Find A Speaker or Advisor
Share this speaker on:
Leadership / Strategy / Company Culture / Executive Education / Psychological Safety / Human Resource Management & Talent Development / Must-Read Books / New To Stern


  • George Talks Business with Ashley Goodall
    George Talks Business with Ashley Goodall
  • ASBN: Nine Lies about Work, and how to expose the strengths of your team
    ASBN: Nine Lies about Work, and how to expose the strengths of your team
  • Cheddar: Is Everything You Know About Work Culture a Lie
    Cheddar: Is Everything You Know About Work Culture a Lie
  • BNN Bloomberg: The truths and lies about what makes a workplace work
    BNN Bloomberg: The truths and lies about what makes a workplace work
  • Yahoo! Finance: New rules for workplace survival
    Yahoo! Finance: New rules for workplace survival

Learn More About Ashley Goodall

Ashley Goodall is a leadership expert, consultant, and author who has spent his career exploring large organizations from the inside. He looks for the lessons from the real world that help people and teams thrive, and that make work a more human place for all of the humans in it.  

Goodall is the co-author, with Marcus Buckingham, of “Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World” (Harvard Business Review Press, 2019), 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. He is also the co-author of two cover stories in the Harvard Business Review: “The Feedback Fallacy” (March/April 2019) — which was Harvard Business Review’s most popular article of 2019 — and “Reinventing Performance Management” (April 2015). Goodall’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, Business Insider, and Inc. Magazine. His latest book is “The Problem with Change: And the Essential Nature of Human Performance” (Little, Brown Spark, May 2024). 

Goodall’s first experiences of teams and leadership were as a student musician and conductor. He was fascinated by the unspoken understanding between people playing together and carried this fascination into the corporate world. He most recently spent six years as a Senior Vice President of HR at Cisco, where he led organizations focused on leadership, on teams, and on research, and which have taken on some of the most challenging questions about work. What is special about the best teams? Why do we follow one leader and not another? How can we measure our experience at work reliably? Of the things that we can measure at work, which matter most? And how can we take what matters most and embed it into our people, practices and systems?

Prior to Cisco, Goodall spent fourteen years at Deloitte as a consultant and as the Chief Learning Officer for Leadership and Professional Development. 

The new approaches Goodall has pioneered address everything from performance management, to feedback, to team engagement technology, to real-time team intelligence, to social network mapping, to strengths-based leadership — and together these challenge much of the conventional wisdom of work today.

Ashley Goodall is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Ashley Goodall was last modified: March 21st, 2024 by Justin Louis

Read More Read Less

The Problem with Change

In today’s fast-paced business world, many have come to think of change and disruption as the building blocks of innovation and success, but what if the reality is actually the opposite? According to research by leadership expert and former Deloitte and Cisco HR executive Ashley Goodall, change initiatives are often launched with little thought of the cost in human terms, thereby alienating employees and harming innovation and productivity. In this eye-opening presentation, Goodall draws from his upcoming book “The Problem with Change,” to illustrate the psychological costs of constant change, and to demonstrate how change can itself stymie the progress it seeks. Instead, Goodall argues, leaders should allow change to emerge, as opposed to forcing it from above. By differentiating between “change” and “improvement,” audiences will leave with a new understanding of the consequences of implementing change initiatives simply for the sake of shaking things up. With stability management strategies in hand, leaders will gain practical tools for creating environments where teams are better positioned to contribute to ongoing success.

Reinventing Performance Management

Traditional performance management — annual goal setting, a five-point rating scale, and once-a-year feedback presented in a performance review — has been with us for a long time. It’s hardly universally loved, but organizations have struggled to come up with a better system. According to leadership expert and former Deloitte and Cisco HR executive Ashley Goodall, however, this traditional system not only doesn’t work, but actually impairs performance. In this paradigm-shifting presentation which draws on Goodall’s experience of implementing a different approach at two multinational organizations, audiences will learn practical methods for doing away with the 1-5 rating scale and introducing an accessible system of feedback and check-ins that will help workers do better, ultimately leading to happier employees and customers as well as increased overall company performance.

