When we think about rebellious behavior in the context of organizations and companies, we tend to think of rebels as trouble-makers, rabble-rousers; in other words, people who make decisions and processes more difficult because they may not follow the established rules or norms. But rebel behavior can also be incredibly positive and constructive—in keeping us from stagnation, encouraging growth and learning, increasing curiosity and creativity.In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, a social scientist who studies organizations, breaks down with a16z's Hanne Tidnam what makes rebels different in how they tend to see and do things—whether that’s cooking, flying planes, or holding board meetings—and what we can all learn from “rebel talent” to make our organizations more productive and innovative.
Francesca Gino studies rebels — people who practice "positive deviance" and achieve incredible feats of imagination. They know how, and when, to break the rules that should be broken. So how can you activate your own inner non-conformist? This week, we ponder the traits of successful rebels as we revisit our 2018 conversation with Gino.
Is your job turning into something you don’t want? Dan and Alison answer your questions with the help of Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard Business School. They talk through what to do when your boss gives you duties you dislike, your company is grooming you for roles you can’t see yourself in, or you’ve been offered a different job than the one you applied for.
From Alison and Dan’s reading list:
HBR: How to Say No to Taking on More Work by Rebecca Knight — “Sometimes you have too much on your plate or you’re just not interested in taking on a project you’ve been asked to work on. You might not have a choice in the matter, but if you do, how do you turn down the opportunity in a way that won’t offend the person offering? How can you avoid being labeled ‘not a team player’ or ‘difficult to work with’?”
HBR: How to Tell Your Boss You Don’t Want a Promotion by Patricia Thompson — “As an executive coach, I’ve worked with many talented individuals who had the potential to be promoted, but were uninterested in taking on more. Sharing this desire with their bosses often felt threatening, particularly because they were seen as talented, and often, as possible successors. Striking the balance between advocating for their own wishes without seeming ungrateful or unambitious was a challenge.”
HBR: Managing Yourself: Turn the Job You Have into the Job You Want by Amy Wrzesniewski, Justin M. Berg, and Jane E. Dutton— “Job crafting is a simple visual framework that can help you make meaningful and lasting changes in your job—in good economies and bad. But it all has to start with taking a step back from the daily grind and realizing that you actually have the ability to reconfigure the elements of your work.”
HBR: The Surprising Power of Questions by Alison Wood Brooks and Leslie John — “Questioning is a uniquely powerful tool for unlocking value in organizations: It spurs learning and the exchange of ideas, it fuels innovation and performance improvement, it builds rapport and trust among team members.”