Market Overview

"Stop Decorating The Fish" Provides Simplified Problem-Solving Strategy For Organizational Success


New book offers solution to ineffective methods utilized in government and business

SALT LAKE CITY (PRWEB) August 14, 2018

What do you call it when governments, companies and individuals waste time, energy and financial resources trying to solve a problem without first identifying the core issue? Fish decorating.

In their new book "Stop Decorating the Fish," authors Kristen Cox and Yishai Ashlag coin the term fish decorating for this very common but often unrecognized issue. Written as a business fable, the fictional story illustrates ineffective problem-solving strategies often utilized by government agencies and business leaders across the globe. Labeled the "Seductive 7," the easy fixes leaders turn to most often include more money, technology, reorganization, training, data, strategic planning and assigning of blame.

"We'd like to see ‘fish decorating' become part of the government and business lexicon," said Cox. "Having worked in government for nearly 20 years, it's easy to say we need more time, money and resources, but we aren't moving the needle. We tend to over-complicate things and solve the wrong problems without recognizing it. We hope to help readers break the vicious cycle of ineffective problem solving and find solutions that will provide breakthrough results."

"Stop Decorating the Fish" teaches readers how organizations can overlook the core issue, resulting in spending significant time and resources on actions that give the illusion of progress but do not address the root problem. Featuring real-world case studies, the book serves as a reader's guide on how to identify the right problem, develop an appropriate plan to solve it and avoid seductive solutions that won't make any real impact.

One highly-publicized example of fish decorating is expensive recycling programs. Instead of focusing on the root problem – the production and use of too much nonbiodegradable plastic – companies and governments have been focused on increasing recycling rates. Landfills are still overflowing, and companies continue to over-produce plastic products.

"Consulting with organizations around the world, I see leaders presenting new, innovative and clever solutions every day," said coauthor Ashlag, Ph.D. "Businesses rush to adopt them without first asking themselves if this is the right solution to their problem. Often, they haven't even asked themselves if they are solving the actual problem. A real breakthrough starts with a new understanding of the problem, not a new solution."

If the customer is not at the core of the decision, it is likely fish decorating. For example, when a company looks to increase its market share or earnings, they look to mergers and acquisitions to gain the fastest return. Many businesses focus on the potential financial gains without first evaluating if the acquisition will provide value to the customer. The company may see the desired result in the short term, but eventually more than 50 percent of acquisitions fail due to unforeseen problems and lack of synergy between the two organizations, resulting in lower returns for its shareholders.

The authors have also developed a follow-up workbook, "The World of Fish Decorating," to identify 10 key indicators that will help readers recognize when they are decorating the fish. The workbook is designed to further guide those who have read the book and is available on the book's website.

Cox is executive director of the Governor's Office of Management and Budget for the state of Utah. She has previously served on the cabinet of three governors and was appointed to a position with the Department of Education by President George W. Bush's administration. Utilizing the methods shared in the book, she has made strides in improving operational performance across all agencies of Utah's governmental structure, saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars while also absorbing increased demand and improving quality of services. Cox has established herself as an expert in her field and serves as a consultant to other government agencies that want to follow suit.

Ashlag is a senior partner at Goldratt Consulting where he serves as head of Knowledge Development and Implementations. With a Ph.D. in economics from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, he regularly advises companies in the United States, Singapore, India, Japan and Brazil on how to apply core problem-solving methods to their respective industries.

The book not only illustrates the real-world impact of fish decorating but is uniquely illustrated. Israeli illustrator and comic artist Ovadia Benishu brings the authors' vision to life with stunning artwork to provide a visual representation of not only the story, but also the fish decorating case studies.

"Stop Decorating the Fish" is currently available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats, and both authors will be donating all proceeds from the book to the National Federation of the Blind. Having lost her vision by her early 20s due to a rare genetic disorder, Cox is a passionate advocate for those who are affected by vision impairment and other disabilities.

For more information about "Stop Decorating the Fish," please visit

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

View Comments and Join the Discussion!