FRICTION with Bob Sutton-logo

FRICTION with Bob Sutton

Education Podcasts >

Part organizational design. Part therapy. Organizational psychologist and Stanford Professor Bob Sutton is back to tackle friction, the phenomenon that frustrates employees, fatigues teams and causes organizations to flounder and fail. Loaded with raw stories of time pressure, courage under ridiculous odds and emotional processing, FRICTION distills research insights and practical tactics to improve the way we work. Listen up as we take you into the friction and velocity of producing made-for-TV movies, scaling up design thinking, leading through crisis and more. Guests include Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn, Eric Ries of Lean Startup fame, and restaurateurs Craig and Annie Stoll; as well as academic leaders from Stanford University and beyond. FRICTION is a Stanford eCorner original series.

Part organizational design. Part therapy. Organizational psychologist and Stanford Professor Bob Sutton is back to tackle friction, the phenomenon that frustrates employees, fatigues teams and causes organizations to flounder and fail. Loaded with raw stories of time pressure, courage under ridiculous odds and emotional processing, FRICTION distills research insights and practical tactics to improve the way we work. Listen up as we take you into the friction and velocity of producing made-for-TV movies, scaling up design thinking, leading through crisis and more. Guests include Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn, Eric Ries of Lean Startup fame, and restaurateurs Craig and Annie Stoll; as well as academic leaders from Stanford University and beyond. FRICTION is a Stanford eCorner original series.
More Information

Location:

United States

Description:

Part organizational design. Part therapy. Organizational psychologist and Stanford Professor Bob Sutton is back to tackle friction, the phenomenon that frustrates employees, fatigues teams and causes organizations to flounder and fail. Loaded with raw stories of time pressure, courage under ridiculous odds and emotional processing, FRICTION distills research insights and practical tactics to improve the way we work. Listen up as we take you into the friction and velocity of producing made-for-TV movies, scaling up design thinking, leading through crisis and more. Guests include Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn, Eric Ries of Lean Startup fame, and restaurateurs Craig and Annie Stoll; as well as academic leaders from Stanford University and beyond. FRICTION is a Stanford eCorner original series.

Language:

English


Episodes

Turning Friction Into Fire: Lessons from Season 2

8/15/2018
More
In the final episode of season two, Stanford Professor Bob Sutton and producer Rachel Julkowski look for signs of hope in and lessons gleaned from our friction-filled world. We can’t fix every messy, frustrating organization overnight, but we can increase predictability for employees and start making it safer for everyone to share information that challenges us to see beyond our roles and experiences.

Duration:02:09:35

The Emperor Has No Clue

8/8/2018
More
Too much friction drives you crazy, but too little leaves you adrift. In this episode, Stanford Professor Bob Sutton and Hayagreeva Rao, professor in the Stanford Graduate School of Business and coauthor of Scaling Up Excellence, discuss their quest for the “just right” amount of friction. Sure, you can make structural changes, but you’ll never optimize friction if you don’t understand and deal with what people are feeling.

Duration:00:28:24

Can't Stand the Heat? Get Rid of the Friction

8/1/2018
More
The temperature is higher and things move faster, but restaurant kitchens aren’t so different from any other workplace—you’ve got egos, stress, and the constant pressure to deliver. In this episode, Craig and Annie Stoll, husband and wife owners of the renowned San Francisco-based Delfina Restaurant Group, talk with Stanford Professor Bob Sutton about the organized chaos that rules restaurant kitchens. What keeps everything from going off the rails, the Stolls explain, is predictability and...

Duration:00:41:48

Dear Micro-Manager, Control Yourself

7/25/2018
More
The modern workplace is killing people and no one cares. That’s the sobering conclusion of Jeffrey Pfeffer’s new book "Dying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance—and What We Can Do About It." In this episode, Stanford Professor Bob Sutton and Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, discuss the toxic workplace practices that are making employees not just miserable but sick. To cure this...

