Richard Florida is author of the global best-sellers, The Rise of the Creative Class and Who’s Your City? A more recent book, book, The Great Reset, explains how new ways of living and working will drive post-crash prosperity. Other works include The Flight of the Creative Class and Cities and the Creative Class. His previous books, especially The Breakthrough Illusion and Beyond Mass Production, paved the way for his provocative looks at how creativity is revolutionizing the global economy.
Richard is senior editor for The Atlantic and a regular CNN contributor. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Economist, The Globe and Mail and The Harvard Business Review. He has been featured as an expert on MSNBC, BBC, NPR and CBS, to name just a few. Richard is Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute and Professor of Business and Creativity at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Previously, Florida held professorships at George Mason University and Carnegie Mellon University and taught as a visiting professor at Harvard and MIT. Florida earned his Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. His research provides unique, data-driven insight into the social, economic and demographic factors that drive the 21st century world economy.
His latest book is The Rise of the Creative Class, Revisited: 10th Anniversary Edition–Revised and Expanded, published by Basic Books (June, 2012).
Here is an excerpt from my second interview of him.
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Morris: To what extent is The Rise of the Creative Class, Revisited a sequel? To what extent does it plow entirely new ground?
Florida: A great deal of the book has been rewritten or rearranged—this is not so much a revision as a full-blown revisiting of the original book. My team and I brought all the statistics up to date, provided new ones, and incorporated a decade’s worth of new research. I took advantage of the opportunity to address my major critics, too. Finally, there are five completely original chapters, covering the global effects of the Creative Class, quality of place in our cities and suburbs, the widening—and increasingly damaging—role of class and inequality in society, and the political challenges and opportunities that the rise of the creative class represents.
Morris: Were there any head-snapping revelations while writing the book? Please explain.
Florida: One big insight is the worsening inequality and underlying class divide that plagues not just nations but cities and metro areas. You can see it in US cities and metros and also in London and even in Toronto where I now live. That said, the rise of the creative class and post-industrialism needn’t exacerbate wage and income inequality. In fact, the wages and salaries for working and service class members are higher in metros with greater concentrations of the creative class. Interestingly enough, the US is something of an outlier when it comes to post-industrialism and inequality across the advanced nations. In many of them, especially in Scandinavia and North Europe, post-industrialism and the rise of the creative economy has been accompanied by higher living standards and far less inequality that in the US. In the revised edition, I look in detail at inequality across US metros. I find that the class divide accounts for about 15 percent of income inequality, a significant amount for sure, but more is at work. Income inequality across US metros has a lot to do with entrenched poverty, race, weakened labor unions, and an unraveling safety net than it is the result of the Creative Class’s relative prosperity. The solution, in other words, isn’t to roll the Creative Class back—it’s to lift up the classes that aren’t doing as well.
Morris: To what extent (if any) does the book in final form differ significantly from what you originally envisioned?
Florida: Books always turn out different than expected. When I started the idea was to update the data (which was ten years old) and revise and update the existing chapters. But that’s where my research and thinking took me. I certainly did not expect to write five entirely new chapters The whole issue of the creative class going global and the need to include more data and information on the creative class around the world; and also widening inequality and the growing class divide – those are things that needed to be treated in detail. The last chapter – “Every Single Human Being is Creative”— discusses the need for a new Creative Compact based on harnessing the creativity and talent of every single human being. We are at such a critical turning point: our society is changing as fundamentally as it has since the shift from agriculture to manufacturing. The old industrial order of relentless production and consumerism, of brute growth, has proven itself unsustainable; it’s left us with a degraded environment, a broken financial system, and a sclerotic political culture. We have an incredible opportunity to remake ourselves in a better way—for maybe the first time ever, to align human and economic development. But to do that, we need to create new institutions that will both help to develop and utilize everyone’s innate creativity. It won’t happen by itself, and no Invisible Hand is going to guide it.
The University of Chicago economist Raghu Rajan said it well: “The advanced countries have a choice. They can act as if all is well except that their consumers are in a funk, and that ‘animal spirits’ must be revived through stimulus. Or they can treat the crisis as a wake-up call to fix all that has been papered over in the last few decades.” I’m trying to sound that wake up call.
Morris: Please explain the reference to “the key underlying forces that have been transforming our economy and culture” for several decades.
Florida: Our economy is shifting from an industrial to a post-industrial basis—our most valuable products are no longer the natural resources we scour out of the ground, or the durable goods that we manufacture in factories but the things that spring from our creativity: software, movies, medicines, applications. Human beings have always been creative, of course, but now creativity itself—“the ability to create meaningful new forms,” as Webster’s Dictionary has it—is what powers our economy.
As creativity has become more fundamental, it’s given rise to a whole new social class that works in creative fields (the sciences, education, medicine, technology, media, the arts). Many of them have embraced a new ethos and a new set of meritocratic norms that in turn have shifted our whole society.
If anything Creativity is an even more powerfully transformative force than it was a decade ago. The Creative Class has come through the last decade—and through the economic crash of 2008—stronger and more influential than ever.
Morris: In your opinion, why have we not as yet unleashed “that great reservoir of overlooked and underutilized human potential”?
Florida: If a third of our most fortunate workers belong to the Creative Class, the other two great classes are not faring anywhere near as well. The working class, our blue collar sector, has lost a third of its members in just the last decade—it represents just 20 percent of the workforce today, about the same share that farmers held at the turn of the last century (they are less than one percent of the economy today). About half of the workforce belongs to the Service Class—the people who serve our food, cut our lawns and our fingernails, take care of our elderly. Most of them are paid terribly and there are very few opportunities for advancement.
Class and geography have a huge impact on your destiny in the US—if your parents don’t have good jobs and good educations and you live in a state that has a smaller Creative Class share, the odds are that you’ll be poorer, travel less, and receive a worse education than your peers in more creative states. That’s not snobbery or elitism—that’s just statistics. Poorer states have shorter life expectancies too—there is more smoking and obesity, more gun violence, and worse health outcomes across the board.
