This post has been written by Business Trainer (Training for Results), friend and long time Business Book Group member, Rosie Barfoot - with huge thanks!
Originals – Adam Grant
This booked received guarded enthusiasm with most people not completing it whether using auditory or actual books. Based on Adam Grant’s experiences, as well as extensive research from others, there are some interesting bits of information, examples, and quotes in it, but it is like panning for gold. You have to sift through a lot of detail to find the nuggets. It was also felt that the author went off into great depth, such as with the suffrage movement, which was unnecessary.
For me, the disappointment was that the structure of the book did not show originality in the presentation of the material. Although it had intriguing chapter titles, the content was very conformist. Ned Hermann, in The Creative Brain, presented the case in a way which backed up what he was explaining.
Having completed the book, I have gleaned some useful material that I can use in my work. There are some good anecdotes, such as how Disney’s The Lion King nearly didn’t make it to the screen and the kind of creative hobbies that original people have.
The suffrage movement demonstrated how fractions within can prevent progress, whereas collaboration with a diverse group can help make your case stronger. Enemies can be a better ally than frenemies. When the suffrage movement teamed up with the temperance society, they increased numbers and created a ground swell which changed the status quo.
Another interesting aspect was to challenge some widely held beliefs. The first being that procrastination can be a good thing. The early bird may catch the worm, but the early worm gets eaten! Those who held back and were not the first into the market often did better than the initiators. Trying to make the first step change in people’s mindsets can be difficult, but it is much easier the second time.
Although originality is what everyone wants, there is a sweet spot. If it is not original enough, it is boring or trite, but if it is too original, it may be hard for the audience to understand.
Another challenge, which is relevant in the current Brexit deals, was the need to have ‘hawks’ in your negotiations. To build coalitions across conflict lines, it is rarely effective to send hawks to negotiate. You need the doves in each group to sit down, listen to each other’s perspective, identify the common goals and methods, and engage in joint problem solving.
If you do not feel like reading the whole book, then there are some good practical actions from each chapter – go to the end!