The research shows we shouldn't be afraid to ask for help. Francesca Gino and Alison Wood Brooks, both of Harvard Business School, explain.
Psychologist and Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino has long studied the factors at play when judgment and decision-making collide with the results of our choices in real life. In Sidetracked, she explores inconsistent decisions played out in a wide range of circumstances from our roles as consumers and employees (what we buy, how we manage others) to the broader human choices that we make (who we date, how we cultivate friendships).
"Superb, but wordy"
Using this assessment tool, companies can pinpoint areas where they need to foster knowledge sharing, idea development, learning from mistakes, and holistic thinking. From the March 2008 issue of Harvard Business Review.
Francesca Gino, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, and Gary P. Pisano, a professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, write about how failures get a postmortem and how it's important that triumphs should too.
When we talk to managers about what their workers are lacking, we hear a common refrain: “We need employees who can think, not just follow orders.”
In both our social and professional interactions, we commonly focus on managing the impressions that others form of us, especially when these others do not know us well.
Growing up on a Missouri farm, Walt Disney developed a love for drawing after his neighbor, a retired doctor known as “Doc” Sherwood, paid him to draw pictures of his horse.
Con artists rarely inspire admiration. Frank Abagnale Jr., however, was hardly a typical con artist. Cunning and charismatic, Abagnale forged checks, diplomas, and transcripts en route to assuming at least eight identities and posing as a pilot, a lawyer, and a doctor—all before his nineteenth birthday. Although he eventually was caught and sentenced to 12 years in a federal prison for his cons, he served less than five years before the U.S. government recruited him to fight the very types of crimes that he had perpetrated.
You’re giving a presentation on the company’s strategic direction when one of your colleagues interrupts you. You pause, address his question, and continue with your point — until he interrupts again. Sound familiar?
Think back to your first day on the job. If you’re like most people, you felt excited and were eager to get down to work. But, based on the results of field research I recently conducted, I am willing to guess that just a few months later that excitement dissipated and you began to feel dissatisfaction, even boredom, with some aspects of your job. You’ve probably witnessed a similar trend among the employees you’ve hired and managed as well.
When people are judging the quality of leaders' decisions, they tend to focus much more on outcomes than intentions. For example, they judge hiring decisions not on the basis of whether the decision was made thoughtfully or fairly but on whether the new employee performs well. They judge the quality of a product decision on whether the product was well received in the market, rather than the quality of the process that led to the decision in the first place.
Why do so many organizational leaders and employees (even those who care about being honest people) consistently engage in morally questionable behaviors over time? We recently conducted research aimed at answering this question, found that faulty human memory helps to explain repeated dishonesty.
No matter what industry you are in or what job you do, you probably have experienced the frustration of working within a dysfunctional team - one marked by drawn-out discussions that led nowhere or heated conflicts that made communication difficult. To function properly, teams need to communicate effectively. How can you improve the odds of that happening?
"I hate networking." We hear this all the time from executives, other professionals, and MBA students. They tell us that networking makes them feel uncomfortable and phony - even dirty. Although some people have a natural passion for it - namely, the extroverts who love and thrive on social interaction - many understandably see it as brown-nosing, exploitative, and inauthentic.
In their work lives people routinely feel pulled between tasks that demand immediate attention and tasks that are important, the ones that bring them closer to achieving their long-term goals. Unfortunately, our and others’ research shows that people have a natural tendency to overly focus on the former (such as responding to mundane emails) at the expense of the latter.
A recent New York Times article about the business culture at Amazon triggered spirited reactions and a lot of media attention. Some “Amazonians” backed up the article’s description of a brutal, unrelenting workplace. Others — including CEO Jeff Bezos himself in a memo to his employees — questioned its accuracy.
Virtually all leaders believe that to stay competitive, their enterprises must learn and improve every day. But even companies revered for their dedication to continuous learning find it difficult to always practice what they preach.