This is why I’m so passionate about the need for change—for a new Creative Compact, as I put it, that will do for our own epoch what the New Deal did for its own generation.
Morris: What are the defining characteristics of the Creative Class?
Florida: I define the Creative Class by what people do—by the kinds of jobs they hold. What I call the Super-Creative Core of the Creative Class are scientists and engineers, university professors, poets and novelists, artists, entertainers, actors, designers, and architects, as well as the thought leadership of modern society: nonfiction writers, editors, cultural figures, think-tank researchers, analysts, and other opinion shapers. I define the highest order of creative work as the production of new forms or designs that are readily transferable and widely useful—such as designing a consumer product, coming up with a theorem or strategy that can be applied in many situations, or composing music that can be performed again and again.
The Creative Class doesn’t just solve problems—it finds problems that we didn’t know we had. It invents the iPod and then it figures out a better way to organize its music library—and to combine it with a telephone, and an e-book reader while giving its battery longer life.
Beyond this core group, the Creative Class also includes “creative professionals” who work in a wide range of knowledge-intensive industries, such as high-tech, financial services, the legal and health professions, and business management, who engage in creative problem solving. Creative Class people are smart and skilled; they’re often (but not always) highly educated. Three quarters of degree holders belong to the Creative Class, but less than 60 percent of the Creative Class has degrees.
I talk a lot about “creatifying” jobs that are not considered Creative Class, but could be, such as retail sales. With the addition of creativity such jobs can become more productive and earn higher and higher salaries. Services can be creatified too, as their providers become more entrepreneurial.
Richard cordially invites you to check out the resources at these websites:
To read the complete second interview, please click here.
To read my first interview of him, please click here.
To read my review of his latest book, The Rise of the Creative Class, Revisited: 10th Anniversary Edition, please click here.
An expert in the fields of charisma, trust, influence and persuasion, Olivia Fox Cabane gives people the skills and the self-confidence that lead to outstanding performance. From a base of thorough behavioral science, she extracts the most practical tools for business; giving her clients techniques she originally developed for Harvard and MIT. Olivia has lectured at Stanford, Yale, Harvard, MIT and the United Nations; she is a frequent keynote speaker and executive coach to the leadership of Fortune 500 companies. In addition to being a regular columnist for Forbes, she is often featured in media such as The New York Times, Bloomberg or BusinessWeek; and was recently profiled in The Wall Street Journal. A former Advisory Board Member of Columbia University’s AIESEC Council, Olivia has both French and American nationalities and is fluent in four languages. She is the youngest person ever to have been appointed Foreign Trade Advisor to the French Government. Her latest book is The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, published by Portfolio/The Penguin Group (2012)
Here is an excerpt from my interview of her. To read the complete interview, please click here.
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Morris: Before discussing The Charisma Myth, a few general questions. Years ago, was there a turning point (if not an epiphany) that set you on the career course you continue to follow? Please explain.
Cabane: In my late teenage years I was such a socially inept and awkward introvert that I realized I really only had two choices: either exile myself to a desert island or figure out how to make this whole human thing work. I chose the latter– but I’m still keeping the desert island option open… By my late teens I had become quite anxious about my ability to ever smoothly function in society, and was therefore extremely keen to study anything that might help me interact better with other people.
Morris: All organizations need effective leadership at all levels and in all areas. How best to develop that leadership?
Cabane: The one perspective that I can bring to the table is on how leaders can be charismatic; high charisma can certainly be useful in effective leadership. There are costs to be borne depending on what sorts of charisma you want to wield. Effective leaders need to understand what sort of charisma they’ve got, and the costs associated with that. A good leader might want to enhance their natural form of charisma or develop alternative forms, appropriate to the costs that they think are acceptable.
Morris: Many peak performers in executive search claim that they can make an accurate, almost definitive evaluation of a candidate within the first 3-5 minutes of an interview. Is that possible? Please explain.
Cabane: Whether or not such an impression is accurate, the fact is that people do make snap judgments in about two seconds, regarding other people’s education, intelligence, trustworthiness, and even their level of social success. This topic is explored in the book in some depth, including how you can take control of, and influence, such snap judgments
Morris: When asked why she wrote Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, here is Susan Cain’s response: “For the same reason that Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique in 1963. Introverts are to extroverts what women were to men at that time–second-class citizens with gigantic amounts of untapped talent. Our schools, workplaces, and religious institutions are designed for extroverts, and many introverts believe that there is something wrong with them and that they should try to ‘pass’ as extroverts. The bias against introversion leads to a colossal waste of talent, energy, and, ultimately, happiness.”
Do you agree? If so, how can introverts obtain “full citizenship”?
Cabane: One of the myths that get busted in the book is that introversion is a handicap for charisma. In reality, introversion can be a major asset for certain forms of charisma, such as Focused Charisma. Introverts feel no compulsion to be in the spotlight, which allows them to effectively implement many of the likability techniques described in the book.
Morris: Now please shift your attention to The Charisma Myth. When and why did you decide to write it?
Cabane: The honest answer is that the publisher came to me, because they’d heard about the lectures that I give and the consulting that I do in this area. They were interested in charisma explained from the science perspective, and they understood that there simply aren’t many people who know the hard science behind it, and who can also make it fun, and engaging, and practical.
Morris: Were there any head-snapping revelations while writing it? Please explain.
Cabane: There were quite a few! Here are two of my favorites. The first has to do with just how prevalent the impostor syndrome is, and just how high the levels of business are that it reaches. The second is about how effective some real-life Jedi Mind Tricks are, in terms of achieving charismatic body language.
Morris: What are the most common misconceptions about charisma? What in fact is true?
