Thursday, 1 February 2018

#HRPA2018 live blog - Adam Grant

HR needs to be the Chief Collaboration Office - focused on who need to know each other to generate ideas - a critical role for HR. We need to bring diverse people together. Solve problems in ways you wouldn’t have thought of before. Make the unfamiliar, familiar. The more original the idea, the more unfamiliar it is.

But after IPO they don’t grow so quickly because of group think.

Find something in a different organisation, different sector etc, eg Hamlet becomes the Lion King. Google - Everything great ever happened in this company happened in pairs or teams. We should recruit and reward teams.

The single most important factor team success psychological safety. When afraid to take risks will test out ideas for doing things. Agreeble people shy away from ideas going against grain. Disagreeable people are better. Canadian value agreeabless - eg their national slogan is not hockey or maple syrup but to be as Canadian as possible under the circumstances - constantly adapting to please other people.

‘Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions’ might make people keep quiet about the biggest issues.

In Bridgewater people have no right to hold a contrary opinion unless prepared to speak out about it. Or Box where people share problems weekly. Evaluated on how much you disagree with your boss. Top boss sent round video of meeting he was given D- for.

Need to fight groupthink. Eg devil’s advocate doesn’t work. Just playing a role so not forceful enough. People don’t take it seriously. Unearth a a genuine disenter - provides better decision and solution. Forces them to take a step back - simulates divergent thinking - improves decision making even if provocation is wrong. Eg get executives thinking about how to kill the company - helps people think creatively.

Exit interviews don’t work -  it’s the worst time to ask about what is broken. Run entry interviews in first week - what are you trying to accomplish and what stops you. Or even before people join the organisation.

Skills. Star potential. Culture fit.

Startups hiring on Cultural fit don’t fail and do better at IPO - everyone passionate about mission

IDEO - all designers but don’t know how to design for. Different job description - anthropologists - foreign countries and making sense for them. For product design. But not just this - every time excited about a job - time to get more diverse again. Storytelling - journalists and screen writers. Culture contribution not cultural fit - what are we missing?

Diversity of background skills, experience, gender and race. Are they willing to chilling status quo?

So at end of hiring process - what would you change. Evaluate quality and originality of these ideas.

Givers vs takers. Negative impact of a taker double or quadruple positive impact of a giver. Even one taker - people start watching their backs and stop giver. Just one giver don’t see the same - just see this person to give more work.

Narcissts one type of taker. Can also be someone who used to be a giver and got burned one too many times.

Ask about motives and goals - what are your intentions about their people? What of people in your industry steal at least $10/month from their employer - cash, materials and merchandise. But the more you think others a thief great earth chance you are a thief. People project their own tendencies, and assume the norm for others.

Extreme taker - No one is a taker in all roles and all conversations. Look to bringing out giving tendencies. Look to work out what is in their best interest and tend to be very predictable.

Reward systems - accountable for helping others succeed. Drive your own innovation success
Corning - are you a supporting author on other people’s patents - a leading indicator of giving behaviours. Let givers know that behaviour is valued so they don’t give up.

More at

And you’ll also find a lot of this supported in my own book, The Social Organization, and at

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  • jon [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


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