Table of Contents
Bob Sutton argues that the ability for an organization to scale has everything to do with behaviors, culture and leadership.
Actions You Can Take Right Now
- Leaders often think that no one listens to them, but what is more important than words is how they behave. Their actions speak louder than their words.
- Use customer journey mapping to stay connected to what customers experience. Use it to see more clearly where customers are experiencing positive and negative interaction points. It’s all about the emotions.
- To combat the complexity that comes with growth, leaders need to keep the messages simple and repeat them a lot.
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Episode Highlights and Excerpts
- Leaders often think that no one listens to them, but what is more important than their words is how they behave. The message is either magnified or distorted through the messenger.
- Psychological safety is the most important topic in organizational psychology in the past several decades. Without it, leaders don’t hear the truth. This is what got companies like Boeing in trouble.
- You can’t just mandate psychological safety. It takes time and is something that needs to be worked on every day.
- Not all friction is bad. Some things are supposed to be hard and time consuming. It’s important to remove bad friction and keep the good friction.
- All sorts of research points to the fact that people see assholes around them in the workplace, but rarely see asshole behaviors in themselves. Start by looking in the mirror.
- Customer journey mapping is a key tool for understanding the emotional path customers take and looking for ways to remove friction and bad emotional responses.
- As companies grow, complexity increases, and the more leaders need to stick to repeating simple messages over and over again. This is done in places like Microsoft (we are learn-it-alls, not know-it-alls).
- Superstars are people who get ahead by building up the people around them, not those who step on others to get there.
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Robert I. Sutton is an organizational psychologist and Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University. He studies leadership, innovation, organizational change, and workplace dynamics. His focus over the past decade has been on scaling and how to grow organizations, spread good things (and remove bad things) in teams, and enhance performance, innovation, and well-being given the distinct challenges in big organizations.
Sutton received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from The University of Michigan and has served on the Stanford faculty since 1983.
Sutton’s research and opinions are often quoted in The New York Times, The Times (of London), The Atlantic, Financial Times, Esquire, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Wired, Vanity Fair, and Washington Post. Sutton has been a guest on numerous radio and television shows, including ABC, Bloomberg, BBC, CNBC, Fox, NBC Today Show, PBS, NPR, Marketplace, CNN.
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