Summary of The Most Underrated Skill in Management

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Change is crucial in the rapidly evolving modern business environment, but are you using a sledgehammer when a surgeon’s scalpel would do? In this MIT Sloan Management Review article, Nelson P. Repenning and Don Kieffer – consultants and MIT Sloan management professors – and Todd Astor – a medical director at Massachusetts General Hospital – suggest that small, carefully planned change initiatives are more effective and less disruptive than large-scale, sweeping strategic overhauls. getAbstract recommends this applicable article to managers seeking a clearly defined problem-solving process that leads to actionable solutions and measurable results.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why proper problem formulation is crucial for change initiatives;
  • How a “gemba walk” can lead to the root causes of complicated problems; and
  • Why small, precise, quickly accomplished goals are often better than sweeping changes.

About the Authors

Nelson P. Repenning and Don Kieffer teach at MIT Sloan School of Management. Both work for the consulting firm ShiftGear Work Design LLC.  Todd Astor is a medical director at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School professor.



If you’re planning to launch a change initiative, ensure you clarify which problem you are trying to solve by articulating a clearly worded, quantifiable problem statement. Steer clear of blame, and don’t presuppose a solution. Link the concern to an organizational value, and highlight a quantifiable gap between the present situation and a future objective.

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