Keith Sawyer is one of the world’s leading scientific experts on creativity and innovation. In his first job after graduating from MIT, he designed videogames for Atari. He then worked for six years as a management consultant in Boston and New York, advising large corporations on the strategic use of information technology. He’s been a jazz pianist for over 30 years, and performed with several improv theater groups in Chicago, as part of his research into jazz and improvisational theater.
Previous to Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity, his books include Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration and Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation, and he has published over 80 scientific articles. Sawyer is a professor of education, psychology, and business at Washington University in St. Louis.
Here is an excerpt from my interview of him. To read the complete interview, please click here.
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Morris: Who has had the greatest impact on your professional development? How so?
Sawyer: I had so many wonderful mentors and advisors that introduced me to creativity research. When I arrived at the University of Chicago as a doctoral student, I had long been interested in musical and artistic creativity, but I had no idea this was a field of scientific research. When I applied to grad school, I wanted to study conversational dynamics, and I went to University of Chicago to work with the famous linguistic anthropologist, Michael Silverstein. Just by coincidence, my first Fall term on campus, Mike Csikszentmihalyi was teaching a class called “Psychology of Creativity,” and I signed up for it, basically as an elective.
Mike was the one who introduced me to the field and showed me that it was possible to do rigorous empirical study of the creative process. His own dissertation, also at the University of Chicago in the early 1960s, was a study of the creative process of MFA students at the Art Institute of Chicago. For the term project in his class, I interviewed several jazz musicians about their own creative process. Mike liked the paper, and suggested that I revise it and submit it to the Creativity Research Journal. After revision it was accepted, and became my first published journal article, in 1992.
Morris: Years ago, was there a turning point (if not an epiphany) that set you on the career course you continue to follow? Please explain.
Sawyer: I didn’t start graduate school until I was 30. My undergrad degree was in computer science at MIT, and I worked eight years after college in information technology and software development. My first job, I designed videogames for a small company in Cambridge, MA that did many of Atari’s hit videogames, under contract. Then, I worked six years doing management consulting for big money-center banks. At the age of 29, I was really ready for a change; I had always wanted to return to grad school and become a professor, and the time was right. But I didn’t know what I wanted to study or even what departments to apply to. I knew I wanted to study how people communicate through language; I discovered that scholars study this in linguistics, anthropology, sociology, and psychology.
And as a matter of fact, throughout my career since then, I’ve continued to be very interdisciplinary and this is my own approach to creativity research.
Morris: To what extent has your formal education been invaluable to what you have accomplished in life thus far?
Sawyer: I am not one of those people who thinks that schools kill creativity. Teachers and schools taught me so much that I needed to know to do the work I’ve done. My two degrees are from two extremely rigorous environments, MIT and the University of Chicago. What both of these places share is a deep commitment to ideas and inquiry. People really care about getting it right, about what is the truth about a phenomenon. Sometimes people argue, and I mean shouting…just because they really really care about ideas.
Morris: What do you know now about the business world that you wish you knew when you when to work full-time for the first time? Why?
Sawyer: I knew nothing! I was just a nerdy computer science graduate. And the videogame design company was not corporate at all; it was a small startup company that had all of the features we now associate with Internet startups. In 1982, we had a gourmet chef, we had company-paid vacations to Disneyworld…I got my real education about the business world when I started consulting for big companies like Citicorp and AT&T and US West. My mentor was the company founder, Kenan Sahin, who had been a professor in business at MIT. Thanks to him, I essentially received an MBA education on the job.
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To read the complete interview, please click here.
Keith cordially invites you to check out the resources at these websites:
His home page
Keith’s Amazon page
The Zig Zag page
Huffington Post link
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.
Here is an excerpt from an article written by Jonathan Schlefer for the Harvard Business Review blog. To read the complete article, check out the wealth of free resources, and sign up for a subscription to HBR email alerts, please click here.
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One of the best-kept secrets in economics is that there is no case for the invisible hand. After more than a century trying to prove the opposite, economic theorists investigating the matter finally concluded in the 1970s that there is no reason to believe markets are led, as if by an invisible hand, to an optimal equilibrium — or any equilibrium at all. But the message never got through to their supposedly practical colleagues who so eagerly push advice about almost anything. Most never even heard what the theorists said, or else resolutely ignored it.
