Adam Grant

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Dear managers: If you can’t keep your team engaged in virtual meetings, might it be time to rethink how you run your meetings? If you can’t trust people to be engaged when their cameras are off, might it be time to rethink your management style? Sincerely, Everyone with a Job
If two people always agree, it’s a sign that at least one of them isn’t thinking critically—or speaking candidly. Differences of opinion don't have to be threats. They can be opportunities to learn. Intellectual friction isn't a relationship bug. It's a feature of education.
People multitask in over 30% of virtual meetings. If you want their undivided attention, move meetings to the afternoon—and keep them small and short. Our best analytical and creative thinking often happens before lunch (or after dinner). Protect mornings to focus on deep work.
Bad bosses mistake visibility for value. They reward face time over impact. Good bosses know reputation isn't a proxy for results. They reward performance over presence. Great bosses know quality work depends on quality of life. They offer flexibility as a right, not a reward.
The internet doesn't turn people into trolls. It just makes their trolling more visible. 8 studies, over 8k people: if you're an asshole online, you're probably an asshole in person too. Trolls choose aggression to get attention. It's better to ignore them than feed them.
A balanced argument doesn’t weigh two sides equally. It weighs the strongest evidence more heavily. Critical thinking isn't about representing every view. It's about recognizing your biases, and giving serious consideration to facts that contradict your hopes and beliefs.
Leadership isn't a race to make the fastest decisions. It's a responsibility to make the wisest decisions. Time pressure leads to shallow processing. Many of our regrets are choices made in haste. Being quick and decisive is overrated. Being patient and flexible is underrated.
To fight Zoom fatigue, give people the freedom to turn their cameras off. New experiment: videos off reduces exhaustion and boosts engagement—especially for women and newcomers. Cameras off doesn't reflect disengagement. It helps to prevent burnout and promote attention.
Anger is often seen as an irrational emotion. But it’s not due to the absence of logic—it’s due to the presence of threat or harm. Getting mad is a sign that something important to you is at risk. Understanding what makes you angry is a prism for understanding what you value.
My recs for the new books to wrap up summer and kick off fall. They explore time management, motivation and resilience, diversity, inclusion, and belonging, and leadership and management. linkedin.com/pulse/10-new-l…
People often hesitate to give honest feedback out of fear of damaging the relationship. If you tell them how you're working to improve, they feel safe to speak up. Being forthcoming about your shortcomings makes it clear that you can handle the truth. pubsonline.informs.org/doi/abs/10.128…
A 10-year career plan is a mistake. A fixed plan can close your mind to new possibilities. You don't know how the world is going to change. You also don't know how you're going to change. You can dream 10 years ahead, but it's best to limit your plan to a year or two ahead.
The world needs more rationality and less rationalizing. Rationalizing is searching for justifications after you've reached an opinion or decision. Rationality is seeking the best logic and data before you commit—and staying open to changing your mind. newyorker.com/magazine/2021/…
Resting is not a waste of time. It's an investment in well-being. Relaxing is not a sign of laziness. It's a source of energy. Breaks are not a distraction. They're a chance to refocus attention. Play is not a frivolous activity. It's a path to connection and creativity.
A key to stable relationships is being flexible. 200+ studies, 43k+ people: -Flexible partners have higher satisfaction and support—and lower anxiety and aggression -Flexible parents have lower stress—and kids with higher well-being Stability flows from openness to change.
When people say "I can't change," what they often mean is "I don't want to change." The greatest barrier to adjusting behavior isn't a lack of skill. It's a lack of will. Motivation fuels capacity. Before you teach people how to alter their habits, they need to find the why.
Personality is how you respond on a typical day. Character is how you show up on your worst day. It's easy to demonstrate fairness, integrity, and generosity when things are going well. The real question is whether you stand by those values when the deck is stacked against you.
I think, therefore I am I rethink, therefore I learn
The irony of "soft skills" is that they're often the hardest to master. Leadership, communication, collaboration, creativity, and adaptability may not be technical, but they're increasingly vital. Behavioral, social, and emotional skills are what make humans indispensable.
Work-life balance isn’t about squeezing everything into one day. It’s about spreading what matters to you throughout the week. You can’t have it all at once, but you can probably have most of it over time.
The first rule of leadership: put your mission above your ego. The second rule of leadership: if you don't care about your people, they won't care about your mission. The third rule of leadership: if someone has to tell you the first two rules, you're not ready to lead yet.
Dismissing ideas that you dislike isn't critical thinking. It's confirmation bias. Critical thinking is approaching new information with a mix of curiosity and doubt. It starts with gauging the credibility of the source, the rigor of the logic, and the validity of the evidence.
Insecure people pretend to know things they don't. They dismiss expertise from others. Secure people admit what they don't know. They defer to expertise in others. Proactive people take the initiative to learn what they don't know. They acquire expertise from others.
How not to talk about vaccines: Only half the population is vaccinated, and anti-vaxxers are to blame. Vaccines are safe and effective. A better option: Over 160M Americans are fully vaccinated. Yes, vaccines have risks, but COVID poses greater risk. adamgrant.bulletin.com/56825900753210…
When men raise ideas, they're respected as leaders. When women voice ideas, they're often ignored. Data: men get more credit than women—even for identical suggestions—from both male and female audiences. The gender of the speaker should be irrelevant to the value of the idea.
