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  • Published: 7 May 2024
  • ISBN: 9781529146455
  • Imprint: Ebury Edge
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $36.99

The Problem With Change

The Essential Nature of Human Performance




The big new idea in business, for fans of Simon Sinek and Adam Grant: the much-needed rebuttal to those who worship at the altar of constant disruption by former Deloitte and Cisco top leadership development executive, Ashley Goodall.

'A crucial read.' Marshall Goldsmith

'A must-read.' Marcus Buckingham

Change and innovation are the cornerstones of dynamic and modern business.

Or so we are told.

Whether it’s a merger or re-org; a new process, policy, or IT "solution"; or reconfiguring the office layout, change has become the ultimate easy button for leaders, who pursue it with abandon and thereby unleash an endless torrent of disruption on employees. The result is life in the blender: a perpetual state of upheaval, uncertainty, and unease.

Yes, companies need to grow, innovate, and adapt to changing needs. But stressed-out employees rarely go the extra mile, chaos rarely produces agility or speed, and it’s hard innovate or grow while bleeding talent to turnover and quiet quitting. This is how change stymies the very progress that it seeks.

Drawing on decades spent leading HR operations at Deloitte and Cisco, Ashley Goodall explores the essential nature of human performance and offers a radical new alternative to the constant turbulence that defines corporate life. By prioritizing team cohesion (instead of reshuffling teams at will), by communicating in real words (rather than corporate speak), by striving for predictability (instead of charisma), by honoring shared rituals (instead of corporately-mandated bonding), by fixing only the things that are truly broken (instead of moving fast and breaking everything in sight) and more, leaders at every level can create environments that allow people to do the best work of their lives.

  • Published: 7 May 2024
  • ISBN: 9781529146455
  • Imprint: Ebury Edge
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $36.99

About the author

Ashley Goodall

Ashley Goodall is a leadership expert who has spent his career exploring large organizations from the inside, most recently as an executive at Cisco. He is the co-author of Nine Lies About Work, which was selected as the best management book of 2019 by Strategy + Business and as one of Amazon’s best business and leadership books of 2019. Prior to Cisco, he spent fourteen years at Deloitte as a consultant and as the Chief Learning Officer for Leadership and Professional development. Ashley has written or been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, Business Insider, Inc. and The Harvard Business Review. Originally from the UK, he holds a BA in Music from Oxford and an MBA from Columbia Business School. He is based in New Jersey.

Praise for The Problem With Change

Change is neither good, nor bad—and much of it is essential. But that doesn’t make it easy. In his brilliantly thought-provoking The Problem with Change, Ashley Goodall argues persuasively that a big part of the job of leaders is to create stability—to dampen the disruptive nature of change and to allow their teams to perform.

Stan McChrystal, General, US Army (Ret), CEO, McChrystal Group, and Co-author of Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

Do you know that research shows that people undergoing organizational change are more likely to take antidepressants? While change and disruption have become catchwords, they exact an enormous toll on employees and their companies. This smart, well-written book can help leaders resist the temptations toward chaos so currently popular.

Jeffrey Pfeffer, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and author of Dying for a Paycheck

The Problem with Change is a timely exploration of the complexity of organizational transformation. It dispels the myth that change is an unqualified good and tackles the hard truths about the challenges it brings. With an honest and insightful look at the intricacies of change management, Goodall offers a fresh perspective that questions our readiness to disrupt and provides a nuanced discussion on stability in the workplace. As someone deeply invested in the growth and development of leaders and organizations, I believe this book is a crucial read for anyone looking to navigate the often turbulent waters of change.

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith is the Thinkers50 #1 Executive Coach and New York Times bestselling author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Ashley Goodall has achieved something rare and wonderful: he has taken a subject with which we are all deeply familiar—change—and turned it upside down. And in so doing, he has not only revealed ‘the problem with change,’ but also how to find within it all the resiliency and creativity we need to succeed. The Problem with Change is a completely engaging book that causes us to reassess much of what we’ve all mistaken for 'truth' and reveals insights and ideas we can never unsee. Given how much change we are all grappling with today, this book could not be more timely. It is a must-read for any leader trying to find their bearings in these wildly turbulent times.

Marcus Buckingham, bestselling author and strengths researcher

How refreshing to find a leadership expert who will admit the truth—that change isn't the same as improvement, and that companies need stability, community, and real respect for workers as much if not more so than (yet another) round of ‘disruption.' Corporate leaders could save a lot of money, time and pain by taking Goodall's advice.

Rana Foroohar, global business columnist at the Financial Times and author of Homecoming

In a world that can be obsessed with disruption for its own sake, The Problem with Change is an urgent wake-up call for managers and executives at all levels. In this refreshingly clear-eyed new book, Ashley Goodall argues that excessive and indiscriminate change comes at a steep cost, one that leaders are often unaware of. For change to be beneficial, it must be undertaken thoughtfully, deliberately, and with the employees and their experience front and center."

Hubert Joly, former Best Buy CEO, senior lecturer Harvard Business School, author of The Heart of Business

In this wonderful book, Ashley Goodall spells out what we all know is true: disruption is more often than not an assault on the continuity that brings meaning to our work lives. A must-read for any leader interested in a more thoughtful, less destructive approach to change.

Herminia Ibarra, The Charles Handy Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School, author of Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader and Working Identity

A sturdy, well-informed treatise about trading change for care in the workplace. The book's clear language, deep research, and clarity of concepts make it a useful read for managers and employees alike.

Kirkus Reviews

Well-phrased wisdom about the futility of corporate life and how to combat it.

The Financial Times