Of course, the dynamic but turbulent history of capitalism belies any invisible hand. The financial crisis that erupted in 2008 and the debt crises threatening Europe are just the latest evidence. Having lived in Mexico in the wake of its 1994 crisis and studied its politics, I just saw the absence of any invisible hand as a practical fact. What shocked me, when I later delved into economic theory, was to discover that, at least on this matter, theory supports practical evidence.
Adam Smith suggested the invisible hand in an otherwise obscure passage in his Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations in 1776. He mentioned it only once in the book, while he repeatedly noted situations where “natural liberty” does not work. Let banks charge much more than 5% interest, and they will lend to “prodigals and projectors,” precipitating bubbles and crashes. Let “people of the same trade” meet, and their conversation turns to “some contrivance to raise prices.” Let market competition continue to drive the division of labor, and it produces workers as “stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become.”
In the 1870s, academic economists began seriously trying to build “general equilibrium” models to prove the existence of the invisible hand. They hoped to show that market trading among individuals, pursuing self-interest, and firms, maximizing profit, would lead an economy to a stable and optimal equilibrium.
Leon Walras, of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, thought he had succeeded in 1874 with his Elements of Pure Economics, but economists concluded that he had fallen far short. Finally, in 1954, Kenneth Arrow, at Stanford, and Gerard Debreu, at the Cowles Commission at Yale, developed the canonical “general-equilibrium” model, for which they later won the Nobel Prize. Making assumptions to characterize competitive markets, they proved that there exists some set of prices that would balance supply and demand for all goods. However, no one ever showed that some invisible hand would actually move markets toward that level. It is just a situation that might balance supply and demand if by happenstance it occurred.
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To read the complete post, please click here.
Jonathan Schlefer is author of The Assumptions Economists Make (Belknap/Harvard, 2012). The former editor of Technology Review, he holds a Ph.D. in political science from MIT and is currently a research associate at Harvard Business School.
To read more more blog posts by Jonathan Schlefer, please click here.
Here is a brief excerpt from an article written by Mitra Best for the PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Innovation blog. To read the complete article, check out other resources, and sign up for email updates, please click here.
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I spent a good portion of my youth imagining galactic travel, robots on other planets, and space habitats. (And yes, I watched every episode of Star Trek – a remarkable source of new inventions.) So, when Marty Waszak, Strategic Relations Officer at NASA Langley Research Center, a kindred spirit and fellow crusader of innovation, invited me to speak to a group of senior scientists and engineers about the creative process, I was over the moon!
While thrilled with the invitation, I wondered what a lecture from me could possibly contribute to innovation at NASA — the pioneering leader in research, development and design… and an organization filled with rocket scientists.
Then, it occurred to me that PwC and NASA might have a few challenges and opportunities in common. We are both heavily regulated organizations, obligated to deliver projects on budget and on time, staffed with highly technical people, and expected to continuously think creatively to provide clients with competitive advantage.
This realization helped me focus on lessons I’ve learned as the Innovation Leader at PwC and what I could share with NASA.
[Here are the first two of five "lessons.]
Lesson #1: Innovation can come from anyone, anywhere
Innovation is the introduction of anything new or different. Anything new or different implies innovation can happen anywhere, not just in labs or R&D centers, and by anyone, not only scientists and researchers. At PwC, we have simplified our innovation mission into one question that is relevant to every member of our organization: “What can I do differently today to deliver more value to my client?”
Lesson # 2: People want to be engaged and empowered
At a time when user-generated content rules the web, everyone wants to be empowered to develop strategies previously limited to boardrooms in the executive suite. Employees want to be part of something meaningful and big, and they often surprise if given the opportunity. NASA and PwC, hire some of the brightest people. Let’s give them a virtual seat in the boardroom and empower them to cultivate their own vision and contribute to the success of the organization.
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To read the complete article, please click here.