Things people aren't afraid to say when they have psychological safety: -I don't know -I made a mistake -I disagree -I might be wrong -I have a concern -I have an idea
When people mistake confidence for competence, they end up valuing style over substance. The most charismatic person in the group is the most likely to get away with a flawed argument. The most polished speaker in the room is the most likely to get away with being unprepared.
People who say they're too busy to read are choosing not to make time to grow. Don't let the pressure to get things done stand in the way of discovering new things to learn. If you don't learn something worth sharing every day, you might not be spending enough time learning.
Before you criticize @Simone_Biles, you might want to go through this epic decision tree by @shadesofgreaves mcsweeneys.net/articles/are-y…
Watching funny YouTube videos is bad for efficiency, but it can boost creativity. Our new research, 5 years late: if you're intrinsically motivated, a little procrastination can help you reframe the problem and access new solutions. Your first idea isn't always your best idea.
Parents shouldn't push kids into one sport. New data: specializing early predicts faster progress but a lower peak. World-class athletes played more sports early, focused later, and took longer to excel than national-level athletes. A jack of all trades becomes a master of one.
Judging other people’s coping decisions is the lowest form of arrogance. We don't know what's going on in their heads. It's not our place to say they should handle their struggles differently. Self-care isn't selfish. No one should have to sacrifice well-being for performance.
Stop attacking @Simone_Biles for putting her health above a sport. As a diver, seeing her get lost in midair was terrifying. This isn’t about toughness—she can push through pain. It’s for safety—being disoriented is dangerous. Gymnasts have been paralyzed by landing headfirst.
It's ok to call in sick. It should be ok to call in sad, too. There's no stigma if you get the flu or break your leg. We need the same compassion for emotional pain as physical pain. Failing to address mental health leaves people suffering in silence. tedtalks.social/WLAdam
In the short run, change involves risk. In the long run, not changing often poses more risk. Over time, failing to evolve is a recipe for mediocrity and obsolescence. When you weigh the immediate costs of changing, don't overlook the lasting costs of clinging to the status quo.
If you don't want to be part of the solution, you can always find an online community that denies the existence of the problem
63 studies: women who assert their ideas, make direct requests, and advocate for themselves are liked less. They're also less likely to get hired—and it hasn't improved over time. It's 2021. When will we stop punishing dominant women for violating outdated gender stereotypes?
When men get mad, they’re commended as strong leaders. When women get angry, they’re condemned as aggressive bitches. If Steve Jobs bruised your ego, you'd toughen up. If a woman does it, she's out of control. If you wouldn't say it about a man, don't say it about a woman.
In a stable world, it's best to be data-driven. In a changing world, it's better to be data-informed. Data can reveal patterns from the past. It takes judgment to predict how those patterns will evolve in the future. Data shouldn't guide decisions. They should inform decisions.
As you gain power and status, you lose some of your ability to judge character. When you're in a position of influence, people are more motivated to impress you. The least prominent person in the room is the most likely to see everyone's true colors.
Weak leaders hold their teams accountable for bad decisions. They blame others to hide their errors in judgment. Strong leaders ask their teams to hold them accountable for making good decisions. They rely on others to prevent their errors in judgment. tedtalks.social/WLAdam
If you treat people like they're smart, they're eager to learn. If you assume they're dumb, they tend to disengage. People generally have the ability to understand if you help them find the motivation. When you show confidence in their capability, they become more curious.
When you only listen to the smartest person in the room, you miss out on discovering what the rest of the room is smart about. Everyone you meet knows something you don’t—and has wisdom from experiences you haven’t lived. Every conversation is a chance to learn something new.
On the importance of making learning fun: Students who enjoy school at age 6 earn higher standardized test scores at 16—even after controlling for intelligence. Teachers set the tone for intrinsic motivation. Students who like their teachers are 9x more likely to enjoy school.
The hallmark of a productive debate is not persuasion, but insight. In a good argument, you're as motivated to learn as to convince. You can declare victory when everyone involved has deepened their understanding, broadened their knowledge, or evolved their thinking.
Relationship conflict: "You're the problem" Task conflict: "We're going to solve this problem"
Don’t confuse science with truth. Science is a systematic method of pursuing the truth. When scientists are wrong, it doesn’t invalidate the method. Science is the most rigorous process of discarding inaccurate ideas and moving toward accurate ideas. Trust the process.
We should care as much about well-doing as well-being. I want to live in a world that values purpose as much as pleasure, contribution as much as contentment, honesty as much as excitement, and justice as much as joy. A happy life isn't necessarily an honorable life.
Happiness is more than a personal emotion—it's a social experience. You can feel depressed or anxious alone, but it’s rare to laugh or love alone. The joy we’ve missed is collective effervescence: the energy of being in a group with a shared purpose. nytimes.com/2021/07/10/opi…
We don’t judge athletes or employees for taking time off to recover from injury or illness. We shouldn’t judge them for taking time off for their emotional well-being either. Mental health matters as much for performance—and for quality of life—as physical health does.
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