Duration:02:21:41

Simple Rules Set You Free

7/18/2018
More
Rules get an unfairly bad rap. In this episode, Stanford Engineering Professor Kathleen Eisenhardt, author of Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World, and Stanford Professor Bob Sutton discuss the virtues of structure and guidelines. As long as your rules are clear and customized to your organization, Eisenhardt says, they won’t get in your way. In fact, the right set of rules—everything from Michael Pollan’s “eat food, not too much, mostly plants” to “no emails on the weekend”—can...

Duration:00:27:09

Sweet Rejection: Cutting Out the Noise

7/11/2018
More
You don’t need as many ideas as you think you do. In this episode, Stanford Professor Bob Sutton and Henning Piezunka, assistant professor at the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD), debunk brainstorming myths and talk about the importance of saving time and energy. Piezunka explains that rejecting ideas is a delicate art that can actually deepen relationships—and that saying “no” is much better than saying nothing.

Duration:00:26:25

Over, Under, Through: Fixing Government Friction

7/4/2018
More
Can you dampen friction in the bureaucracy-laden, ego-filled halls of the United States government? Yes-- you can, says Jennifer Anastasoff. As head of people for the United States Digital Service (USDS), a non-partisan tech group in the federal government created to better deliver government services and improve the lives of people in America, Anastasoff looked for people who cared about the USDS mission more than their own glory. In this episode, Anastasoff and Stanford Professor Bob...

Duration:00:25:57

The Customers Made Us Scale It

6/27/2018
More
Many companies likes to think they’re practicing design thinking, but most of them are wrong. Sam Yen, former Chief Design Officer of SAP and now Managing Director at JP Morgan Chase & Company, speaks with Stanford Professor Bob Sutton about how the design thinking movement gets lost in translation. He shares how SAP harnessed the energy of customers to combat employee inertia and foot-dragging.

Duration:00:24:28

Productive Paranoia: Lights, Camera...Anxiety!

6/20/2018
More
If your stunt coordinator falls asleep in an important meeting, you can expect trouble later, says Hollywood executive producer Sheri Singer. In this episode, Singer and Stanford Professor Bob Sutton talk about the value of worry in the workplace. Singer, executive producer of 37 made-for-TV movies including “Halloweentown,” says that in the fast-paced, budget-crunched world of moviemaking, she’s learned to keep a watchful eye for problem people on her film projects—and to trust her gut...

Duration:02:20:10

Agile on the Edges: Managing Misfits

6/13/2018
More
To create a culture of innovation inside a large organization, leaders need to help their organizations become bimodal, says Michael Arena, chief talent officer at General Motors and author of Adaptive Space: How GM and other Companies are Disrupting Themselves and Transforming into Agile Organizations. In this episode, Arena and Stanford Professor Bob Sutton talk about ways large organizations can retain the benefits of size while also making room for internal disruption. It all comes down...

Duration:00:21:58

The Spreadsheet Troll: Tales of Silos and Scaling

6/6/2018
More
When companies get big, they stop innovating. In this episode, Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, talks with Stanford Professor Bob Sutton about ways to fight back against the sluggishness of scale. If you really want employees to come up with new ideas, Ries says, workplace posters and glib slogans won’t cut it. You’ve got to measure innovation and reward it, failures and all.

Duration:00:26:47

Tenacious Compassion: Leading Through the Storm

5/30/2018
More
The best leaders cultivate empathy, patience and an awareness of their own vulnerabilities, says Nancy F. Koehn, a historian at the Harvard Business School. She’s the author of Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times, about the zigzagging paths of five historical figures, from Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass to environmentalist Rachel Carson. In this episode, Koehn speaks with Stanford Professor Bob Sutton about how transformational leaders slow down...

Duration:02:06:06

FRICTION Season 2: Coming Soon

5/23/2018
More
Stanford Engineering Professor Bob Sutton is back at it to find the causes and cures for dysfunctional organizational friction. Part organizational design, part therapy, season two of the FRICTION podcast dives into stories of trailblazers who knew when to slow down and think -- and when to speed up and break through the walls of bureaucracy. Buckle up for episodes featuring leadership coach and Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn, Lean Startup guru Eric Ries restaurateurs Craig...

Duration:00:01:26

Five Ways to Reduce Workplace Friction

8/22/2017
More
For our wrap-up of FRICTION, Stanford Engineering’s Bob Sutton returns to the premise of the podcast - work doesn’t have to suck - and shares his top five takeaways from all the lively and frequently raw discussions he’s had over the summer with fellow experts on management, organizational behavior and other aspects of today’s work environment. A professor of management science and engineering, Sutton signs off by asking listeners for answers to two questions about friction that still...

Duration:00:09:57

Bonus Episode: A Professor’s Radically Candid Closing Thoughts

8/15/2017
More
At the end of our live recording of the final FRICTION episode, which you should listen to first, Stanford University business Professor Hayagreeva “Huggy” Rao took to the stage and shared some closing thoughts on podcast host Bob Sutton’s raucous conversation with Kim Scott about her new bestselling book “Radical Candor.” In scholarly, dulcet tones, Rao observes how we can't be brutally honest with one another without the social lubricants of wonder and insight.

Duration:00:11:36

Friction's Antidote: Radical Candor

8/15/2017
More
For our final full episode, Stanford Engineering’s Bob Sutton sits down with Kim Scott, author of the New York Times bestseller “Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity.” Before a live audience in San Francisco, they discuss how we can all develop the courage to tell co-workers when they can do better, as well as face critical feedback ourselves. Do you pull punches just because you want to be liked, or fear you’ll make someone else angry? Multiply that over an entire...

Duration:00:46:58

People Who Push Too Hard: Lessons from Airline Employees, Prison Guards, and Workplace Vigilantes

8/8/2017
More
Professor DeCelles studies settings that are rife with friction, frustration, and fatigue. In this episode, Stanford Engineering’s Bob Sutton interviews the University of Toronto’s Katy DeCelles about how people deal with the constraints and stresses of prison and airports. Employees in both settings are required to enforce strict rules, which can inflame the often distressed, manipulative, and overbearing people that they care for and oversee. DeCelles explains how prison guards and airline...

Duration:00:27:16

The Virtues of Hierarchy, Structure, and Temporary Teams

8/1/2017
More
We could all use a little structure — in our lives and, yes, at work (maybe they’re one and the same). The projects we work on get more complex by the day, whether it's the technology, timezones or that sudden call from the school nurse. In this episode, Stanford organizational psychologist Bob Sutton speaks with his colleague Melissa Valentine, an assistant professor of management science and engineering who studies the way we work nowadays: observing the chaos of patient care in hospitals,...

Duration:00:26:42

The Curse of Petty Tyrants and Other Workplace A-holes

7/25/2017
More
When we’re at work, we recognize them instantly. But what type of asshole are they? Are they just a stunted playground bully, or perhaps the dreaded petty tyrant? Stanford Engineering Professor Bob Sutton, author of the forthcoming “The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt,” and eCorner’s Rachel Julkowski discuss the different kinds of office jerks who make life hell for the rest of us, why they behave so badly, and specific ways to deal with them. Also...

Duration:00:22:32

DIY Sabotage: Lick The Cookie

7/18/2017
More
As kids, it worked every time: Out of sheer greed, you claim the last Oreo by licking it and grossing out all your friends. As adults, it’s your colleague who tells everyone he plans to work on something just so no one else does - halting productivity and progress. In this episode, Stanford Engineering Professor Bob Sutton and his co-conspirator Rebecca Hinds crack open a recently declassified World War II field manual for undercover saboteurs, drawing parallels to the ways businesses...

Duration:00:26:13