The Root Cause

Rethink Your Approach To Solving Stubborn Enterprise-Wide Problems


Impeccably researched and astoundingly insightful, The Root Cause reveals how to go from ‘putting out fires’ to finding true, lasting solutions. Hans delivers an eye-opening, must-read guide for executives and leaders at any stage of their careers. Excellent!

―Marshall Goldsmith
The world’s top executive coach and the Thinkers 50
#1 Leadership Thinker in the World

I love The Root Cause! Norden is an expert in the field who turns on the fire hose. The awe-inspiring breadth of both classic and leading-edge information is truly amazing. By drawing from such widely-varied and inspirational sources as the Wright brothers, Napoleon Hill, Sir Karl Popper, Robert Pirsig, and Sun Tzu to name but a few, The Root Cause presents a much more effective and enlightened example of executive leadership. The Root Cause is a must-read for today’s and tomorrow’s leaders at every level of management.

―Craig Johnston
Award-winning Business Process Management consultant

The Root Cause is a uniquely powerful, intelligent and insight-filled book on the nature of leadership and the concepts, mindset and willingness to change and adapt that great leaders need to be truly successful. Norden surgically unpacks, builds and supports a leadership mentality and practice that is a stunning wake-up call. Norden makes it clear that if leaders wish to make a positive difference in the world and leave a legacy, then they must learn to operate authentically, ethically, with integrity and compassion, to analyze dysfunctional systems dispassionately, and determine root causes courageously, and to adapt to changing realities as a matter of course, not necessity. Highly informative, practical and far-reaching, The Root Cause is filled with invaluable and unforgettable leadership lessons.

―Gregg Ward
Author of The Respectful Leader―Seven Ways to Influence without Intimidation

The Root Cause  is a wonderful source of insight and inspiration for key decision makers in any organization.

―September Dohrmann,CEO
CEO Space International

The Root Cause is not another best-practice or some new set of formulas to be plugged into an organization. Instead, The Root Cause offers a different level of thinking, and a rich source of unique ideas and metaphors, in order to guide executives with an adventuresome mind who already have a clear sense of purpose. I enjoyed the reading, and I intend to read more of Norden’s sources as well.

―Barry J. Schwartz,Ph.D.
Experimental Psychology Applied Neuroscience Consulting

You get John Boyd and his ideas. You have put them down in such a way that a layman can understand how to utilize the information. I love the analogies, it makes it easier for some who may not be as technically proficient in theory. I like the interweaving of different schools of thought put together to gain a full picture. As you know, my dad used many references from many fields when he was putting his theories together. You are doing the same which speaks well to your time and effort in this book. Too many people focus in one area and do not look to other areas to increase their ability to synthesize information. I am enjoying the reading but notice I keep going back and re-reading areas as I go through. To me a good book is one where you go back and start re-reading areas what you have already read.

―Mary Ellen Boyd
Executrix of the John R. Boyd estate

What a breath of fresh air when you read this well documented text. Hans made an important effort to make systems thinking relevant again. We are in interesting times loaded with paradoxical challenges. Hans argues we need a new paradigm to tackle those and he did it in an inspiring way. Go and read The Root Cause!

―Fons Trompenaars
Dutch organizational theorist, management consultant, and author in the field of cross-cultural communication

The Root Cause is a phenomenal book that provides managers, directors and especially C-suite executives a roadmap, context and step by step instructions for optimizing business systems.  In my 20+ year career at more than 50 different businesses, in my opinion every professional needs to read The Root Cause and I can see a need for consultants trained in the application of these concepts helping companies to implement them especially in alignment with major enterprise system development projects like Enterprise Resource Planning, customer-facing Software-as-a-Service products and other strategic initiatives.  I foresee The Root Cause quickly becoming essential reading for all ambitious leaders.

―Gabor Fulop
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Manager & Functional Consultant

Author Hans Norden had an epiphany when, as a bank project manager, he consulted on situations where everyone agrees they have a big problem but no one admits to making a mistake because everyone is just doing their job. Norden saw up close the costly damage done by such systemic (and seemingly insoluble) interdepartmental challenges.

The Root Cause, the distillation of the author’s years of consulting, study and observation, is part field guide, part poetic inspiration, and part exhortation based on the polarity of persistent challenges and accessible opportunities in the modern organization.

Norden’s clarion call to leaders is to recognize the limiting factors (what he calls “gremlins”— the imaginary creatures that sabotage aircraft), overcome the gravitational pull of the Peter Principle, and embark on an journey of mind-bending adventure that fully embraces one’s free will (in other words, seek to do something rather than simply be someone). The Root Cause then takes the reader on a journey of meaning and substance, addressing the journey, vehicle and destination in a comprehensive yet navigable way.

Spanning the domains of philosophy, economics, behavioral science, sociology, military theory, physics, aviation and literature; and fusing all these disciplines with stories that define effective governance, makes this a worthwhile read. Hans Norden challenges leaders into greatness with The Root Cause.

―Doug Kirkpatrick
US Partner, NuFocus Strategic Group, Forbes Books Author, Speaker

The Root Cause is like a deep learning exercise on how the world works―people, business, and organizations. I greatly appreciate the focus on business as a system, the fundamental principles that drive and guide the system, and notable historic bodies of thought. They are woven together to give a deeper and more powerful foundation for the building of mental models to help understand business behavior and the itinerary planning for success that follows. It is a substantial read that can transform someone’s way of being and doing in the world. Remarkable and valuable for anyone who wants to lead an epic journey.

―Brett Hoffstadt
Project Management Professional (PMP), inventor of multiple aviation devices,
Author of “Success with Drones in Civil Engineering” and “How To Be a Rocket Scientist.”

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