Cabane: Long believed to be an innate, magical quality—the original Greek root χάρισμα refers to a gift of divine grace—charisma has in recent years come under the scrutiny of sociologists, psychologists, and cognitive, behavioral, and even neuroscientists who have found that, far from being an innate, magical quality, charisma is simply the result of learned behaviors. In fact, in controlled laboratory experiments, researchers were able to raise and lower people’s levels of charisma as if they were turning a dial just by asking them to adopt specific (charismatic) behaviors
One common charisma myth is that only extroverts are charismatic. In reality, research shows many charismatic introverts. In Western society, we place such emphasis on the skills and abilities of extroverts that introverts can end up feeling defective and uncool. But introversion can actually be an advantage for certain forms of charisma.
Another myth is that charisma requires attractiveness. Yes, good looks do confer some advantage; but they’re not a necessary condition. In fact, charisma itself makes people more attractive. When instructed to exhibit specific charismatic behaviors in controlled experiments, participants’ levels of attractiveness were rated significantly higher than before.
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To read the complete interview, please click here.
Olivia cordially invites you to check out the resources at her website.
People don’t care about entities that they don’t care about. If someone has a “just a job,” then that is not enough to make them care about the success of an organization. It has to mean something in the depths of their being for them to genuinely care …
This occured to me as I read just a couple of short paragraphs from Tyler Cowen’s blog entry about Harvard’s dominance in the rankings. Here’s the key sentence:
…Therefore, whichever measure of school quality that we use – rank, school selectivity or endowment, we find that same result – the greater the degree of alumni control, the higher the quality of the school.
The article is on why Harvard is always ranked #1. And the answer is “alumni control.”
In other words, people care about what they care about. And alumni usually care a very great deal.
Here’s the source: What Makes Harvard #1? Governance and the Dominance of US Universities.
Here is an excerpt from an exceptionally valuable article written by George Bradt and published by Forbes magazine. To read the complete article, check out other resources, and obtain subscription information, please click here.
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The only three true job interview questions are:
1. Can you do the job?
2. Will you love the job?
3. Can we tolerate working with you?
That’s it. Those three. Think back, every question you’ve ever posed to others or had asked of you in a job interview is a subset of a deeper in-depth follow-up to one of these three key questions. Each question potentially may be asked using different words, but every question, however it is phrased, is just a variation on one of these topics: Strengths, Motivation, and Fit.
Can You Do the Job? – Strengths
Executive Search firm Heidrick & Struggles CEO, Kevin Kelly, explained to me that it’s not just about the technical skills, but also about leadership and interpersonal strengths. Technical skills help you climb the ladder. As you get there, managing up, down and across become more important.
“You can’t tell by looking at a piece of paper what some of the strengths and weaknesses really are…We ask for specific examples of not only what’s been successful but what they’ve done that hasn’t gone well or a task they they’ve, quite frankly, failed at and how they learned from that experience and what they’d do different in a new scenario.
“Not only is it important to look at the technical skill set they have…but also the strengths on what I call the EQ side of the equation in terms of getting along and dealing or interacting with people.”
Click here for more on interviewing and being interviewed for strengths.
Will You Love the Job? –Motivation
Cornerstone International Group CEO, Bill Guy emphasizes the changing nature of motivation,
“…younger employees do not wish to get paid merely for working hard—just the reverse: they will work hard because they enjoy their environment and the challenges associated with their work…. Executives who embrace this new management style are attracting and retaining better employees.”
Click here for more on interviewing and being interviewed for motivation.
Can We Tolerate Working With You? – Fit
Continuing on with our conversation, Heidrick’s Kelly went on to explain the importance of cultural fit:
“A lot of it is cultural fit and whether they are going to fit well into the organization… The perception is that when (senior leaders) come into the firm, a totally new environment, they know everything. And they could do little things such as send emails in a voicemail culture that tend to negatively snowball over time. Feedback or onboarding is critical. If you don’t get that feedback, you will get turnover later on.”
“40 percent of senior executives leave organizations or are fired or pushed out within 18 months. It’s not because they’re dumb; it’s because a lot of times culturally they may not fit in with the organization or it’s not clearly articulated to them as they joined.”
Click here for more on interviewing and being interviewed for fit.
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George Bradt has a unique perspective on transformational leadership based on his combined senior line management and consulting experience. After his education at Harvard and Wharton, George progressed through sales, marketing and general management roles around the world at Fortune 500 companies including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and then J.D. Power and Associates as chief executive of its Power Information Network spin off. Now he is a Principal of CEO Connection and Managing Director of PrimeGenesis, the executive onboarding and transition acceleration group he founded in 2002. Since then, George and PrimeGenesis have reduced the risk of failure fourfold for executives they have worked with – from 40% to 10% – based on their own team, tools and perspective on delivering better results faster.
His published works include Onboarding: How to Get Your New Employees Up to Speed in Half the Time (2009) and The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan: How to Take Charge, Build Your Team, and Get Immediate Results (2011). You can contact George directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Geoffrey Moore is chairman emeritus of three Silicon-Valley-based consulting firms he helped found: The Chasm Group, the Chasm Institute, and TCG Advisors, all of which provide market development and business strategy services to many leading high-technology companies. He is also a Venture Partner with Mohr Davidow Ventures, a California-based venture capital firm investing in IT, bioinformatics, and clean tech, where he provides market strategy advice to their portfolio companies. Geoffrey is a frequent speaker and lecturer at industry conferences and his books are required reading at Stanford, Harvard, MIT and other leading business schools.
Escape Velocity is Geoffrey’s sixth book. His first two, Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado, focus on the challenges of market development for disruptive innovation, with his third book, The Gorilla Game, co-authored by Tom Kippola and Paul Johnson, address the investor implications of these models. In the past decade Moore shifted his focus to the challenges established enterprises face in keeping up with technology disruptions, resulting in a second trilogy, made up of Living on the Fault Line, Dealing with Darwin, as well as his latest book, Escape Velocity: Free Your Company’s Future from the Pull of the Past.
