Musings about Leadership, Decision Making, and Competitive Strategy
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Innovators Think Like Global Travelers
Thursday, June 23, 2022
Are You Feeling Uncomfortable? It May Be a Sign of Learning & Progress
|Source: Three Teachers Talk|
My dissertation adviser and mentor, David Garvin, used to love to quote Dr. Peter Carruthers of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Carruthers once said,
“There’s a special tension to people who are constantly in the position of making new knowledge. You’re always out of equilibrium. When I was young, I was deeply troubled by this. Finally, I realized that if I understood too clearly what I was doing, where I was going, then I probably wasn’t working on anything very interesting.”
The quote came to mind when I read about a new set of studies by Kaitlin Woolley and Ayelet Fishbach. Kasandra Brabaw recently wrote about the research for the University of Chicago's Booth Review. The scholars examined whether discomfort could be a motivating force for people or an impediment to learning and performance. The authors conducted a series of experiments (both in the field and online). They encouraged some of the research subjects to "seek out discomfort and take it as a measure of progress toward their goal." Their findings demonstrated that being encouraged to seek discomfort increased motivation to take on emotionally challenging tasks. Why? People tended to reappraise discomfort as a positive cue, as a sign that they were making progress and learning something valuable. In some of their experiments, the scholars showed that you don't have to even tell people that discomfort should be seen as a sign of progress; they tend to come to that conclusion on their own in certain circumstances.
At the end of the feature about this research, Brabaw summarizes the key lessons, with a word of caution as well. She writes,
"Woolley and Fishbach make sure to point out the danger of taking it too far. Just like sharp and unexpected pain can be a cue to stop exercising, emotional pain can be a signal to take care with your mental health, they write. But taken cautiously, adopting a “no pain, no gain” mentality when you know something will make you feel awkward, sad, scared, or uncomfortable can boost your motivation to stick with it."
Thursday, June 16, 2022
Power Can Be Dirty, But It Doesn't Have To Be
How should think about the power we may possess (or lack)? In this interview, Casciaro explains:
Power comes from control over valued resources. You have power if you have something that the other person or group needs or wants and if they have few alternatives to you to get it, such that you control their access to that valued resource. So in any power relationship, you want to ask: “What is it that people want?” Because if you understand that, you are well equipped to try to deliver it. And “Who controls access to it?” Because if you figure that out, you can create some dependency so that people need you to get a desired resource.
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
Knowing Who You Are, and Who You Are Not
Thursday, June 09, 2022
From Technical Expert to Leader: From Certainty to Vulnerability
There is a clear right and wrong with most things in my clinical field. Sure. You know, leadership is very, very different from that. I rarely find myself do I get it right the first time. And I depend upon the feedback of others. And the thing is if, unless this is, you know, a critically important time sensitive decision, and we were faced with many of those during COVID, in those cases, you do the best you can and, and you recalibrate very quickly. In cases that are not as acute as they have been during COVID, you can put up a straw person, you can float an idea, you can express your opinion in your belief about this is the way we think we should go. And some of that will be embraced, some of it won’t, but if you take the feedback. It’s not gonna affect your credibility as a leader.