The Power of Moments has climbed right to the top of our list of favorite books on business. What makes a memory? It depends on who you ask, we suppose, but we're not going to talk about neurons.
By Samantha Harr | 4-minute read
Are you an extrovert? An introvert? Maybe even an ambivert? We asked some of our Trig team members how they saw themselves and the answers weren’t always what we expected. Common stereotypes would have us believe that our engineers and designers are the reserved pensive sort. Turns out we have a family made up of all three personality styles!
A Novel Idea
Quiet by Susan Cain illustrates the point that while 1/3 of all people are introverts, workplaces in the United States are increasingly designed with only one personality type in mind: extroverts. Open floor plans, team brainstorming sessions, meetings dominated by the loudest voice. How did we get here and is there no room at the table for the more tranquil among us? Cain postulates that it is a mistake to ignore the subtle power an introvert can offer, and that by leaving their needs unaddressed we are all missing out on a necessary component to a well rounded job environment.
In the early 1900s things changed. Big business boomed and people started migrating to cities and spending their days on the job with strangers instead of living and working in their smaller home communities surrounded by people they knew. Before then you had friends and relatives to hire, and knew to steer clear of the family yours was feuding with. But what happened when people were making hiring decisions without such information? Suddenly job candidates had to become salesmen not just of products but of themselves. Larger-than-life dazzling personalities began to win the day, right or wrong, which was a departure from a prior moral focus on character traits that anyone could work on like discipline, integrity, honor.
That Which is Left Behind
Where did we end up? Unfortunately for introverts we ended up with a love for style ahead of substance. Susan Cain goes on to talk about how pushing introverts to the sidelines was one of the many circumstances that lead to the financial crisis of 2008. So many companies were predominately comprised of over the top yes-men that nobody was listening to the meek voices in the room saying to hold back, to wait. Introverts do a lot of listening, studying, considering. They don’t jump into decisions with partial information. Extroverts help us be bold. Introverts help us be realistic.
Where to Go From Here
Quiet was written in 2012, but still holds a lot of truth in 2018. Society is just starting to notice the imbalance, as evidenced by large numbers of concurring studies popping up with this very same idea in mind. Employers around the United States have had plenty of time to try out offices with no walls and the results are not as cheery as anticipated. Reports show feelings of paranoia, lack of privacy, anxiety. Workers say there is nowhere they can find a moment of peace. Productivity drops with a groupthink approach. Our population is noticing that something is amiss. We are fortunate here at Trig to have a unique approach to collaboration. By working entirely digitally we make room for exactly the right amount of recharge time for our introverts to be comfortable thinking through challenges from every angle without unnecessary distractions. Extroverts are able to jump into chat rooms and talk anytime they need feedback. We all love a good presentation! Quiet by Susan Cain is an excellent novel for understanding the balance we all must find to keep workplaces nurturing and fulfilling.
Thiel’s approach to startups would qualify as a Commitment Culture. Thiel, as an investor, often repeats the maxim, “A startup flawed in its foundation cannot be fixed.” This asserted observation might be contrarian, but it hews to the commitment culture perspective of getting the team and culture right as a primary objective for founders.
Now, I'm not sure if Gerber coined the exhortation, "Work ON your business more than you work IN your business," but he certainly seems responsible for its ubiquity. He finds the McDonald's franchise business model with its obsessive focus on a standardized process for every aspect of a McDonald's restaurant to be the highest aim of any small business, whether the business actually franchises or not.
The book describes the culmination of work from years of Gretchen Rubin's efforts to understand a profound question, "How do I respond to expectations?" She discovered through upwards of 1 million personality survey responses that people tend to fit into one of four Tendencies: Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, and Rebel.
Having read Principles, Ray Dalio has clearly adopted some of the core tenets of Design Thinking, then layered Artificial Intelligence on top of it to create something truly novel. I started writing this book review as a quick skim, yet the ideas in the book are so powerful that they deserve deep introspection and possible application to how we run our organizations.
Most books have one big idea, then fill up space elaborating on that idea. Principles is the opposite - the collected wisdom and big ideas of maverick hedge fund investor, Ray Dalio. Each of his principles are distilled from hard-won painful lessons through his career. His systems of radical transparency and idea meritocracy as refined through his 40 years leading Bridgewater are very compelling for any organization that seeks to consistently grow and adapt over the long haul.
Originals explores how innovators see the world differently and bring others into their success. It is not the high school valedictorians who go on to change the world, Grant argues, since their very success signals that they have perfected following and benefiting from the existing system. By contrast, it is the highly creative children that teachers tend to discriminate against, labeling them as troublemakers.
The Fourth Turning, ultimately, is about the present-day time of Crisis, which is a time of focus, struggle, and sacrifice. External threats, which previously might have been ignored, not become an exaggerated crisis. Laws and customs, once locked in place, get swept away. The demand for order is at an all-time high while the supply of order is at an all-time low.
To read The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker is to observe the Lindy Effect (as expressed by Nassim Taleb) in action. Any technology which is non perishable increases in life expectancy with every day of its life. A book like The Effective Executive has been in print for 50 years and is therefore likely to stay in print for another 50 years.
Business Model Generation is a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers striving to defy outmoded business models and design tomorrow's enterprises. Designed for doers, it is for those ready to abandon outmoded thinking and embrace new models of value creation: for executives, consultants, entrepreneurs, and leaders of all organizations.
Just as the bones in the human body get sturdier as they are exposed to stress and strain and gossip or feelings of unrest intensify when there are efforts enacted to repress them, most aspects of life ultimately benefit from stress, chaos, instability, and unrest. Learned, humorous, and revolutionary, Taleb’s meaning is radical: The antifragile, and only the antifragile, will survive the test of time.