Mitra M. Best is the U.S. Innovation Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, leading the disciplined approach to inspire, evaluate and implement innovative ideas across the organization with the critical mission to support the development of new services and market opportunities across industries. Mitra influences and advises PwC senior leaders on new ideas and approaches to organizational strategy, works with clients and third parties to foster open innovation, and promotes the PwC brand as an innovative leader in the marketplace. She joined PricewaterhouseCoopers in April 1999 in the Office of Global CIO, as marketer, technologist and strategist. Before being appointed as the Innovation Leader for the U.S firm, Mitra served at the Technology Leader for the PwC Knowledge Services Organization and Business Strategy Leader for the PwC Center for Advanced Research.
Prior to joining PwC, Mitra’s professional roles included Vice President, Business Development at BookMark Communications, and Founding Partner at Syntext, managing technology clients for a creative agency. She began her career as a software engineer and quickly moved into product and marketing strategy. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science & Linguistics from UCLA and a Graduate Management Certificate in Innovation & Strategy from MIT.
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.
Here is an excerpt from an article by Dan Schawbel and featured online at the Forbes website. In it, Mark Murphy explains why a job candidate’s attitude is more important than talent, skills, and experience. To read the complete article, please click here.
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Mark Murphy is the author Hiring for Attitude, as well as the bestsellers Hundred Percenters and HARD Goals. The founder and CEO of Leadership IQ, a top-rated provider of cutting-edge research and leadership training, Mark has personally provided guidance to more than 100,000 leaders from virtually every industry and half the Fortune 500. His public leadership seminars, custom corporate training, and online training programs have yielded remarkable results for companies including Microsoft, IBM, GE, MasterCard, Merck, AstraZeneca, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Johns Hopkins.
In this interview, Mark talks about why so many new hires fail so quickly, why soft skills are so important now, how the hiring landscape is changing, and more.
Why do so many fail within the first 18 months of taking a job?
When our research tracked 20,000 new hires, 46% of them failed within 18 months. But even more surprising than the failure rate, was that when new hires failed, 89% of the time it was for attitudinal reasons and only 11% of the time for a lack of skill. The attitudinal deficits that doomed these failed hires included a lack of coachability, low levels of emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament.
Are technical and soft skills less important than attitude? Why?
It’s not that technical skills aren’t important, but they’re much easier to assess (that’s why attitude, not skills, is the top predictor of a new hire’s success or failure). Virtually every job (from neurosurgeon to engineer to cashier) has tests that can assess technical proficiency. But what those tests don’t assess is attitude; whether a candidate is motivated to learn new skills, think innovatively, cope with failure, assimilate feedback and coaching, collaborate with teammates, and so forth.
Soft skills are the capabilities that attitude can enhance or undermine. For example, a newly hired executive may have the intelligence, business experience and financial acumen to fit well in a new role. But if that same executive has an authoritarian, hard-driving style, and they’re being hired into a social culture where happiness and camaraderie are paramount, that combination is unlikely to work. Additionally, many training programs have demonstrated success with increasing and improving skills—especially on the technical side. But these same programs are notoriously weak when it comes to creating attitudinal change. As Herb Kelleher, former Southwest Airlines CEO used to say, “we can change skill levels through training, but we can’t change attitude.”
How will the hiring landscape be different in 2012 and beyond?
Between the labor pool from China and India and the fact that there are so many workers sitting out there unemployed, we can find the skills we need. The lack of sharp wage increases in most job categories is further evidence of the abundant supply of skills. Technical proficiency, once a guarantee of lifetime employment, is a commodity in today’s job market. Attitude is what today’s companies are hiring for. And not just any attitude; companies want attitudes that perfectly match their unique culture. Google and Apple are both great companies, but their cultures are as different as night and day.
As the focus on hiring has shifted away from technical proficiency and onto attitude, it’s precipitated a lot of tactical changes in how job interviews are conducted. For example, the new kinds of interview questions being asked are providing real information about attitude instead of the vague or canned answers hiring managers used to get. Smarter companies are less likely to rely on the old standby questions like “tell me about yourself” and “what are your weaknesses?” Companies now have answer keys by which to accurately rate candidate’s answers. Interviewers can listen to candidates’ verb tense and other grammar choices and make accurate determinations about someone’s future performance potential.
