Robert_suttonToday is “environment day”
in our continuing
of Robert Sutton’s
Ideas That Work

Once you have hired
the right people
, how should you manage them?


Weird Idea 4: Encourage People to Ignore and Defy
Superiors and Peers
(PS – That’s even if you’re their “superior”!!!!)

“Jeffrey Pfeffer likes to
say that managers should be required to take something like the physician’s
oath: “First, do no harm.”” 

What harm can they

Managers can squash ideas
because they don’t understand them, feel threatened by them, or aren’t really
listening. They tend to avoid healthy conflict because it’s uncomfortable. In the very worst cases, they may even reject
ideas to protect their turf! 

when employees don’t ask for permission before doing things, don’t bother to
tell managers what they are doing, and even defy their superior’s orders.”

We’ve talked about rules
and asking
here before. 

Weird Idea 5: Find Some Happy People and Get Them
to Fight

“…conflict (and the
criticism it entails) is damaging when it causes ideas to be rejected before
they can be developed well enough to be evaluated.” 


“When an idea is beyond
its infancy, but still unproven, constructive conflict is crucial for
developing and testing its value.” Constructive
conflict is “task” or “intellectual” criticism offered “in an atmosphere of
mutual respect”. 

Weird Idea 6: Reward Success and Failure, Punish

We learn from our failures. We have more failures than successes. Intelligent failure moves us closer to
success. Inaction causes us not just to
stay where we are, but to fall behind. Inaction is far more dangerous than intelligent failure. 

The problem is that
organizations don’t tolerate failure very well.

To compensate for this,
Sutton considers that perhaps this weird idea should be “Reward failure even
more than success, and punish inaction.” 

We now have ideas on who
to hire and how to manage them, but what should they be doing?

Next week we’ll discuss
weird ideas for considering which projects will make a difference.