47 minutes | Jun 10, 2019

Adam Grant

We got a lot smarter after talking with Adam Grant on this new episode of A Call to Lead. You may know Adam from his best-selling books including Give and Take and Originals, and his hit podcast, WorkLife. Professor Grant's classes at Wharton are also wildly popular, which isn't surprising because he is one of today's smartest, freshest, and, yes, most original thinkers on leadership and success. Adam and I tackled these topics from all angles. Here are 5 Points from this show that my team found especially compelling:   On a recent episode of WorkLife, Adam talked about how to remember things. I asked him about that. "If you want to remember specific things, I think there are three things [you should do]: The first one is, you should not reread stuff, or highlight it, or do any of the things that probably you did in college. What you want to do actually is quiz yourself on it, and what that forces you to do is practice retrieving the information. Second, you should summarize it and share it with somebody else. The third is, it's much easier to remember anything if you can connect it to experiences you've previously had."   The best leaders solicit feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. "Early in your career, your biggest challenge is to understand your own strengths and weaknesses, and figure out how you can help people work most effectively with you. There's a practice I love that a growing number of leaders are using, which is to go to the five to 10 people who work closely with you and have them write a manual for how to work better with you for."   The problem is, veteran leaders tend to stop soliciting feedback: "When leaders are new, they seek a ton of feedback because they're orienting themselves to the role. They want to figure out whether they're meeting people's expectations. Then, as they get comfortable, feedback seeking starts to wane. And that's when they start needing it the most, because the less they ask for it, the fewer signals they're sending out to people around them that they're open to it. And then they gain more power and status, and people become more and more fearful of speaking truth to power."   The best team-builders nurture givers: "The higher you climb, the more your success depends on making other people successful. This is one of the reasons I think it's so important to train people to think like givers early. By the time you get into a leadership role, if you don't understand how to help other people succeed, then your accomplishments are totally dependent on the amount of time you have available in the day."   Culture wins, especially when it’s practiced and modeled when no one is looking. "It's really valuable for a leader to be clear about what the culture is and tell the stories about it from day one. If you're not clear, your firm's performance suffers. And if at some point you realize, 'Gosh, we have the wrong cultural blueprint' and try to change it, you're even more likely to fail. It creates cultural upheaval. There's some evidence that the best stories are junior employees upholding the culture without anyone having to tell them what to do, and the worst stories are senior leaders violating the culture." You can learn more by visiting: www.sap.com/acalltolead. And you can subscribe and listen to episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher. We welcome your feedback on the pod! Tweet me @JenniferBMorgan and use the hashtag #acalltolead or e-mail us at acalltolead@sap.com. Where to Listen: Subscribe and listen to episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher. --- Jennifer Morgan is a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE and President of SAP’s Cloud Business Group.
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