FRICTION with Bob Sutton
By Stanford eCorner
To listen to an audio podcast, mouse over the title and click Play. Open iTunes to download and subscribe to 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.
||CleanTurning Friction Into Fire: Lessons from Season 2||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.||8/15/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Emperor Has No Clue||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.||8/8/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanCan't Stand the Heat? Get Rid of the Friction||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 consistency.||8/1/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitDear Micro-Manager, Control Yourself||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 dangerous state of affairs, Pfeffer prescribes a healthy dose of butting out: companies need to stop micromanaging, and let employees do their work and go home.||7/25/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanSimple Rules Set You Free||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 keep teams focused, productive, and harmonious.||7/18/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanSweet Rejection: Cutting Out the Noise||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.||7/11/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanOver, Under, Through: Fixing Government Friction||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 Sutton talk about the importance of working behind the scenes to build consensus, and valuing results over recognition.||7/4/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Customers Made Us Scale It||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.||6/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitProductive Paranoia: Lights, Camera...Anxiety!||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 about small behaviors that may signal major problems.||6/20/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanAgile on the Edges: Managing Misfits||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 to attracting energizers and challengers-- the networked employees who motivate others to adopt new practices and the deviants who care enough about your mission to shake things up.||6/13/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Spreadsheet Troll: Tales of Silos and Scaling||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.||6/6/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTenacious Compassion: Leading Through the Storm||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 and harness their humanity to overcome significant challenges.||5/30/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanFRICTION Season 2: Coming Soon||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 and Annie Stoll and much, much more. New episodes drop May 30th.||5/23/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanFive Ways to Reduce Workplace Friction||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...||8/22/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitFriction's Antidote: Radical Candor||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...||8/15/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitBonus Episode: A Professor’s Radically Candid Closing Thoughts||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...||8/15/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanPeople Who Push Too Hard: Lessons from Airline Employees, Prison Guards, and Workplace Vigilantes||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...||8/8/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Virtues of Hierarchy, Structure, and Temporary Teams||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...||8/1/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitThe Curse of Petty Tyrants and Other Workplace A-holes||When we’re at work, we recognize them instantly. But what type of a*****e 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...||7/25/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanDIY Sabotage: Lick The Cookie||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...||7/18/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitConstructive Chaos vs. Clusterf***s||They look and smell alike, but there is a difference between the two types of messiness in the workplace. That difference is intention. In this episode, Stanford management expert Bob Sutton discusses how organizations achieve a balance...||7/11/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitThe Basic Hygiene of Management||In order to understand how friction helps and harms work, Stanford’s Bob Sutton, author of the forthcoming “Asshole Survival Guide,” interviews management expert Michael Dearing, a former senior vice president at eBay who has done...||7/4/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitDon't Sugar Coat Your Culture||Startups may want to downplay the free food, beer and haircuts and start hiring and treating workers like the adults they need to thrive long term, according to acclaimed leadership consultant Patty McCord. In this episode, the former chief...||6/27/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitAgile is a State of Being||Friction is the force that stands in the way of getting things done, and it’s everywhere because we work in an increasingly complex and collaborative world. But before we can eliminate this costly drag on our time, we must first call out...||6/18/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
Friction fighters must listen
I have been following Bob's writing for a while now and I appreciate the mater of fact approach he takes to explaining leadership and business strategies. If you are one to never let the status quo creep in then I highly suggest subscribing and also following him on LinkedIn.
I'm a fan of Professor Sutton's and I love this new podcast! It is fresh and exciting and edited extremely well. Highly suggested!
Much Needed Sound Advice
I love this podcast! It is refreshing to hear experts question best practices and unpack unconventional wisdoms. I laughed, I pondered, I tried new tactics at work.