HR for the People: Three Steps to Reestablishing Employee Advocacy

In today’s business environment of constant disruption, workplaces have become surprisingly hard places to get things done. How can Human Resources rethink its function to give employees the tools they need to do their best work? In this revealing presentation, leadership expert and former Deloitte and Cisco HR executive Ashley Goodall gives clear examples of how HR has lost its way. Drawing from his upcoming book, “The Problem with Change,” he emphasizes that Human Resources has a limited ability to create a better, more productive working environment if HR leaders don’t view the interests of the business as differing from the interests of the people working there, especially in times of change. Audiences will leave with a practical three-step framework for reestablishing HR as a full-throated advocate for employees, becoming a truly empowering function of an organization.

Make Magic Happen by Thinking of Your Teams Like an Orchestra

One of the great mysteries of leadership is identifying what makes the best teams special. So, how can organizations provide exceptional leaders with the tools to build successful, engaged teams? According to leadership expert Ashley Goodall, engaged teams come from engaged employees who are uniquely useful to one another. Goodall draws from his diverse experience as the former SVP of Leadership and Team Intelligence at Cisco as well as his training as a classical music conductor to illustrate how, much like an orchestra, bringing individuals with different strengths together can create a collective magic that wouldn’t have been possible without all members working as a unit. With his unique lens on leading teams, Goodall provides audiences with powerful tools for measuring team engagement and understanding what is joyful to humans in life and work to bring more humanity to the art of empowering teams to excel.

Stability Management in the Face of Change Bolsters Team Productivity

What does a human need in order to be productive at work and how does change affect these needs? According to leadership expert and former Deloitte and Cisco HR executive Ashley Goodall, people do best at work when organizations implement stability management – ensuring a predictable environment and giving employees a sense of control over their surroundings to allow the point of their efforts to be readily apparent. In this revealing presentation, Goodall emphasizes that stability is not the same as standing still and draws from his upcoming book “The Problem with Change,” to outline ways in which executives can build stability in the face of change. Goodall will offer specific, accessible strategies that allow leaders at every level to create the stability that people need to thrive. Attendees will leave understanding how building stability into an organization can better position teams to contribute productively.

Advance Praise for "The Problem With Change"

“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, Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer, Author of " The Heart of Business"

“How incredibly 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"

“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

“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"

“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"

“Ashley Goodall's '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 , Thinkers50 #1 Executive Coach and New York Times bestselling author of "The Earned Life, Triggers, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There"

Praise for "Nine Lies About Work"

  • Named one of "Our 10 favorite new books for people managers" by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Managers)
  • One of the Financial Times "Business Books of the Month"
  • Named a Bloomberg Businessweek pick
  • Named one of "14 business books everyone will be reading in 2019" by Business Insider
  • Named one of "10 Leadership Books to Watch for in 2019" by the Washington Post
  • Named one of "10 Business Books You Need to Read in 2019" by Inc. magazine
  • Named one of "The 19 New Leadership Books to Read in 2019" by Adam Grant on LinkedIn

"'Nine Lies About Work,' by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall, the year's best management book, challenges the assumptions that underlie contemporary managerial practices, many of which date back to Drucker's day. In doing so, the book offers a glimpse of a new management paradigm that may prove to be better suited to the times."

strategy+business magazine

"'Nine Lies' is utterly readable, often entertaining, and not just polite, but carefully reasoned and argued using some unusual real-world examples and even some from literature."

Human Resource Executive (

"Leads to some free thinking about the way we do our jobs and how we can approach what we do in a different way."

Financial Times

"If a business book teaches me something new--and offers a fresh perspective on leadership--then I know it's a rare find in the category. 'Nine Lies About Work' is just such a book. It's so thought provoking, I contacted the authors to speak with them directly."


"…should be on every boss's bookshelf."

Management Today

"A stimulating, no-nonsense, research-based look at things you likely believe that aren't true – and how to apply the new findings."

The Globe and Mail

"The act of work is human. Leading and following and working together is about human interaction and human relationships. The workplace, and the marketplace beyond it, is about emotions and attention and the desire to be seen. It is about trust and, yes, it is about love. I am always grateful to be reminded of that, to see it again clearly, to have it acknowledged. 'Nine Lies About Work' is a great reminder, and a great guide."


"Give a copy of this book to everyone in your organization who's leading a team and make it essential reading."

The Hamilton Spectator

"If you're looking for a refreshing read that challenges the conventional wisdom of the business world, this is a book for your shelf."

TD magazine (Association for Talent Development)

"There is much we can learn about managing and leading our schools from its pages."

Inside Higher Ed