Blog

See our experts’ latest contributions on consulting, execution, growth, simplification and other key topics in today’s industry-leading blog posts.

How Simplicity Principles Could Fix Obamacare

As everyone now knows, Healthcare.gov – the $394 million website that was supposed to enable millions of Americans to shop for health insurance – is experiencing some initial technical failures. Critiquing the troubled rollout is easy, but not helpful considering t…

10.29.13  Ron Ashkenas

The Dangers of Denial

Great leaders tell it like it is. In other words, they focus on reality, no matter how painful or unpleasant it might be, and then figure out what to do about it. In contrast, less effective leaders sometimes avoid hard truths, argue with the data, and delay tough …

10.17.13  Ron Ashkenas

Nice Managers Embrace Conflict, Too

Most people want to be liked: It’s one of the fundamental tenets of human behavior. Because of that motivation, many of us have an unconscious desire to avoid conflict.

Four Tips for Better Strategic Planning

No great strategy was born without careful thought. That’s why the process of planning a strategy itself is an important vehicle for setting priorities, making investment decisions, and laying out growth plans.

09.17.13  Ron Ashkenas

Let’s Hold Consultants Accountable for Results

When I recently asked a group of MBA students to define what it meant to them to be a consultant, they quickly rattled off phrases such as “trusted advisor,” “problem-solver,” “objective 3rd party,” and “subject matter expert.” What was interesting was that none of…

09.04.13  Ron Ashkenas

Let Your Customers Streamline Your Business

Customers appreciate simplicity. In fact, a number of recent studies have shown that it's key to their loyalty and satisfaction. CEB reported in HBR last year that the most important factor in creating customer "stickiness" was "decision simplicity," i.e. the ease …

08.20.13  Ron Ashkenas

To Simplify, First Clear the Underbrush

Many people envision the upper rungs of the corporate ladder as an inspired, innovative place where leaders spend their time on stimulating projects that shape the organization's future. But this vision is not always a reality.

08.06.13  Ron Ashkenas

Don't Make Decisions, Orchestrate Them

Is the role of the manager to make decisions, or to make sure that decisions get made? The answer, of course, is both – but many managers focus so much on the first role that they neglect the second.

07.23.13  Ron Ashkenas

Don't Neglect Your Power to Bring People Together

Out of the many ways that managers get things done, one of the most underused is what I call "convening authority": the ability to bring people together to share information, build alignment, or solve problems.

07.10.13  Ron Ashkenas

The Problem with Executive Isolation

A client of mine recently experienced a jarring moment akin to a scene straight out of the old Broadway musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." She was getting ready for a meeting with her CEO. After pulling together her materials, she was asked t…

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