January 9, 2014  /  Larry Hirschhorn

Larry Hirschhorn, Principal, has written a new blog post on the dilemmas and challenges facing Sears Holding, the department store chain that includes both Sears-Roebuck and Kmart. The post begins with a journalist’s report which  describes organizational chaos at Sears, the result of the CEO’s radical restructuring of the company into 30 separate businesses each with its own board and financial reports. The journalist suggests that the chaos is due to debilitating competition between the different business units. The blog poses the question of whether or not the CEO, Eddie Lampert, the owner of a very successful hedge fund, is simply an “asse... read more »

February 27, 2014

CFAR was engaged by the Robert Wood John Foundation in a project designed to foster interprofessional collaboration between physicians and nurses, after a national report about the future of nursing provoked objections from physicians’ groups, primarily about "scope of practice."   Working with participants from primary care physician and nursing organizations and RWJF staff, CFAR designed and facilitated a dialogue over several months about inter-professional collaboration that led to a new understanding between nurses and physicians about each other’s roles and the opportunities for  partnership between them. The project revitalized a productive debate among members of their organizations, acknowledged the need to work on interprofessional collabor... read more »

March 10, 2014  /  Nancy Drozdow

My husband, reading the Playbill, looked up and said, “now I know why you wanted to see Kinky Boots – it’s about a family business and shoes.” He was partly right – I had gotten tickets without knowing the story. Still, family business stories are a magnet to me; I have worked with and studied family firms for the last 30 plus years, and the time only serves to deepen my appreciation for the courage it takes to stay in business across generations.


Two articles in the Wall St. Journal this week provoked these reflections.  One led with the title, “Do CEOs of Family-Owned Businesses Work Less?” (WSJ, 3/6/14) Ugh.  Why not draw the reader in via taking the easy route – replay the centuri... read more »

June 2, 2014  /  Carey Gallagher

A physician we’ve worked with cut to the chase yesterday. In a meeting about launching a pilot to test a framework for triaging patients needing post-acute services, he said, “you know how much I love getting perfect data. But what we need is a practical RCT.” A nationally-known expert in end-of-life care with a lengthy list of publications, he spends his time asking busy people to remember to press “pause” and engage with the patient and family. He gains a deep understanding of what will help the patients he serves through rigorous investigation. This is a man who does not jump to conclusions.


So we were surprised. And curious. Quickly testing out new ideas with low risk and low overhead helps people take on small changes that m... read more »

July 3, 2014  /  Barry Dornfeld

The news from “Hawk Hill” in Philadelphia has been distressing. In May, the business school faculty at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia issued a vote of “no confidence” in the President, Rev. C. Kevin Gillespie. This followed close on the heels of a Faculty Senate vote of no confidence in two top administrators a few months earlier, reacting to the University making public their budget shortfall of $8.7 million for this fiscal year. And from reports in the press, acrimony is running very high between faculty and administration. These troubles were public enough that the Middle States accreditors on campus reported a “deep crisis in the governance process” and suggested that the board had overstepped its role in setting school policies aro... read more »

July 15, 2014  /  Chris Hugill

Mr. Nadella’s recent “manifesto”, contrary to the popular reaction, isn’t just business as usual. Sure, his missive to Microsoft has generated some dismissive reactions. We hold a different view. In our work at CFAR, we are struck continually by the fact that sustained competitive advantage comes from who and how you are, not just from what you do.

Mr. Nadella speaks of increasing fluidity. Organizations today struggle to get the right information to the right people at the right time. Too many of the structures we create to manage people and process impede innovation rather than funneling it into a pipeline of novel value-creation.

But there are proven approaches to surfacing the hidden assets in organizations and creat... read more »

August 15, 2014  /  Carey Gallagher

No one wants to think their workforce just doesn’t care. But what happens when it looks like that’s the case?


We’ve been working with an academic medical center for several years on their initiative to reduce readmissions, when patients come back to the hospital with the same ailment within 30 days of being discharged. This is not only a priority for providing excellent patient care, but also a financial imperative, as hospitals are now being penalized when these patients come back.


The initiative’s executive sponsors knew that patients often went to the ER within a few days after discharge if they were experiencing any kind of problem—because they just weren’t sure what to do. Research showed that having... read more »

October 7, 2014  /  Mal O'Connor and Barry Dornfeld
Mal O'Connor and Barry Dornfeld comment on the NFL's “unignorable moment." read more »
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