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The Moment You Can't Ignore: When Big Trouble Leads to a Great Future
Malachi O'Connor and Barry Dornfeld

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Format: Hardcover, 288pp.
ISBN: 9781610394659
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Pub. Date: October 7, 2014

Average Customer Review: leadership
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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

Not just another day at the office ? or is it?

The surgical technician ducks as a stapler flies past his head during the concluding moments of a lengthy and difficult operation?.

The high-powered, internationally known finance guru seeks to turn fortunes around at the university of which he is now president ? and finds himself a leader without followers?.

The powerful satraps silently sabotage the CEO’s desperately needed growth initiative.?

These are “moments that cannot be ignored”—events, actions, comments that stop people in their tracks and, in one fell swoop, make it blindingly clear that an organization is stuck and unable to move forward. And they have become regular occurrences in today’s corporations, non-profits, and educational institutions as new forms of work, communication, and technology expose the ways in which an organization’s culture—or “the way we do things around here”—conflicts with new competitive demands. The result: telling incidents—all too visible elephants in the room—that reveal underlying conflicts as well as hidden assets.

In The Moment You Can’t Ignore, Malachi O’Connor and Barry Dornfeld tell fascinating “you are there” stories of people and organizations as they encounter and then navigate through and beyond these un-ignorable moments, and show what we can learn from them. They outline the big questions organizations need to ask themselves about identity, leadership, and the capacity to innovate that an understanding of culture can help answer, and deliver powerful insights into recognizing and harnessing hidden assets that point in the direction of a new future.

In our age of porous organizations and constant change, The Moment You Can’t Ignore demonstrates that the adage, “culture eats strategy for lunch,” is more relevant now than ever.


“The authors bring to life the importance of culture: how very different it is from other elements of change management and how critical it is to take advantage of ‘un-ignorable moments.’ Their stories are compelling and memorable.”
—Jon Katzenbach, Senior Executive Advisor, the Katzenbach Center, coauthor of The Wisdom of Team, and coauthor (with Zia Khan) of Leading Outside the Lines

“The Moment You Can’t Ignore brings us something we have not seen in a long time—a new set of ideas for leaders managing complex and continually changing organizations. This book provides vivid examples of how leaders can create ‘superconducting organizations’ capable of successfully managing the rip tides of change that threaten organizational identity, clarity about who is charge, and confidence that they can both adapt to and shape their future. Doing so requires the ability to know and leverage the moments in your organization you can’t ignore. This book is a roadmap to being able to identify and leverage those moments.”
—David Thomas, Dean and William R. Berkley Chair of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, and coauthor of Breaking Through: The Making of Minority Executives in Corporate America

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About the Authors

Malachi O’Connor is Vice President and Principal at CFAR, Inc, a management consulting firm specializing in strategy and organizational development. He holds a PhD in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania. Building on his training as an ethnographer, he helped CFAR develop the firm’s ‘Campaign' approach to leading and managing change, a method that helps organizations leverage culture and change behavior in service of new strategic imperatives. An experienced speaker and meeting facilitator, Mal has spoken about leading change to chief executive audiences worldwide. He is a member of the American Folklore Society and the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations. He is also an avid scuba diver.

Barry Dornfeld, a Principal at CFAR, is an anthropologist and documentary filmmaker with a PhD in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania. He is an expert on organizational change, collaboration and communication. Barry leads workshops for chief executives on negotiation, influence and persuasion, and organizational change in the U.S. and internationally, including Wharton’s Executive Education division. In addition to his academic positions, Barry has published numerous articles and a book about social capital, digital media and public television. Previously he was a faculty member at New York University and chair of the Communication Program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. The documentary film about Philadelphia-based Klezmer musicians he co-produced, Eatala, was broadcast on WHYY/PBS in 2012.

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