Slowly I am getting ready for California. I will spent two days in Palo Alto visiting Stanford University. In preparation for some interviews I stumpled upon Bob Sutton and his blog: Work Matters. Robert Sutton is Professor of Management Science and Engineering in the Stanford Engineering School, where he is Co-Director of the Center for Work, Technology, an active member of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, and a cofounder of the new Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. Sutton is also an IDEO Fellow.
As an introduction of himself Bob Sutton has written “15 Things I believe in” – for me a good way to approach his ideas. Here they are:
- Sometimes the best management is no management at all — first do no harm!
- Indifference is as important as passion.
- In organizational life, you can have influence over others or you can have freedom from others, but you can’t have both at the same time.
- Saying smart things and giving smart answers are important. Learning to listen to others and to ask smart questions is more important.
- Learn how to fight as if you are right and listen as if you are wrong: It helps you develop strong opinions that are weakly held.
- You get what you expect from people. This is especially true when it comes to selfish behavior; unvarnished self-interest is a learned social norm, not an unwavering feature of human behavior.
- Getting a little power can turn you into an insensitive self-centered jerk.
- Avoid pompous jerks whenever possible. They not only can make you feel bad about yourself, chances are that you will eventually start acting like them.
- The best test of a person’s character is how he or she treats those with less power.
- The best single question for testing an organization’s character is: What happens when people make mistakes?
- The best people and organizations have the attitude of wisdom: The courage to act on what they know right now and the humility to change course when they find better evidence.
- The quest for management magic and breakthrough ideas is overrated; being a master of the obvious is underrated.
- Err on the side of optimism and positive energy in all things.
- It is good to ask yourself, do I have enough? Do you really need more money, power, prestige, or stuff?
- Jim Maloney is right: Work is an overrated activity.