Here is an excerpt from the interview. To read all of it, please click here.
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Morris: Before discussing Velocity Escape, a few general questions. First, who has had the greatest influence on your personal growth? How so?
Moore: I’d have to say my wife Marie, and my three children, Margaret, Michael, and Anna. Each one of them exemplifies character traits I aspire to (and regrettably fall short of all too often!). Some of these traits include the ability to be silent (hardly my strong suit), to produce art both as performers and creators, and to empathize in situations where it would be far easier to criticize.
Morris: The greatest impact on your professional development? How so?
Moore: My very first boss in business, Don Parr, hired me as a training director into a software company. completely on the basis of all potential, as I had no direct experience in business and certainly none in technology. I remember telling him after a few weeks on the job that the only person who did not have a training program was me. He said, “Oh no, you do have a program. It’s called the pretend method of training.” I asked, “How so?” His reply: “Well, when you applied for this job you pretended that you knew how to do it, and I pretended that I believed you, and now you have to make it so or you will make us both look foolish.”
Morris: Was there a turning point (if not an epiphany) in your life that set you on the career course that you continue to follow? Please explain.
Moore: I was teaching literature at Olivet, a small college in Michigan, and Marie and I realized we wanted to raise our family closer to our families on the West Coast. There was no chance that we would be able to do that and have me stay in my chosen profession. So we sort of just jumped and trusted that something good we be there at the other end. It certainly has worked out that way, which I think is a testimony in part to a good liberal arts education preparing one, really, for anything.
Morris: To what extent has your formal education proven invaluable to what you have accomplished in your life thus far?
Moore: Literary criticism is all about inference, analysis, and synthesis—and so is marketing. Both are all about understanding and creating stories, testing them for appeal, credibility, consistency, and so forth. Particularly in venture capital, the story is the most credible part of the pitch—the spreadsheets by far the most fictitious.
Morris: In your opinion, who should be centrally involved in formulating an organization’s strategy?
Moore: Strategy has to be owned and sponsored by the CEO—period. How much the CEO engages the rest of the team is a matter of culture, style and preference. There is no right answer. That said, in our practice we have found that when people are involved in creating strategy, they are much more likely to commit deeply to implementing it.
Morris: By what specific process should it be formulated?
Moore: As outlined in the book, we propose taking three passes at it, the first focused on vision¸ to set the context, the second on strategy per se, and the third on execution, to ensure its implementation. We believe that these dialogs are typically best conducted on an annual basis, and scheduled the quarter before next year’s annual planning and budgeting process begins.
Morris: What are the most common misconceptions about what strategy is…and isn’t. What in fact is true?
Moore: Strategy is all about aligning with forces in the world so that you can accomplish your mission or goals. It must start with an act of description¸ therefore, in preparation for an act of prescription, that specifies how you are going to act in order to achieve the alignments and outcomes you desire. The most common mistake with strategy is to start with a focus on what you want, and even worse, what metrics you want to achieve, and then to go out and try to impose that on the world without other considerations.
Morris: Here are two of my favorite quotations. Please respond to each. First, from Peter Drucker: “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.”
Moore: Possibly redoing it might trump this, but not much else. So yes, doing the right things has to take priority over doing things right. But strategy should not denigrate staying the course or steady as she goes. There are times and places where that is by far the most effective path forward.
Morris: And next, from Michael Porter: “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”
Moore: I disagree. I do think this is a good litmus test for testing an organization’s level of commitment to strategic action—if you won’t give up anything, then you are not making much of a commitment. My nominee for essence is the asymmetrical bet, doing something that your direct competitors simply will not copy because it goes beyond what is reasonable and prudent. The only justification is that it defines your core so directly that it is worth the risk to you—but not to anyone else.
Morris: In your opinion, what is the single greatest challenge that CEOs will face during (let’s say) the next 3-5 years? Any advice for them?
Moore: Two challenges in tandem—globalization, which will reward them for taking the long view, and financial markets, which will drive them to take the short view. Like Odysseus, they have to sail the right path between cave of Scylla and the whirlpool of Charbydis.
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To read all of my second interview of Geoff, please click here.
To read my first interview of him, please click here.
He cordially invites you to check out the resources at these websites:
Terry R. Bacon is a Scholar in Residence in the Korn/Ferry Institute. Previously, he was founder and CEO of Lore International Institute. He has a B.S. in engineering from West Point and a PhD in literary studies from The American University. He has also studied business and leadership at Goddard College, Roosevelt University, University of Chicago, Wharton, Stanford, and Harvard. He is a prolific author and speaker, having written more than one hundred articles, white papers, and books, including Selling to Major Accounts, Winning Behavior, The Behavioral Advantage, Adaptive Coaching, Powerful Proposals, What People Want, and The Elements of Power: Lessons on Leadership and Influence (AMACOM, January 2011). Bacon’s latest book, Elements of Influence: The Art of Getting Others to Follow Your Lead, was also published by AMACOM in July 2011.
He is chairman of the Fort Lewis College Foundation board and president of Music in the Mountains, a summer classical music festival in Durango, Colorado. During the last four years, Leadership Excellence has named him one of the top 100 thinkers on leadership in the world. You can learn more about him and his ideas and works at http://www.terryrbacon.com/, http://www.theelementsofpower.com/ or http://www.booksbyterryrbacon.com/.
Here is an excerpt from my second interview of Terry. To read the complete interview, please click here.
To read my first interview of him, please click here.
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Morris: When and why did you decide to write Elements of Influence?
Bacon: I have been researching power and influence for more than 20 years. In 1990, I created the Survey of Influence Effectiveness, a 360-degree assessment of power, influence frequency, and influence effectiveness. After the instrument was validated, we began collecting data from business people around the world. Several years ago, I began to analyze the data and found that we had a gold mine of information on how people build their power bases and how they use power to lead and influence others. Some of the results confirmed my hypotheses about power and influence, but other results were unexpected and gave me some new insights into leadership through influence.