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Dan Schawbel, recognized as a “personal branding guru” by The New York Times, is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, and the author of the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan, October 2010). Dan is the founder of the Personal Branding Blog, the publisher of Personal Branding Magazine, the youngest columnist at Bloomberg Businessweek, and has been featured in over 450 media outlets, such as The New York Times and ELLE magazine. He’s spoken at Harvard Business School, MIT, Time Warner, IBM, and CitiGroup. Dan was named to the Inc. magazine 30 Under 30 List in 2010, and Bloomberg Businessweek cites him as someone entrepreneurs should follow on Twitter (@DanSchawbel).
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:
Eugene A. Fitzgerald was born in Springfield, MA, USA. He received a BS degree in Materials Science and Engineering in 1985 from MIT and his PhD in the same discipline from Cornell University in 1989. Building upon his early experience at AT&T Bell Labs, he has created and led a series of fundamental innovations, from early technology to final implementation in the market. A serial entrepreneur, he is a founder of founding team member of 5 start-up ventures. Dr. Fitzgerald is a recipient of the 2011 IEEE Andrew S. Grove Award, and is currently the Merton C. Flemings SMA Professor of Materials Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His most recent book, Inside Real Innovation: How the Right Approach Can Move Ideas from R&D to Market – And Get the Economy Moving, was co-authored with Andreas Wankerl, and Carl Schramm and published by World Scientific Publishing Company (November, 2010).
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Morris: Before discussing Inside Real Innovation, a few general questions. First, other than a family member, who has had the greatest influence on your personal growth?
Fitzgerald: Hard to leave family out; but if I do, I would say my colleagues at AT&T Bell Laboratories and my continued relationships with my students over their time at the university and also their progress in their careers (some of whom have been partners or participants in our start-up companies). My colleagues abroad have been influential in continue to expand my view of the world.
Morris: The greatest impact on your professional development?
Fitzgerald: This is a bit easier than the former, since my development is clearly marked with collaborations and partnerships at various points which have allowed me to continue to develop professionally, and all of whom are close friends even if distance or career has separated us since our collaboration. Many of these people are mentioned in the book. In graduate school, my PhD advisor Prof. Dieter Ast and IBM Fellow Dr. Jerry Woodall had great influence on my introduction to research and the research world. At AT&T Bell Laboratories, it was clearly my collaboration with Dr. Ya-Hong Xie, who is now a Prof. at UCLA. Upon entering back into Academe, Prof. Dimitri Antoniadis was a close collaborator and guidepost at MIT but very importantly, with the silicon CMOS industry as well.
Working with my former graduate student, Dr. Mayank Bulsara, in founding my first company was another step further out into a different portion of the world- building a company and hiring and managing together many different kinds of people. And my friend and collaborator Prof. Steve Ringel from Ohio State University has been there for 20 years as we have both grown professionally, and we founded a current start-up together in 2005. Since 2005, Prof. Soon Yoon at NTU in Singapore has been a collaborator and confidant and helped me begin to understand more about Asia. Regarding my growth in innovation work, Dr. Andreas Wankerl has been absolutely crucial to our collaborative thinking (which started more than 8 years ago), and Lesa Mitchell and Carl Schramm were also crucial partners at the Kauffman Foundation. Each of these people has played a significant role in my professional development.
Morris: Was there a turning point (if not an epiphany) years ago that set you on the course you continue to follow? Please explain.
Fitzgerald: I think many people, if they are introspective, have certain moments in life that seem to be key in determining where you go. The first one was in third grade. For whatever reason, I wanted to make and build stuff, and somehow that meant I must become a scientist. Getting admitted to MIT as undergraduate was nearly impossible from my perspective since only one other person from my high school was ever admitted, so clearly that admission sent me down a path that I had only dreamed of pursuing. Junior year I became very interested in solid state physics and semiconductors, and a Prof told me to think about graduate school (really, I had not thought about it- I had wanted to learn, get out, and build something), and I only applied to MIT and Cornell, was admitted, and decided to change environments and head to Ithaca. I pursued industrial corporate laboratories as I approached graduation from Cornell, and certainly, AT&T Bell Labs recruiting me directly into a research position at a young age (I did ugrad and grad in 7 years) had one of the largest influences on my early path.
Having achieved a low probability dream of inventing something really important, and then not being able to make it real within AT&T, is probably one of the most significant events spurring my interest in innovation. This interest initially mutated into entrepreneurship, and continues there, but the constant thought that the mystery of innovation and problem choice should be unraveled continued.
