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Work and Life with Stew Friedman

Welcome to the Work and Life Podcast with Stew Friedman -- bestselling author, celebrated professor at The Wharton School, and founder of Wharton's Work/Life Integration Project. Stew is widely recognized as the world's ... More
Latest Episode
2019-5-22

Ep 124. Hal Gregersen: Questions Are The Answer

Hal Gregersen is Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center and Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His new book is Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to your Most Vexing Problems at Work and In Life. Hal has been ranked one of the world’s 25 most influential management thinkers by Thinkers50 and was winner of the 2017 Distinguished Achievement Award for leadership. He’s co-authored ten books, including The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators. He is also founder of The 4-24 Project, an initiative dedicated to rekindling the provocative power of asking the right questions in adults so they can pass this crucial creativity skill onto the next generation. He is the creator of a unique executive development experience Leadership and the Lens: Learning at the Intersection of Innovation and Image-Making a course that draws on his two passions – photography and innovation–to teach participants how to ask radically better questions and change their impact as leaders.


In this episode Stew and Hal discuss the importance of posing questions and allowing them to sink in rather than jumping to answers and solutions. They talk about the ways in which putting yourself in a novel, even uncomfortable, situation compels you to ask questions that not only inform your understanding but can also challenge your grasp of the status quo. Hal provides a compelling example of his method for setting aside a four full minutes to do nothing but generate questions about a given dilemma or challenge and how that exercise alone can alter one’s perspective. For more about Hal, go to halgregersen.com and for those who are curious about Stew’s father’s photography, which they discussed, check out http://victorfriedmanphotography.com/.

2019-5-22

Ep 124. Hal Gregersen: Questions Are The Answer

Hal Gregersen is Executive Director of the MIT Leadership Center and Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His new book is Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to your Most Vexing Problems at Work and In Life. Hal has been ranked one of the world’s 25 most influential management thinkers by Thinkers50 and was winner of the 2017 Distinguished Achievement Award for leadership. He’s co-authored ten books, including The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators. He is also founder of The 4-24 Project, an initiative dedicated to rekindling the provocative power of asking the right questions in adults so they can pass this crucial creativity skill onto the next generation. He is the creator of a unique executive development experience Leadership and the Lens: Learning at the Intersection of Innovation and Image-Making a course that draws on his two passions – photography and innovation–to teach participants how to ask radically better questions and change their impact as leaders.


In this episode Stew and Hal discuss the importance of posing questions and allowing them to sink in rather than jumping to answers and solutions. They talk about the ways in which putting yourself in a novel, even uncomfortable, situation compels you to ask questions that not only inform your understanding but can also challenge your grasp of the status quo. Hal provides a compelling example of his method for setting aside a four full minutes to do nothing but generate questions about a given dilemma or challenge and how that exercise alone can alter one’s perspective. For more about Hal, go to halgregersen.com and for those who are curious about Stew’s father’s photography, which they discussed, check out http://victorfriedmanphotography.com/.

2019-5-15

Ep 123. Reem Kassis: An MBA Returns to Her Palestinian Roots

Reem Kassis, an alum of Stew’s Total Leadership course at Wharton, is a Palestinian writer and her debut cookbook, The Palestinian Table, was nominated for a James Beard award, short-listed for the Andre Simon Award and the Edward Stanford Award, and won The Guild of Food Writers First Book Award. The book received rave reviews from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Solomonov, was named one of NPR’s best books of 2017, and has been featured in The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, and The Guardian among others. Born and raised in Jerusalem, Reem holds two undergraduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from Wharton, and an MSc in social psychology from The London School of Economics. A former McKinsey consultant, today Reem is using the power of food and storytelling to share the Palestinian narrative with the world. She is currently working on her second cookbook about the evolving, cross-cultural food of the Middle East.


In this episode Stew and Reem discuss the courage that it takes to stop “ticking the boxes” in order to follow your own interests, your own values, your own metrics for success as a human being rather than continuing to follow others’ versions of what success might mean. Reem speaks candidly about how scary it was for her to step off the standard track, to confront her own outdated beliefs, to find and listen to those who “are in the ring with you” -- your true supporters -- and to realize the power of taking small steps toward a big idea. For information about her recipes, her moving descriptions of her homeland, and the ways in which food can bridge divides visit www.reemkassis.com


2019-5-8

Ep 122. Adam Alter: The War for Our Attention

Adam Alter is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Psychology at New York University’s Stern School of Business and a New York Times bestselling author of two books on addictive behavior, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked and Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave. Adam’s academic research focuses on behavioral economics and human judgment and decision-making, with a particular interest in the effects of environmental cues on human cognition and behavior. He has written for the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and WIRED, among other publications. He has shared his ideas at the World Economic Forum, and with dozens of companies, including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and LinkedIn, as well as numerous design and ad agencies around the world.


