accelerate XLR8. The essence of Kotter's argument here is that that established hierarchical managerial structures do not provide the agility for organisations to respond sufficiently quickly to the demands of the ever changing world of modern business. The fable is set in a Meerkat colony in the Kalahari Desert. Kotter first presents us with an established colony which has rigid leadership and management structures which are tried and tested and have seen the colony thrive in the past; and where innovative ideas are greeted with "That's not how we do it here!". However the colony is incapable of responding to the new challenges that a changing environment brings (drought, attacks by vultures).Kotter then presents us with a "Start-up" Meerkat colonywhere there is shared vision and shared ownership. Meerkats are given the licence to explore new ideas and to solve problems creatively. However, this colony hits problems when it grows to a size where there is a loss of accountability and a lack of the discipline that allows larger organisations to operate.Finally, Kotter presents us with his model which has features of both the established and the start-up models, thus allowing complex organisations to operate in changing environments.Once again this is a hugely accessible book which enables leaders to help their organisations understand why there is a need for change and paints a clear picture of what that better organisation might look like once that change has come.

  • Vic Divecha
    2019-02-05 11:52

    Fables and parables for adults are hard to write, but not impossible. Solid research behind the content, but a few revisions needed to make the story flow, like it did in Kotter's previous fable, "Our iceberg is melting". Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any ConditionsA sense of urgency, a burning platform was well communicated through the melting iceberg metaphor. Slowly dying meerkats and declining herds are appropriate similes to modern organizations that have scaled past their startup stage and struggle to become agile behemoths (a contradiction of terms).As a project manager, I am well aware of the ~30% or less success rate for change initiatives. That's why Kotter had to reinvent his waterfall philosophy, into this new hybrid one that clarifies parallel organizations within organizations. This is new territory for many organizations and Kotter has bravely outlined the first step in dealing with globalization, competition, and relentless market challenges. Feels like there is more to come to this "two-brain" approach and the years that follow will yield better change management approaches. I am optimistic that they will come out of Kotter and similar thought leaders and will watch for future updates.