I also think a key aspect of my path was early involvement in the Singapore-MIT Alliance, which started in 1999. After 10 years working on SMA, I am now continuing a more intense global research program in MIT’s first research center outside the US, the Singapore MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART). All of these factors continue to influence each other: new experience, continued research, continued commercialization, etc.
Morris: To what extent has your formal education proven invaluable to what you have accomplished in your career thus far?
Fitzgerald: This is an especially interesting question. It seems that the answer should be straight-forward, especially for a professor at one of the prestigious higher-level teaching institutions. However, the relationship between in-the-classroom education and outside success is complicated. Connecting specific injection of certain concepts into the gray matter to a relative measure called ‘success’ sometimes makes me think that we know little about education except that it somehow seems to work in general. But for my value system, it is clear that formal education at MIT as an undergraduate was very important in: a) understanding how things work, i.e. real scientific and engineering basics; b) problem solving. I would say that a) and b) are a key foundation to impacting real things.
Morris: What differentiates creativity from innovation?
Fitzgerald: The way we define innovation in Inside Real Innovation is an embodiment of a useful idea in the marketplace. We carefully defined innovation this way to separate it from invention and science. One problem with the term innovation is that the dictionary definition essentially is ‘innovations=ideas’ and many people discuss it at this nebulous level; yet our modern connotation has moved beyond that, something we think is closer to our definition. Creativity is a skill or human trait that aids in innovation, invention, science, etc. We have therefore put innovation on the highest pedestal; it is the outcome of invention, science, creativity, entrepreneurial processes, etc.
Morris: Let’s say that you encounter someone who insists, “I’m not a creative person.” What is your response?
Fitzgerald: Once again, you have hit upon a question that I have pondered for years; first as a student, then as a scientist, and in more recent times, as a manager of people in my start-up companies. When young, I believed that anybody can do anything; it seemed to be more circumstance that limited some people. But this thought became more refined with maturity, and I now believe the same core principle, but I think that people limit themselves. So when someone says “I am not a creative person”, I think first that they are limiting themselves, and second, we can increase their confidence in their creativity by getting them to extend themselves beyond their boundaries. Some people can extend more than others; but in the end, extending beyond their boundaries always increases their creativity a bit; some people can continue this process, and in the end, they gain confidence that they can be more creative than they thought. Early conditioning, however, is difficult to overcome completely.
Morris: What are the correlations between structure, order, limits, etc. and the creative process?
Fitzgerald: If we consider the innovation process, which is a creative process, then our model in IRI presents the process as a balance between structure, order, limits, and extending into the uncertain. I believe this is why humans are innovative, i.e. we have the ability to be conditioned with various realities, but still retain the ability to consider uncertainty and understand that some realities are not always permanent. It is not easy; most people try to have a lot of order and structure, while some cannot achieve enough structure and order to turn day dreaming into an innovative process. So hybridizing in the middle seems to be unstable for most; but our education system should strive to achieve this innovative state in the students.
It reminds me of what a Singapore colleague told me about their future optimal education system: primary school of Asia, secondary school of Europe, and higher education of the US. I also think this would be optimal. Set some structure and fundamental learnings early, but drilling to long seems to condition the mind to avoid working in uncertain territory. But in the US, the secondary system has drifted so far and lax in many places that there is too little knowledge and structure achieved. If we have done the early steps through secondary correctly, then the US higher education system seems to be very effective at getting closer to the ‘hybridized’ thinking required for innovation. But I do believe we can do better. At MIT, I have been trying to inject more components on top of the engineering curricula that will bring innovation to the forefront more substantially.
Morris: Are you convinced that “necessity is the mother of invention”?
Fitzgerald: Yes. Our innovation model folds necessity in from the Market element in our process.
Morris: Is the quality of coverage of innovation today in MBA programs better, worse, or about the same as it was 3-5 years ago? Please explain.
Fitzgerald: Most MBA programs do not cover innovation well, yesterday or today. In fact, in many ways it seems to be ‘out-sourced’ to the engineering school.