Morris: To what extent is it an extension of Elements of Power?
Bacon: I began writing them at the same time. Initially, I had intended to write one book on power and influence, but the more I wrote the more I realized that the subject was bigger than I could reasonably explore in a single book. I had lunch in New York with my editor, Ellen Kadin, and told her how large the book had become, and she suggested separating the topics and doing two books. So Elements of Influence is very much an extension of The Elements of Power. They complement each other very well.
Morris: What differentiates it from Elements of Power?
Bacon: In The Elements of Power, I describe the eleven sources of power people can have—where that power comes from, how people can become powerful in each of the eleven ways, and how those power sources can become power drains. Character, for instance, can be a huge source of power for people who are perceived to be moral exemplars, but if they do something unethical or immoral, they can lose that power very quickly. Eliot Spitzer is a good example of this. Throughout this book, I also explain how readers can build each of these power sources. The second book, Elements of Influence, describes how people use their power to lead and influence others. This book describes the ten ethical influence techniques and the four unethical means of influencing others. Together, these books provide a complete picture of what enables anyone to make a difference in the world. The subtitle of the influence book is The Art of Getting Others to Follow Your Lead, and that really captures the essence of both books.
Morris: Were there any head-snapping revelations while writing Elements of Influence?
Bacon: I had done a substantial amount of research before writing the book, so many of the head-snapping revelations occurred as I was reviewing the research findings. It was impossible not to be surprised and amazed as I examined those findings in depth and realized that some of my preconceptions about power and influence were wrong and as I learned more about this fascinating topic. One huge surprise, for instance, was the enormous leverage that expressiveness power has on a person’s effectiveness at leading and influencing others. Another surprise was how power and influence differed in the 45 cultures I studied. Of course, I also had some interesting revelations as I wrote the book. As a writer, I always create a fairly detailed outline of a book before I start writing, but the writing process itself is always one of discovery. For me, that is one of the joys of writing. No matter how much I think I know about a subject, I always discover more—and have some intriguing realizations—as I write.
Morris: To what extent (if any) does it differ in final form from what you originally envisioned? Please explain.
Bacon: As a writer, I do a tremendous amount of up-front work on books, so I know what the books is about, what I’m going to say in each chapter, and essentially how the book will look when it’s finished. So, once I’d made the decision to write about the power and influence topics in separate books, the final form of those books did not differ substantially from what I had originally envisioned. However, the content of the chapters evolved as I wrote them because, for me, like other writers, the process of writing is a journey of clarification and discovery.
Morris: What are the most significant differences between your book and others that also examine influence, persuasion, etc?
Bacon: A number of the books on influence and persuasion are primarily oriented toward marketing, so when those authors speak about influencing people, they often mean influencing consumers or buyers. Even Robert Cialdini’s classic book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, emphasizes how influence is used by marketers, peddlers, and salespeople. In Elements of Influence and the work I’ve done on power, I have focused more broadly on how people influence each other in everyday life: in business, at home, at school, in the professions, in the arts, and so on. I’m not as interested in the marketing applications of influence as I am in how people try to influence each other all the time. Furthermore, as comprehensive as Cialdini is, he doesn’t discuss every influence technique, such as engaging people by consulting them or influencing scores of people by being a role model. Gandhi, for instance, continues to influence millions of people (who never knew him) by being a role model of non-violent resistance.
Some other books on influence make outlandish claims. One promises to teach you how to get anyone to do anything. Another, titled The Science of Influence, claims that you can get anyone to say yes in eight minutes or less. Books like these are not scientific, and the claims they make don’t just border on the ridiculous, they ARE the ridiculous. Yes, people learn to become better at influencing, but to get anyone to do anything? In eight minutes or less? As I note in my book, if these claims were remotely reasonable, then why is there still conflict in the Middle East? People are more complicated than these authors imagine, and the claims they make on their book covers are good selling tools—but they’re false.
Morris: You refer to influence as an “art” but also suggest that there are elements of science involved when getting others to take one’s lead – to believe something wants them to think, or do something one wants them to do. Please explain.
Bacon: The art in influence comes in the ability to read others, intuit how they will respond to different forms of influence, build commonality and rapport with them, observe carefully and adapt as you interact with them. The science comes in understanding and applying the ten laws of influence, in knowing the different influence techniques and when to use them, and in studying the link between operating styles and influence effectiveness and using the principles gleaned from that study to more effectively influence people with different operating styles.
Morris: For those who have not as yet read the book, what are the “ten laws of influence”?
Bacon: First, I think it’s important to define influence. It is the art of getting others to follow your lead—to believe something you want them to believe, think in a way you want them to think, or do something you want them to do. All of us try to influence others every day. We try to persuade others to accept our point of view on a political candidate, or we try to get them to buy something or accept the price we’re willing to pay for something they are trying to sell to us. Whether you are arguing a point, making a proposal, interviewing for a job, or asking for a raise, you are trying to influence people. And leadership is entirely about influencing other people. The basic principles of influence are what I call the ten laws, and they are:
1. Influence attempts may fail for many legitimate reasons. No matter how skilled you are, you won’t be able to influence everyone all the time.
2. Influence is contextual. People won’t be influenced unless they have the latitude to say yes, unless saying yes is consistent with their interests and values, and unless they have an agreeable disposition.
3. Influence is often a process rather than an event. You won’t always succeed the first time, but if you persist you may eventually succeed.
4. Influence is cultural. People in different cultures often respond differently to the same influence technique.
5. Ethical influence is consensual and often bilateral.
6. Unethical influence may succeed—but always at a cost.
7. People respond best to the influence techniques they use themselves.
8. If you are observant, people will reveal what they find most influential.
9. Influence usually involves a mix of techniques.
10. The more power you have, the more influential you will be.
If you understand these fundamental laws, you will be more influential.
Morris: Which of the ten fundamentals do most people find most difficult to master? Why?
