Andy Grove is undoubtedly one of the great leaders of the modern era. Not only did his fortitude and management brilliance grow Intel into the world’s largest chipmaker during his 35 year tenure, still it was his candor and ability to see around corners that will forever distinguish his style. His philosophy was anchored in the belief that ‘a corporation is a living organism; it has to continue to shed its skin. Methods have to change. Focus has to change. Values have to change. The sum total of those changes is transformation.’ As such, the Intel he left was a radically different organization than the one he helped launch in 1968.
In his book – Only the Paranoid Survive – he shares a watershed moment that occurred during a conversation he had with Gordon Moore in the 1985. It was a struggling time for Intel, and Grove asked Gordon “if we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what do you think he would do? Gordon responded without hesitation, saying that “he would get us out of memories”; Grove stared back numb and said ‘why shouldn’t you and I walk out the door, come back and do it ourselves.” That observation was as astute as it was timely, and it forever changed the face of Intel. In Grove’s terms, this was a strategic inflection point.
Grove was a master at aligning strategy and execution – his foresight, inspiration, and ability to inject urgency throughout Intel highlight the first three accelerators of John Kotter’s eight step process of leading change – but would that be enough to stay ahead of today’s pace of change? You’ll get a glimpse of the answer in Kotter’s latest book – Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster Moving World – there, he’ll introduce you to the ‘dual operating system’ that he feels is absolutely necessary to maintain your edge. Here’s how it will work.