Of course, engineering schools tend to concentrate today more on invention and science than innovation. So the key factor to economic growth, innovation, falls into a gap structurally at most universities.
Covering innovation in both MBA and engineering programs in the future is critical to the university enterprise as well as to the economy, long term.
Morris: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you became involved with your first start-up company?
Fitzgerald: Wow! So much. Let me list a few things: understanding a wide variety of people that you end up employing; how long innovations take to get to market; how investment capital can distort a business; understanding that no matter how well you design an interview process, you can’t filter well up-front and therefore need a way to evaluate performance and correct in the short term; that the first business plan cannot possibly determine the path of the company; that doing innovative things in a start-up gets even harder when the ecosystem (such as the supply chain) does less innovation itself…
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To read the complete interview, please click here.
Gene Fitzgerald cordially invites you to check out the resources at these websites:
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 from an exceptionally informative interview of Edgar Schein by Art Kleiner and Rutger von Post for strategy+business magazine (January 2011) published by Booz & Company. To read the complete interview, please click here.
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Edgar Schein, MIT’s sage of organizational culture, explains why the quest for accountability should start with interdependence.
Culture is back on the corporate agenda. As leaders deal with the demands of increased complexity — whether managing financial and environmental risk, navigating new markets, assimilating new types of technologies, or building a strategy for organic growth — many recognize the momentum that comes with a responsive, energized culture. That has led to a renewed appreciation for the work of Edgar H. Schein. Since the 1950s, when he studied the effects of Chinese brainwashing on American servicemen returning from the Korean War, he has been one of the world’s leading authorities on the link between culture and behavior. For most of that time, he has been on the faculty of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, where he is now a professor emeritus.
Schein’s perspective, tempered by intensive work with groups, corporations, and governments, is one of deep respect for the power and legitimacy of ingrained assumptions and attitudes that people develop together gradually. (Among the organizations he has studied over time are Digital Equipment Corporation and the government of Singapore.) The Schein approach to changing a culture — and to developing better ways of helping others within organizations — is one of observation, inquiry, and leverage. This means observing the ways in which an organization’s employees act; deducing (or inquiring about) the ways they think; and putting in place small behavioral changes that lead them, bit by bit, to think about things differently.
We met with Schein in his apartment in Cambridge, Mass., to talk about his two recent books for managers and corporate practitioners on this theme: The Corporate Culture Survival Guide (Jossey-Bass, 2009), an updated version of an earlier book, and Helping: How to Offer, Give, and Receive Help (Berrett-Koehler, 2009). Given Booz & Company’s work on culture through the Katzenbach Center (see “Stop Blaming Your Culture,” by Jon Katzenbach and Ashley Harshak, s+b, Spring 2011), we also thought it was timely to check in on the broadening impact of Schein’s ideas as more and more companies seek to teach their old cultures new tricks.
Even the best-intentioned companies can get tripped up when trying to alter their organizational culture.
Because they think that to change culture, you simply introduce a new culture and tell people to follow it. That will never work. Instead, you have to conduct a business analysis around whatever is triggering your perceived need to change the culture. You solve that business problem by introducing new behaviors. Once you’ve solved your business problems this way, people will say to themselves, “Hey, this new way of doing things, which originally we were coerced to do, seems to be working better, so it must be right.”
Issuing a new array of cultural tenets — like quality, agility, and accountability — will not work?
Precisely. All you’ve done is stated the obvious, like “We’re for motherhood.” Who wouldn’t be for those things? They’re obvious. But what does it mean in that environment to be more agile or accountable? Someone has to say what these really mean: The next time you put a bad product out there, you get fired. It has to be concretized for real change to occur.
One electric utility company I studied, Alpha Power — I can’t reveal its real name — was under pressure from regulators to improve its environmental record. Management told employees, “Every oil spill on every sidewalk must be reported immediately and cleaned up.” A lot of electrical workers said, “That’s not me. I’m not a janitor. I splice big, heavy cables.” Alpha responded that this was an order, not an option, and that workers would be trained in cleaning up spills safely.
Some electrical workers quit, but most were retrained. After about five years, the workers were asked, “How do you feel about Alpha’s environmental policies?” They answered, “It’s the right thing to do. We should be cleaning up the environment.” That wasn’t what they’d said five years earlier. But once they embraced the behavior, the values caught up.