Bacon: Number 8. If you watch people carefully and note how they try to influence you or other people, you can discover how best to influence them (and this law is based on law number 7. A man who tries to influence you by giving you the logical reasons for doing something is likely to respond well to logic himself. A woman who tries to influence you by citing an authority will probably respond well to legitimizing (an influence technique that works by appealing to authority). I’ve seen people who know this intuitively, but I’ve also seen others who struggle with it. They’ll try to use logic, and when logic doesn’t work, they’ll try a different logical argument. When that doesn’t work (and they become frustrated), they’ll try more logic. Instead, they should pay attention to what the person they are trying to influence is most responsive to and adapt accordingly.
Morris: Can almost anyone master the skills needed to possess and exert great influence?
Bacon: Yes, but the first step is to build their power base. If you don’t have considerable power, you won’t be able to exert great influence. The next step is to build your influencing skills and then learning to adapt your technique to the person and the situation. For example, if I want to be capable of influencing a number of people at one time and inspiring them to action, I need to be very good at an influence technique called “appealing to values.” The power sources that make appealing to values effective are expressiveness (being a superb communicator), character (being considered honest and trustworthy), attraction (having people like me or want to be near me), and reputation (being well regarded in my organization or society). I also need to be highly skilled at conveying energy and enthusiasm, building rapport and trust with others, listening, appearing self-confident, and using a compelling tone of voice. Many people can improve their skills in these areas. The most influential people become masters at them. Becoming a real master at influencing others may take years, but if they apply themselves everyone can become more influential than they are now.
Here is an excerpt from an article written by William Deresiewicz for his “All Points” column that is featured online by The American Scholar website.
“The American Scholar is the venerable but lively quarterly magazine of public affairs, literature, science, history, and culture published by the Phi Beta Kappa Society since 1932. In recent years the magazine has won four National Magazine Awards, the industry’s highest honor, and many of its essays and articles have been selected for the yearly Best American anthologies.”
Given the recent S.E.A.L. mission in Pakistan, I think this article has even greater meaning and significance.
To read the complete article, check out other resources, sign up for email updates, and obtain subscription information, please click here.
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If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts.
The lecture below was delivered to the plebe class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in October of last year. mind solitude, the ability to be alone with your thoughts. And yet I submit to you that solitude is one of the most important necessities of true leadership. This lecture will be an attempt to explain why.
We need to begin by talking about what leadership really means. I just spent 10 years teaching at another institution that, like West Point, liked to talk a lot about leadership, Yale University. A school that some of you might have gone to had you not come here, that some of your friends might be going to. And if not Yale, then Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and so forth. These institutions, like West Point, also see their role as the training of leaders, constantly encourage their students, like West Point, to regard themselves as leaders among their peers and future leaders of society. Indeed, when we look around at the American elite, the people in charge of government, business, academia, and all our other major institutions—senators, judges, CEOs, college presidents, and so forth—we find that they come overwhelmingly either from the Ivy League and its peer institutions or from the service academies, especially West Point.
So I began to wonder, as I taught at Yale, what leadership really consists of. My students, like you, were energetic, accomplished, smart, and often ferociously ambitious, but was that enough to make them leaders? Most of them, as much as I liked and even admired them, certainly didn’t seem to me like leaders. Does being a leader, I wondered, just mean being accomplished, being successful? Does getting straight As make you a leader? I didn’t think so. Great heart surgeons or great novelists or great shortstops may be terrific at what they do, but that doesn’t mean they’re leaders. Leadership and aptitude, leadership and achievement, leadership and even ex cellence have to be different things, otherwise the concept of leadership has no meaning. And it seemed to me that that had to be especially true of the kind of excellence I saw in the students around me.
See, things have changed since I went to college in the ’80s. Everything has gotten much more intense. You have to do much more now to get into a top school like Yale or West Point, and you have to start a lot earlier. We didn’t begin thinking about college until we were juniors, and maybe we each did a couple of extracurriculars. But I know what it’s like for you guys now. It’s an endless series of hoops that you have to jump through, starting from way back, maybe as early as junior high school. Classes, standardized tests, extracurriculars in school, extracurriculars outside of school. Test prep courses, admissions coaches, private tutors. I sat on the Yale College admissions committee a couple of years ago. The first thing the admissions officer would do when presenting a case to the rest of the committee was read what they call the “brag” in admissions lingo, the list of the student’s extracurriculars. Well, it turned out that a student who had six or seven extracurriculars was already in trouble. Because the students who got in—in addition to perfect grades and top scores—usually had 10 or 12.
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To read the complete article, check out other resources, sign up for email updates, and obtain subscription information, please click here.
William Deresiewicz is an essayist and critic. His book, A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, will be published later this month. His piece in the Spring 2010 issue of the SCHOLAR, “Solitude and Leadership,” is a finalist for this year’s National Magazine Award in the category of Essays & Criticism.
Here is an excerpt of an interview of Roger Angell by Dave Weich for the Powell’s Books website. To read the complete interview and interviews of other prominent authors, please click here.
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In the spring of 1962, William Shawn sent Roger Angell to Florida to write about spring training. Forty-one years (and three New Yorker editors) later, Angell still covers baseball for the magazine. “No other sport has been so well served by any other writer,” Jonathan Yardley once noted in the Washington Post Book World.
Now, Game Time gathers the best of Angell’s writing, from that inaugural effort to last autumn’s review of Anaheim’s improbable championship run. In a special introduction written for the new collection, Pulitzer Prize winner (and former Inside Sports columnist) Richard Ford observes:
“Roger Angell has been writing about baseball for more than forty years—mostly for The New Yorker magazine—and for my money he’s the best there is at it. There’s no writer I know whose writing on sport, and particularly baseball, is as anticipated, as often reread and passed from hand to hand by knowledgeable baseball enthusiasts as Angell’s is, or whose work is more routinely and delightedly read by those who really aren’t enthusiasts. Among the thirty selections in this volume are several individual essays and profiles (the Bob Gibson profile, ‘Distance,’ for instance) which can be counted in that extremely small group of sports articles that people talk over and quote for decades, and which have managed to make a lasting contribution to the larger body of American writing.”
