Adam Grant: Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers

Adam Grant wrote Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers.

I’ve often witnessed an amazing power in collaboration around brainstorming and great ideas. It is amazing when it happens and has led to some of the best work in which I’ve participated.  At times, though, managers will need to nudge their teams along when it comes to brainstorming. We’ve all avoided sharing the dumb idea or suggesting something tried before.

This talk by Adam Grant about the Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers and the accompanying discussion guide may help you to appreciate how your team may process their ideas, come up with creative ideas, and communicate about those ideas.

In global health, we strive to be innovative and come up with creative approaches to solving complex health issues.  It is a task with significant weight–truly lives are on the line.

Might you be up for leading your team in a discussion about creativity and original thinking?  Hopefully we can help to support the creativity of our teams and help to grow comfort in thinking about the same old problems in new sorts of ways.

PS: The Lean In website has lots of great resources that you can use. I am a fan of the discussion guides that can be used to guide our teams through difficult conversations or to help set team norms.

PPS: I used some of Grant’s ideas as inspiration for the training I did for CDC Haiti. I can do the same for you!

Here’s more info about Grant

Furthermore, Adam Grant has been Wharton’s top-rated professor for 7 straight years. In addition, as an organizational psychologist, he is a leading expert on how we can find motivation and meaning, rethink assumptions, and live more generous and creative lives. He has been recognized as one of the world’s 10 most influential management thinkers and Fortune’s 40 under 40. 


Feedback bubbles

Not to toot my own horn, but I tend to be quite good at accepting feedback and and incorporating it into my work.  I value it as an essential tool of collaborative work and as a means of ensuring that multiple voices and perspectives are heard and incorporated.

Perhaps you share this experience: a colleague delivered painful, unsolicited criticism so late in the game that you end up facing a sleepless night on the eve of a big event or before a deadline.  Oh, the wound is still fresh!

In any case, we can always try to be proactive about getting responses and reactions to our work.  I quite like the AWARE model:

Ask for feedback, 
Watch your emotions, 
Ask questions to clarify, 
Reach out for perspectives, and 
Engage your potential.

I particularly liked the description of why these discussions can be difficult–as it lives in that tense spot between
the need to learn and grow, and the need to be accepted just the way we are. Yet, becoming comfortable with these conversation hones our growth mindset and helps us see it as a gift. 

Your feedback:

  • Consider watching the video with your team. Lead them in a discussion about giving and getting feedback. 
  • Can you shift your mindset to one of growth and see feedback as a gift? Your challenge for the week? Ask for feedback from one of your colleagues by using the AWARE model.  
  • Read more here!