Yes, I wrote the manuscript for a book titled “CEO Adventure”; it took me a while, but its ready for publishing! However . . . . .
The first publisher who acquired the manuscript went belly-up before publishing, and the second reneged on our contract. Then, I asked renowned author Bo Burlingham for advice. He connected me with Jim Levine of Levine | Greenberg | Rostan Literary Agency, who sold the manuscript to McGraw Hill. They are publishing it under the new title: The Root Cause: Rethink Your Approach to Solving Stubborn Enterprise-Wide Problems. They have been FANTASTIC!
I’m equally thrilled that a great number of people in my LinkedIn network promised to help me promote the book upon release, which is set for April 26th 2022. It will be available in hardcover, e-book, and audio book.
And, the cherry on the cake is the endorsement I received from Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, the world’s top executive coach and the Thinkers 50 #1 Leadership Thinker in the World. This is what he wrote, word-for-word:
- Impeccably researched and astoundingly insightful, Hans delivers a must-read guide for executives and leaders at any stage of their career.
- Hans’ unique methodology recognizes that an organization is a singular, unique, and integrated system. An eye-opening, inspiring read.
- An exhaustive, comprehensive dive into organizational systemic problems, and how to go from “putting out fires” to finding true, lasting solutions. Excellent!
What Is THE ROOT CAUSE About?
How do you react when everyone agrees there is a BIG problem, but denies any culpability? What do you say when it is confirmed that they were all just doing their jobs? How is that even possible? Someone must be covering up his/her mistakes, right? Wrong!
Welcome to the intriguing world of systemic problems. Statistics show that ninety-four percent of ALL results―both (un)intended and (un) wanted outcomes―are systemic in nature. After all, every system functions according to its design, organization/structure, implementation/organization, maintenance, and management. To use a railway analogy; the way you lay the track is the path the train will follow. It is THAT simple!
The Root Cause is about executive decision makers and their belief that systemic problems are without solution. They are right unless they are willing to change their level of thinking and let go of preconceived conditions that make those solutions impossible.
Creating Authentic SolutionsTM―solutions that align with a business’ purpose and strategy―require decision makers to pay attention to the following quotes of wisdom:
- Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice. ―from the Medical world
- Once you understand the root of the dysfunction, you no longer need to explore its countless manifestations. ―Eckhart Tolle
- The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking which created them. ―Dr. Albert Einstein
These quotes reflect my own experiences―elation and frustrations―as change manager and project manager within the business world. They summarize why I felt compelled to write The Root Cause.
The objective of The Root Cause is to help executive decision makers understand how their businesses function as singular, unique, integrated, and open systems. The importance of creating understanding is to generate appreciation and thus a sense of value of the system’s capability and capacity―most notably for its people and their creative ideas, its functions, processes, procedures, tools and technology.
Consequently, decision makers who understand the importance of developing a system’s capability and capacity for financial growth are less likely to pursue policies that cause undue friction and conflict within the system.
However, as revealed in an IBM Global CEO study, the majority of executive decision makers are befuddled and bewildered by system complexity and the disruptive effect of events on such systems. Please note that the alternative to understanding is trial-and-error, which is hardly a satisfactory explanation for under-performance.
The advantage of understanding “WHY” over learning “WHAT” and “HOW” to be or to do―a.k.a. best-practice solutions―is the ability of reasoning your way towards an Authentic Solution, which involves no rote memorization. I summed up this advantage by playing on a well-known expression:
“You give a leader a best practice solution, and you help him/her solve ONE symptom, one time only. You teach him/her to eliminate the root cause of a systemic problem and s/he will solve ALL its symptoms for the rest of his/her career.”
What to Expect of This Blog?
The most fundamental law is that of cause and effect. Cause is the level of thought and effect is the level of business performance. Hence, what I want to address in this blog are different levels of thought; those that work WITH the system and others that work AGAINST it. In other words, why do current dominant beliefs result in decisions that create systemic problems such as the erosion of profit margins, lack of quality, employee disengagement, the war-for-talent, attrition price-wars, safety violations, accounting fraud, etc.
What I’m talking about are the principles, values, ideas, theories, beliefs, doctrine, dogma, ideologies, assumptions, etc. that comprise our mental programming. For example, there is nothing wrong with the pursuit of operational efficiency but only if it does not harm the business system’s effectiveness at realizing the purpose for which it was created.
I want to demonstrate that a consultant’s idiosyncratic answer “It Depends” is not a cop out. It just validates the cause-and-effect relationship between the level of success you intend to achieve and your beliefs regarding business governance.