Now a senior editor at The New Yorker, over the years the Harvard graduate has fostered into print the work of John Updike, Garrison Keillor, and William Trevor, among many others. Yet Angell, who turns 83 this year, remains as productive as ever. In 2001, he published his first full-length book, A Pitcher’s Story: Innings with David Cone, and recently he contributed introductions to several classic works by his stepfather, E. B. White.
“I’m writing a piece right now,” he says, “a memoir about automobile trips, driving around when I was in my teens, and before that, in the 1930s.” Welcome news for us all.
The opening piece, the first spring training piece, “The Old Folks Behind Home” [click here to read it], I hadn’t read for years. That was the first baseball piece I wrote. Believe me, I had no idea what would follow. I never saw this as a career. I really didn’t. And I think it’s a good thing, too, because if you say, “Oh, this is my career,” that’s when you stiffen up and begin to aim the ball.
In that first piece, you write about watching Whitey Ford and Warren Spahn pitch:
“Suddenly I saw that from my seat behind first base the two pitchers—the two best left-handers in baseball, the two best left- or right-handers in baseball—were in a direct line with each other, Ford exactly superimposed on Spahn? throwing baseballs in the same fragment of space. Ford, with his short, businesslike windup, was shoulders and quickness, while, behind him, Spahn would slowly kick his right leg up high and to the left, peering over his shoulder as he leaned back, and then deliver the ball with an easy, explosive sweep. It excited me to a ridiculous extent.”
Did you have any idea what you’d be writing about when you started that spring? How you’d be approaching the subject?
I had no idea. I knew I wasn’t a baseball writer. I was scared to death. I really was afraid to talk to players, and I didn’t want to go into the press box because I thought I was faking it.
I was in my thirties. I wasn’t a kid. I think that instinctively I thought I’d have to trust myself and to report about what I was seeing, what I was thinking as a fan, and not to try to fake it by being knowing about these players and their deliveries and all that stuff which I later learned about. This has run all through my work. I’ve never been told that I have to be objective. I can take sides and I can say how I feel.
Even then, I did sense that nobody was writing about the fans. Since I’m a fan (I’m a different kind of a fan now), I could say we and talk about people watching a Giants game or a Mets game or a Red Sox game. I could say we as a bunch of New England fans, whatever. That allows me to be a lot more open to feelings and maybe judgments, as well.
There’s a piece in Game Time where Tom Seaver talks about the mechanics of pitching, standing in front of his locker breaking down the elements of his wind-up for you and a few other writers; then later in that same chapter Don Sutton, a pitcher with an entirely different motion, follows with his take. When I read that, I remembered a piece published in Season Ticket where you queried catchers in much the same way, specifically about the mechanics of their jobs.
That led to a very long piece. I liked that a lot.
The great thing about catchers is that they do a lot of different things, and they’re basically overlooked. As I think I wrote in that piece, it’s maybe because they’re facing the other way; we don’t think about them. But there’s a lot to catching, and catchers tend to be smart.
Once I could persuade these guys that all I wanted to hear from them was what they did—Tell me what you do—once you can persuade someone that this is all you’re after, you can’t shut them up because we’re all fascinated by what we do. If we’re lucky, anyway. Some of these guys were great talkers. Ted Simmons, who was with Milwaukee then, was one of the great baseball talkers. I saw him in spring training again this year, and I thanked him for his paragraphs.
A catcher who makes several appearances in Game Time is Tim McCarver. He has interesting things to say about what goes on on the field, but also about the sport’s place in our culture.
Tim is unusual because he is such an enthusiast for the game. A lot of people I know can’t stand him. “I just can’t stand him,” they’ll say. “He’s always blathering on about baseball.” This is not an effort for Tim. He’s extremely excited about it and he knows it through and through.
He’s in that piece on catching, briefly. He loves situations and he doesn’t hesitate to hold back on what he sees out there. This has not always made him popular.
Actually, he’s now done an amazing thing: he’s announced the World Series the last couple years, and he’s twice called the final play—he’s said what to look out for because of the way the batter was being pitched—though it wasn’t the very final play last year because it was in the sixth game. There was another after that, Spiezio’s home run.
I’ve been lucky. I’ve met a lot of baseball people, and I’ve learned to value people who talk—people who talk well and in long sentences and even long paragraphs. One of them is the Giants’ pitching coach and later manager, Roger Craig. A previous book of mine had just come out when I saw him at spring training that year. He was sitting in the outfield, so I went out and shook hands with him. Another writer was already sitting out there. He pointed at me and he said to Craig, “Roger has a new book out. Have you read it?” Craig said, “Read it? Hell, I wrote half of it!”
You tell a story in the book similar to one Doris Kearns Goodwin tells in Wait Till Next Year, maybe one that’s common for lots of people who grew up in those years: listening to a ballgame in the afternoon on the radio, keeping score on a pad of paper, then replaying the action from your notes for your father when he returned from work.
That was the first time I did a box score on my own outside a ballpark. It was in 1933. I think the Giants were playing the Senators. There was no television back then, but they did radio now and then. My father was a lawyer, so I got one of his yellow legal pads and quickly ruled out the line-ups and took it all down. It was fascinating. I was twelve years old, or just turned thirteen.
These days, do you listen to games on the radio? Do you prefer to watch on TV or to be at the ballpark?
I listen to the radio if I’m driving or sometimes if I’m in the country. I watch quite a lot of televised baseball, but the trouble with televised baseball for all of us is that we’ve become so impatient by television in general that if nothing is happening we flick over to see what’s on HBO or what’s happening in that other game. If I’m watching the Yankees, I’ll see what the Mets are doing. It doesn’t really satisfy you in the end.
