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FRICTION with Bob Sutton

Stanford eCorner

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 ra...Show More
Turning Friction Into Fire: Lessons from Season 2

24:51 | Aug 15th, 2018

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 inc...Show More
The Emperor Has No Clue

25:23 | Aug 8th, 2018

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 ...Show More
Can't Stand the Heat? Get Rid of the Friction

26:14 | Aug 1st, 2018

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 t...Show More
Dear Micro-Manager, Control Yourself

25:56 | Jul 25th, 2018

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 epi...Show More
Simple Rules Set You Free

23:24 | Jul 18th, 2018

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 a...Show More
Sweet Rejection: Cutting Out the Noise

23:30 | Jul 11th, 2018

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 im...Show More
Over, Under, Through: Fixing Government Friction

25:57 | Jul 4th, 2018

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 gove...Show More
The Customers Made Us Scale It

19:30 | Jun 27th, 2018

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 ...Show More
Productive Paranoia: Lights, Camera...Anxiety!

26:18 | Jun 20th, 2018

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. Si...Show More
Agile on the Edges: Managing Misfits

22:41 | Jun 13th, 2018

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...Show More
The Spreadsheet Troll: Tales of Silos and Scaling

27:46 | Jun 6th, 2018

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 ne...Show More
Tenacious Compassion: Leading Through the Storm

23:51 | May 30th, 2018

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, ...Show More
FRICTION Season 2: Coming Soon

01:26 | May 23rd, 2018

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 ...Show More
Five Ways to Reduce Workplace Friction

10:00 | Aug 23rd, 2017

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 fell...Show More
Bonus Episode: A Professor’s Radically Candid Closing Thoughts

11:40 | Aug 16th, 2017

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 co...Show More
Friction's Antidote: Radical Candor

47:12 | Aug 16th, 2017

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

27:24 | Aug 9th, 2017

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...Show More
The Virtues of Hierarchy, Structure, and Temporary Teams

26:49 | Aug 2nd, 2017

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 epis...Show More
The Curse of Petty Tyrants and Other Workplace A-holes

22:38 | Jul 26th, 2017

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 Survi...Show More
DIY Sabotage: Lick The Cookie

26:20 | Jul 19th, 2017

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 productivit...Show More
Constructive Chaos vs. Clusterf***s

27:27 | Jul 12th, 2017

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 between struc...Show More
The Basic Hygiene of Management

25:29 | Jul 5th, 2017

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 corporate strategy ...Show More
Don't Sugar Coat Your Culture

23:24 | Jun 28th, 2017

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 talent of...Show More
Agile is a State of Being

18:09 | Jun 19th, 2017

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 the enemy. I...Show More