In this episode Stew and Adam discuss the insidious, incredibly powerful ways by which new technologies have created, perhaps in an unintended way, behavioral addictions that negatively impact our social lives, of inner lives, our finances, and more.  They explore some of the ways that, as individuals, we can try to combat these forces in our own lives by first becoming aware of them and then making choices and changes that become habits. Adam talks about how European and Asian countries are well ahead of the U.S. in legislating and curtailing the damage being wrought by companies whose main aim is to make money for shareholders as opposed to improving lives.


2019-5-1

Ep 121. Julia King Pool: How Positive Psychology Helps Teachers Thrive

Julia King Pool is an alumna, and now on the faculty, of the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program and is Founder and CEO of Burn-In Mindset. Advised by Angela Duckworth and Claire Robertson Kraft, Julia and Sophia Kokores co-authored a study on the mindsets of exemplar teachers in urban education. Their research became the inspiration for founding Burn-in Mindset.  Julia worked in urban education for a decade. She helped to lead the opening of two public-charter schools and has been an elementary and middle school teacher in the public and public-charter schools of Los Angeles, Gary, Indiana, and Washington, DC.  She has received numerous awards for her contributions to K through 12 education, including the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award from Teach For America. She was also named the 2013 DC Teacher of the Year.


In this episode, Stew and Julia discuss the extraordinary stress and strain experienced by teachers in K- 12 that too often results in exhaustion, and unnecessary, expensive turnover.  They explore the ways in which positive psychology can help teachers to remain strong, healthy, resilient and engaged, both for themselves and for their students. Julia describes some of the core principles of positive psychology and the ways she has adapted them for use by high-performing teachers.  They can be applied in any job and for our relationships outside of work, too. Take the free VIA (Values in Action) survey to learn more about your strengths and ways to develop them to start to increase your own resilience.



2019-4-24

Ep 120. Gretchen Spreitzer: Thriving at Work

Gretchen Spreitzer is the Keith E. and Valerie J. Alessi Professor of Business Administration at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.  Her research focuses on employee empowerment and leadership development, particularly within a context of organizational change and decline. Her recent research examines how organizations can enable thriving.  This is part of a movement in the field of organizational behavior known as Positive Organizational Scholarship.  Gretchen co-authored How to Be a Positive Leader: Small Actions, Big Impact with Jane Dutton.  


Stew and Gretchen discuss the ways in which we have more control and discretion than we believe we have in order to make small, meaningful changes in our work, no matter what work we do and no matter where we fall in an organizational hierarchy. They talk about the importance of finding meaning in one’s work, of having a purpose, of making an impact, and they explore practical ways to make this a reality in our daily lives.  They discuss the spillover from work to home and from home to work and how energy is a renewal resource that does not necessarily become depleted but can be mutually enriching across the different parts of life.



2019-4-17

Ep 119. Kevin Kruse: Great Leaders Have No Rule

Kevin Kruse is the Founder and CEO of LEADx and a New York Times best selling author. His latest book is Great Leaders Have No Rules: Contrarian Leadership Principles to Transform Your Team and Business.  Kevin started his first company at the age of 22 and went on to build, and sell, several multimillion dollar technology companies, winning both Inc 500 and Best Place to Work awards. He is also the author of We: How to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement, Employee Engagement 2.0, and 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management. He is a Forbes Leadership columnist and was named one of the Top Thought Leaders in Trust Across America.


Stew and Kevin talk about lessons Kevin has distilled from his experiences, both his failures and his successes.  He shares his somewhat unorthodox views on leadership -- including a closed and not an open-door policy, the importance of picking favorites, and having “no rules.”  This does not mean anything goes, laissez-faire. It means having crucial conversations about shared values and co-creating standards that flow from them. Kevin believes all of us lead in all the different parts of our lives.  It’s not a matter of whether you’re leading but, rather, what your leadership is and what impact you’re having. Kevin’s insights on how he learned this big idea and how he uses it are both profound and practical.



2019-4-10

Ep 118. Chip Conley: The Making of a Modern Elder

At age 26 Chip Conley founded Joie de Vivre Hospitality, transforming an inner-city motel into the second largest boutique hotel brand in America. After running his company as CEO for 24 years, he sold it and went on to help the founders of Airbnb transform their start-up into the world’s leading hospitality brand. Chip served as Airbnb’s Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy for four years and today acts as the company’s Strategic Advisor for Hospitality and Leadership. Chip is a recipient of hospitality’s highest honor, the Pioneer Award, and holds a BA and MBA from Stanford University, and an honorary doctorate in psychology from Saybrook University. He serves on the boards of the Burning Man Project and the Esalen Institute, where the Conley Library bears his name. He recently launched the Modern Elder Academy.


In this episode Stew and Chip discuss Chip’s latest book, Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder and the future of work wherein so many in midlife will be reporting to those younger than themselves. They review the many ways organizations can capitalize on the loyalty as well as the wisdom of the mature employee.  They talk about how intergenerational mutual learning is beneficial for both the individuals involved and for the company. Chip enumerates the ways a modern elder can add value not merely by dint of loyalty to the company and the capacity to mentor younger people, but also because they’ve accrued considerable experience, emotional intelligence, and wisdom -- not so much factual information as hard-won knowledge about how to make the process of working together work.