We label people all the time. It’s natural and instinctive. Levi is creative and disorganized. John is disciplined but lacks people skills. Leah’s anxiety impacts her results.
Labels are useful. But they are often wrong. In her book, No One Understands You and What to Do About It (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015), Heidi Grant Halvorson explains why, and offers some crucial insight into how leaders can move away from instant labeling and instead come to see people for who they are — and for who they can be. To read more, click here.
Most professors find the insight that leads to new books in pools of data, focus groups, or controlled studies. Adam Grant, the young Wharton professor who made waves with his 2013 book, Give and Take, got the idea for his latest volume in the real world. In a recent interview, Grant told me that several years ago, he passed on an opportunity to invest in Warby Parker, the wildly successful online glasses retailer. Why? He didn’t recognize the potential and originality of the company’s founders and their business model. “I study behavior for a living, and I was still wildly wrong,” Grant said. “What can we learn from that?” To read more, click here.
January, and the New Year, inevitably bring resolutions of change, particularly regarding work and productivity. But change can be painful and difficult. As a leadership coach, I find it heartbreaking when the promises of change unfulfilled demoralize people and create the cynicism that breeds inertia-plagued organizations. To read more, click here.
“You made me a better person.”
It was a sweet moment with a client, offered up at the culmination of our coaching relationship. A man of few words was expressing a sense of peace with the leader — and person — he had become. To read more, click here.
There’s a new book that should be on the bookshelf of every parent — and every leader. How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, by Julie Lythcott-Haims, is a wake-up call for well-off, well-meaning parents to do less for their kids so their kids can do more in life. It also sounds the alarm for leaders who must prepare themselves to finish the parenting that is not occurring in many homes. To read more, click here.
Amazon has taken a lot of heat over its corporate culture. When I read the initial New York Times article detailing the company’s inner workings (parts of which Amazon has rebutted), I wasn’t shocked — it actually reminded me of some companies I have worked with over the years. Since the Industrial Revolution, we have been taught that work is “just business.” Any elevated expectations for self-actualization should be left at home with our flip-flops. To read more, click here.
If you haven’t read the book Leadership BS: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time, by Stanford business school professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, you are missing out. Pfeffer lambasts the leadership development industry — including business schools, human resource departments, authors, and leadership programs and coaches — for being clueless about the harsh political realities of the workplace, and for promoting behaviors that are aspirational rather than practical. To read more, click here.
More than 15 years ago, I attended a workshop facilitated by Daniel Pink. He was explaining how businesspeople can thrive as free agents, and he stressed the importance of getting comfortable with asking for help. At the time, I was a free agent myself, and although I was already used to seeking help occasionally, Pink’s advice gave me the confidence to make it a more regular part of doing business. To read more, click here.
A while back, while shopping for clothes, I almost purchased T-shirts that were (most likely) made by slaves. The only thing that stopped me was remembering this video, which popped up while I was scrolling through my social media newsfeed. The video shifted my self-centered perspective, and I realized that what constitutes a good deal for me is, most likely, a bad deal for someone else. To read more, click here.