Baseball is meant to be watched all the way through. Sure, it’s boring. There are boring innings and sometimes there turn out to be bad games, but you’re not going to have a feeling for the good games unless you’re willing to watch.
I think I wrote once that baseball in many ways is very much like reading. I said there are more bad books than bad ballgames, or maybe it was the other way around. I can’t remember. But each have formal chapters. There are wonderful beginnings that don’t stand up and boring beginnings that are great in the end. You just don’t know. They’re both, baseball and reading, for people who aren’t afraid of being bored.
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To read the complete interview of Roger Angell, please click here.
Here is an excerpt from an article written by Shawn Achor for the Harvard Business Review blog. To read the complete article, check out other articles and resources, and/or sign up for a free subscription to Harvard Business Review’s Daily Alerts, please click here.
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I had gone to bed at midnight. It was now two in the morning. I was still awake, stressed thinking about my book, which — ironically — is about happiness.
Trying to unwind, I opened my laptop and started watching clips from The Daily Show.
An ad for a popular sleep aid came on that I thought was still part of the satire; while the first 20 seconds promised me that if I took it, I could go right to sleep, for the next 40 seconds a soothing voice told me that if I took the pill, I would also risk seizure, sudden heart attack, hallucinations, extreme levels of anger, swallowing my tongue, and might commit suicide. After an ad like that, I knew if I took that pill I’d be much too stressed about the possible side effects to ever fall asleep.
I realized this was no joke — it was a real ad. And I realized this is exactly how corporate trainings talk about stress at work.
In order to get companies and employees to take stress seriously, for the past 30 years, most trainers and coaches have highlighted research that shows that stress is the number one health threat in the US (World Health Organization) ; that 70-90% of doctor visits are due to stress-related issue (American Stress Institute); and that stress is linked to the six leading causes of death. (American Psychological Association).
But what if focusing on the negative impact of stress only makes it worse — just like thinking about the side effects of a sleeping pill would keep me up at night? And what would happen if we reframed the way we thought about stress?
To test that question, Yale researcher Alia Crum and I teamed up with senior leaders at UBS to research 380 managers to see if we could turn stress from debilitating to enhancing merely by changing mindset at work.
As a Harvard man myself, I usually make it a rule to not work with people from Yale. [That is a comment typical of those who attend a college in Cambridge, Massachusetts.] But Crum is well-known for her mindfulness research with Ellen Langer
and has studied how our mindset changes our health. One of the first things we uncovered was that the typical corporate training on stress seemed to unintentionally raise stress.
Think about it: how did you feel after reading the statistics above on stress, health, and death? First, even if you weren’t stressed, stats like these cause you to respond to stress with a “fight or flight” mentality. Stress is portrayed as a threat, so we either need to fight it or flee from it, overactivating our sympathetic nervous system. And second, if you are already feeling stressed, now you have even more reason to feel distressed as you know your stress is literally killing you. (Good luck falling asleep now.)
There is an alternative approach which we found to be much more successful. Crum and I showed different three-minute videos to two groups of UBS managers. The first group watched a video detailing all the findings about how stress is debilitating. The second group watched a video that talked about scientific findings that stress enhances the human brain and body. The latter information is less well known, but equally true. Stress can cause the human brain to use more of its capabilities, improve memory and intelligence, increase productivity, and even speed recovery from things like knee surgery.
Research indicates that stress, even at high levels, creates greater mental toughness, deeper relationships, heightened awareness, new perspectives, a sense of mastery, a greater appreciation for life, a heightened sense of meaning, and strengthened priorities.
The findings of our study were significant: when an individual thought about stress as enhancing, instead of debilitating, they embraced the reality of their current stress level and used it to their advantage. The negative parts of stress (distress) started to diminish, because the fight-or-flight response was not activated, and the individual felt more productive and energetic, as well as reporting significantly fewer physical symptoms associated with distress (such as headaches, backaches, fatigue). In addition, on a scale of 1 to 4, productivity assessment moved from 1.9 to 2.6 — a significant shift. Life satisfaction scores also increased, which in previous studies has been found to be one of the greatest predictors of productivity and happiness at work.
Encouraged by these results, Crum and I then trained 200 managers in a program called “Rethinking Stress,” focusing on how to use current stress to their advantage at work. The process involved three steps: awareness of the stress, determining the meaning behind why you feel stressed, then redirecting the stress response to improve productivity behind that meaning. The effects of this second experiment were even more dramatic. Not only did distress decrease, but the stress these managers experienced actually became more enhancing, raising work effectiveness and improving health.
Our intention is not to make the case that stress is fundamentally enhancing or try to debunk the literature that stress does indeed have deteriorating effects.
Rather our intention is to balance out the stress research and to point out that one’s mindset regarding stress may determine which response will be produced. Stress at work is a reality.
And this study does not indicate that someone should actively seek to increase one’s stress load. But, as Patriots head coach Bill Belichick says, “It is what it is.” Some stress is inevitable. When stress happens, thinking of it as enhancing rather than debilitating can lessen the risk to your health and materially improve your productivity and performance.
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In 2006, he was Head Teaching Fellow for “Positive Psychology,” the most popular course at Harvard at the time. He holds a Masters from Harvard Divinity School and has spoken in 45 countries to a wide variety of audiences, including bankers on Wall Street, students in Dubai, and CEOs in Zimbabwe. To request a copy of the study, please go to goodthinkinc.com. He’d like to give a special thanks to Michelle Bleiberg and Steve Erickson from UBS.
I also highly recommend Paul Sullivan’s Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Other Don’t and Tony Schwartz’s latest book, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working (recently re-issued as Be Good at Everything) in which he offers excellent advice on how to increase energy efficiency in the workplace, with special emphasis on the importance of systematic, institutionalized renewal of energy as well as Tal Ben-Shahar’s Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment.