Margaret Heffernan: Forget the pecking order at work
Margaret Heffernan - Management thinker
The former CEO of five businesses, Margaret Heffernan explores the all-too-human thought patterns -- like conflict avoidance and selective blindness -- that lead organizations and managers astray. Full bio
at Purdue University
that concerns all of us --
because you just count the eggs.
his chickens more productive,
he selected just an average flock,
most productive chickens --
only the most productive for breeding.
was doing just fine.
had increased dramatically.
had only achieved their success
of the rest.
talking about this and telling this story
the relevance almost instantly,
things to me like,
we have to get ahead is to compete:
get into the right job, get to the top,
because invention is a joy,
brilliant, creative people
by pecking orders or by superchickens
and some societies
by picking the superstars,
or occasionally women, in the room,
and all the power.
as in William Muir's experiment:
can be successful
the productivity of the rest,
a better way to work
and more productive than others?
a team at MIT took to research.
gave them very hard problems to solve.
what you'd expect,
more successful than others,
was that the high-achieving groups
one or two people
the ones that had the highest
the really successful teams.
of social sensitivity to each other.
the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test.
a test for empathy,
gave roughly equal time to each other,
typically score more highly on
on the empathy quotient?
a more diverse perspective?
thing about this experiment
some groups do better than others,
to each other.
in the real world?
between people really counts,
attuned and sensitive to each other,
They don't waste energy down dead ends.
most successful engineering firms,
the equestrian center
really highly strung thoroughbred horses
not feeling their finest.
the engineer confronted was,
in engineering school -- (Laughter) --
you want to get wrong,
talking to vets, doing the research,
the Jockey Club in New York.
the culture of helpfulness
to successful teams,
have to know everything,
who are good at getting and giving help.
any question in 17 minutes.
high-tech company I've worked with
that this is a technology issue,
is people getting to know each other.
it'll just happen normally,
my first software company,
but not much else,
creative people that I'd hired
on their own individual work,
who they were sitting next to,
that we stop working
to know each other
and now I visit companies
around the coffee machines
a special term for this.
more than a coffee break.
on campus so that people
the whole business that way.
that when the going gets tough,
that really matters,
only people do.
they develop between each other.
called social capital.
and interdependency that builds trust.
who were studying communities
in times of stress.
gives companies momentum,
is what makes companies robust.
compounds with time.
get better, because it takes time
for real candor and openness.
suggested to one company
to talk to each other,
went up 10 percent.
and it's no charter for slackers,
tend to be kind of scratchy,
to think for themselves
because candor is safe.
turn into great ideas,
as a child is born,
but full of possibilities.
contribution, faith and challenge
to talking about this,
in this way.
well, if we start working this way,
of Dramatic Art in London.
for individual pyrotechnics.
between the students,
to producers of hit albums,
lots of superstars in music.
who enjoy the long careers,
is how they found the best
that are renowned
I've had the privilege to work with,
we could give each other
to be superchickens.
truly how social work is,
has routinely pitted
by social capital.
to motivate people with money,
a vast amount of research that shows
motivate each other.
were heroic soloists who were expected,
to solve complex problems.
conditions are created
courageous thinking together.
for the phasing out of CFCs,
in the hole in the ozone layer,
could be found.
adopted three key principles.
Frank Maslen, said,
how disruptive power can be.
that they honored their principles.
companies tackling this hard problem,
if we expect it to be solved
that everybody has value
and imagination and momentum we need
About the speaker:Margaret Heffernan - Management thinker
The former CEO of five businesses, Margaret Heffernan explores the all-too-human thought patterns -- like conflict avoidance and selective blindness -- that lead organizations and managers astray.
Why you should listen
How do organizations think? In her book Willful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan examines why businesses and the people who run them often ignore the obvious -- with consequences as dire as the global financial crisis and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Heffernan began her career in television production, building a track record at the BBC before going on to run the film and television producer trade association IPPA. In the US, Heffernan became a serial entrepreneur and CEO in the wild early days of web business. She now blogs for the Huffington Post and BNET.com. Her latest book, Beyond Measure, a TED Books original, explores the small steps companies can make that lead to big changes in their culture.
Margaret Heffernan | Speaker | TED.com