Brainstorming had four rules:
1. Don’t judge or criticize ideas.
2. Be freewheeling. The wilder the idea, the better.
3. Go for quantity. The more ideas you have, the better.
4. Build on the ideas of fellow group members.
Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Stay home on New Year’s Eve if that’s what makes you happy. Skip the committee meeting. Cross the street to avoid making aimless chitchat with random acquaintances. Read. Cook. Run. Write a story. Make a deal with yourself that you’ll attend a set number of social events in exchange for not feeling guilty when you beg off.
This would not have come as news to Jason Fried, cofounder of the web application company 37signals. For ten years, beginning in 2000, Fried asked hundreds of people (mostly designers, programmers, and writers) where they liked to work when they needed to get something done. He found that they went anywhere but their offices, which were too noisy and full of interruptions
This man lost focus when he interacted too much with people, so he carved out time for thinking and recharging. He spoke quietly, without much variation in his vocal inflections or facial expressions. He was more interested in listening and gathering information than in asserting his opinion or dominating a conversation.
This man lost focus when he interacted too much with people, so he carved out time for thinking and recharging.
The lesson, says Collins, is clear. We don’t need giant personalities to transform companies. We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run.
Don’t think about the perfect answer. It’s better to get out there and say something than to never get your voice in.”
Many of the students adapt easily to this system. But not Don. He has trouble elbowing his way into class discussions; in some classes he barely speaks at all. He prefers to contribute only when he believes he has something insightful to add, or honest-to-God disagrees with someone. This sounds reasonable, but Don feels as if he should be more comfortable talking just so he can fill up his share of available airtime.
Why are some people comfortable wielding authority while others prefer neither to lead nor to be led?
The risk with our students is that they’re very good at getting their way. But that doesn’t mean they’re going the right way.”
newfound sense of entitlement to be yourself
That’s OK. Take what applies to you, and use the rest to improve your relationships with others.
Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.
function well without sleep
He strikes me as having a “hyperthymic” temperament—a kind of extroversion-on-steroids characterized
Yet even at Harvard Business School there are signs that something might be wrong with a leadership style that values quick and assertive answers over quiet, slow decision-making.
like making sure you drink the same single-malt scotch the CEO drinks and that you work out at the right health club
Speak with conviction. Even if you believe something only fifty-five percent, say it as if you believe it a hundred percent.”
“If you’re preparing alone for class, then you’re doing it wrong. Nothing at HBS is intended to be done alone.”
“Don’t think about the perfect answer. It’s better to get out there and say something than to never get your voice in.”
The school newspaper, The Harbus, also dispenses advice, featuring articles with titles like “How to Think and Speak Well—On the Spot!,” “Developing Your Stage Presence,” and “Arrogant or Simply Confident?”
Don’s friends earnestly reel off the tips they remember best.
The CEO may not know the best way forward, but she has to act anyway.
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