Cultural change can’t be as easy as just demanding that people change their behaviors. What if people only pretend to comply?
That’s why the role of management is so critical. Culture is multifaceted, and every company has many subcultures. At the top, there might be an executive subculture, trained in finance, which wants good numbers above all else. There’s also probably an engineering subculture, which assumes that crises can be prevented only with fail-safe, redundant systems that kick in automatically. There are other subcultures for middle management, supervisors, the union, and marketing. Every company combines those subcultures in very different ways that have become ingrained over decades. In any change program, when you encounter resistance, you have to then ask, “Is this just an individual resisting, or are group norms at play, based in a particular subculture?”
For example, when a transformer exploded at Alpha, tests showed high levels of airborne PCBs [polychlorinated biphenyls], a dangerous chemical to which firefighters, health workers, and others in the community were exposed. Alpha was criticized for not revealing these high PCB levels upon first discovering them.
But an engineer had tested that transformer every year for 20 years and never found PCBs. When the explosion occurred, he didn’t immediately believe the data. As an engineer, he wanted to be certain that the data was accurate, since it ran counter to his decades of testing. So he waited for the samples to come back from the lab before he said anything. It turned out that there were PCBs in the transformer’s sealed sound protection struts. The PCBs were released during the explosion but would have been undetectable otherwise.
Alpha may have looked malfeasant — failing to rapidly report an environmentally dangerous situation that the company clearly knew about — but in reality the delay was a consequence of a strong engineering subculture. It could have punished the engineer, but that wouldn’t have changed the culture. If Alpha wanted to be safe and environmentally responsible, it had to demand behavioral change. So the company sent out a strong, coercive message that spoke to the heart of the engineering subculture: “You are required to report any observed environmental event or unsafe situation immediately, before analyzing it. Sound the alarm the minute you think there is a dangerous situation. Don’t wait until you’ve figured it out.” Alpha’s leaders got very specific about what environmental responsibility and safety meant in terms of the behavior they expected from their employees.
Resistance might also come from other cultures, including that of the top executives. In some crises, like the Challenger space shuttle disaster in 1986, I’ve heard people argue that the engineers weren’t competent. In fact, they raised concerns in advance about the O-ring at least twice, but they were overruled, and stopped squawking. Should they have held their ground? Marc Gerstein, who wrote Flirting with Disaster: Why Accidents Are Rarely Accidental [with Michael Ellsberg; Union Square Press, 2008],
argues that the fault was not with the engineers, but with the NASA culture. People need to be able to raise concerns, and persist in raising them, in a way that cultures like NASA, aimed at results, can accept.
Are most managers capable of this?
Probably not. They would need a culture that rewards them for raising concerns, and in most organizations the norms are to punish it. It’s the very nature of authority to say, “Don’t be a squeaky wheel. You made your point, but we’re going to go ahead anyway. I don’t want to hear any more.”
So let’s say you want a company to be genuinely safe. It’s not enough to have an empowering process. The supervisors, middle managers, and senior executives all have to actively work to create behaviors that encourage a climate of safety. Alpha, for example, now has a “time-out program.” An employee is obligated, if he or she sees something unsafe, to pull out and display a time-out card located near each station. That stops the job until somebody with expertise comes in and looks it over.
But some employees say, “If I pull the card too often, my supervisor will give me lousier jobs.” To make a company genuinely safe, behavior needs to change at all levels. The entire hierarchy has to feel good about the card being pulled, instead of regarding it as a nuisance triggered by a few employees.
Meanwhile — and this is important — work in many companies is getting more complex, and subordinates have more relative power by virtue of their specialized expertise. If they choose to not tell the boss about problems, the company will never know that there’s an issue until it’s too late. The answer is to create a climate in which superiors and subordinates have a mutual helping relationship.
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Reprint No. 11102
To read the complete interview, please click here.
Art Kleiner is the editor-in-chief of strategy+business and the author of The Age of Heretics (2nd ed., Jossey-Bass, 2008).
Rutger von Post is a principal with Booz & Company based in New York. He specializes in organizational change and leadership for the financial-services and healthcare industries, and is a fellow of the Katzenbach Center.