Think Again: Adam Grant on the Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

45 Minutes
Adam Grant

In this episode, Wharton’s top-rated professor and organizational psychologist Adam Grant invites us to examine the critical leadership skill of rethinking: learning to question your opinions and open other people’s minds, making you a stronger and more flexible leader in the process.

In an increasingly divided world, too many of us favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt. The result is that we can become siloed in our lives and in our workplaces, surrounded by people who agree with our conclusions instead of challenging our thought process.

Transcript & additional resources for this episode below!

 


 

Adam Grant

Adam Grant has been Wharton’s top-rated professor for seven straight years. As an organizational psychologist, he studies how we can find motivation and meaning, and lead more generous and creative lives. He has been recognized as one of the world’s 10 most influential management thinkers, Fortune’s 40 under 40, and Oprah’s Super Soul 100. He is the author of multiple number one New York Times best-selling books that have sold over 2 million copies and been translated into 35 languages: Give and Take, Originals, Option B, and Power Moves. His new book is THINK AGAIN: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know, (February 2, 2021). Grant’s TED talks on original thinkers and givers and takers have been viewed more than 20 million times. He hosts WorkLife, a chart-topping TED original podcast; writes on work and psychology for The New York Times; serves on the Defense Innovation Board at the Pentagon; and has received a number of distinguished awards. He has over 3 million followers on social media and shares monthly insights in his newsletter, GRANTED. He was tenured at Wharton while still in his twenties, and has received the Excellence in Teaching Award for every class that he has taught. He is the founder and host of the Authors@Wharton speaker series, and co-director of Wharton People Analytics. He curates the Next Big Idea Club along with Susan Cain, Malcolm Gladwell, and Dan Pink, handpicking two new books each quarter for subscribers and donating 100% of profits to provide books for children in under-resourced communities. He is also the cofounder of Givitas, a knowledge collaboration platform that makes it easy to give and receive help in five minutes a day. @adammgrant

 

Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee Celeste Headlee is a communication and human nature expert, and an award-winning journalist. She is a professional speaker, and also the author of Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving, Heard Mentality and We Need to Talk. In her twenty-year career in public radio, she has been the executive producer of On Second Thought at Georgia Public Radio, and anchored programs including Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. She also served as cohost of the national morning news show The Takeaway from PRI and WNYC, and anchored presidential coverage in 2012 for PBS World Channel. Headlee’s TEDx talk sharing ten ways to have a better conversation has over twenty million total views to date. @CelesteHeadlee

 


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Adam Grant Interview Transcript:

Celeste Headlee:

Hello there. I’m Celeste Headlee, and it is such a pleasure to be here speaking with Adam Grant. Hi, Adam. Thanks for joining us.

Adam Grant:

Celeste, this is such a treat to get to do this with you, because you specialize in having great conversations. So I feel lucky to be a beneficiary of that.

Celeste Headlee:

Well, hopefully this will be one of them. The book is called Rethink, and it’s a very well argued, I guess, manifesto on why we should think more than once. And I wonder, this quality of decisiveness, why do you want us to rethink that as a virtue?

Adam Grant:

Well, I think decisiveness is overrated, but I reserve the right to change my mind about that. Celeste, I think the big problem with decisiveness is, it really prevents people from learning. Because if you’re expected to act quickly, and always know what the right answer is, then when you uncover new information, it’s too late and you can’t reverse your decisions. You can’t look back and say, “Well you know what, maybe I should undo that.”

Adam Grant:

And I think what that means is, too many of us end up doing our rethinking in hindsight, as opposed to with foresight, right? I would much rather have people in the middle of a decision, say, “Let me take my time, to try to get all the knowledge that I need to figure this out, then to look back and say, I have so many regrets, and I wish I had reconsidered that choice.” And I think this is true in every domain of our life.

Adam Grant:

I can’t tell you how many former students fell victim to what psychologists call identity foreclosure, where they got attached to an image of who they wanted to be in their careers. And they got laser focused on being a lawyer or a doctor or a banker. And then 10 years into the career, they look back and say, “I really wish I had rethought that, but it seems like it’s too late.” And I was really grappling with a lot of indecision in college. And the way I dealt with that, was to try to be overly decisive, and that was a huge mistake.”

Adam Grant:

We see it when people over commit to romantic relationships, we see it even with people getting attached to the wrong place to live. And so, I’m not going to say that we should all be trapped in analysis paralysis, but I think a little bit of in decisiveness, is a path toward absorbing new information and maybe making better choices. What do you make of that?

Celeste Headlee:

Well, I totally agree with that, I think. This is obviously so crucial for leaders whose decisions can have an impact not only in the business, but on so many people’s lives. And yet, one of the things you talk about is the expertise trap, which could make it even more difficult for leaders to think again, that as they become more knowledgeable about their area and experts in their field, it makes it more difficult for them to come at things with this beginner’s mindset.

Adam Grant:

Well, let’s be clear, that’s more common among men than women in the data. But we do see across the board, that when people become really experienced in the field, they’re at risk for what psychologists would call cognitive entrenchment, which is where you’re so steeped in a particular set of assumptions, that it doesn’t even occur to you to question them. And the data on this are pretty fun. So, there’s research on expert bridge players, for example, where if you just change up the rules a little bit, they actually perform worse than novices.

Adam Grant:

Because they’re so used to their old strategies, it’s hard for them to rethink those. And if you take experienced accountants, and you introduce a new tax law, they’re slower to adapt to that, than people who are pretty inexperienced in accounting, again, because there’s less to unlearn there. And I think that it’s probably fair to say, the more expertise you gain, the more you should become aware of how little you know and the more excited you should be to learn new things.

Adam Grant:

Again, I think this is something where, when we look at confidence gaps, we see men on average, leaning a little bit more toward the arrogant side, and women leaning a little bit more toward the under confident side. But this can happen to anyone, as you accumulate experience and expertise.

Celeste Headlee:

It is often talked about, though, and this is especially true with women, this idea of the imposter syndrome. And I found it really interesting to find that you don’t see imposter syndrome necessarily as a bad thing.

Adam Grant:

Well, I’m still in the process of rethinking that. So I’m definitely going to be open on this one. But I have a pretty interesting surprising take on this, which comes from one of our former doctoral students, Basima Tewfik. She’s now an MIT professor. And Basima’s original insight was that, “When we talk about feeling like an imposter, we actually turn it into a bigger problem by calling it a syndrome.” Right?

Adam Grant:

Like it’s this chronic disease, where you’re wandering around constantly thinking that you’re not worthy of your success, and everyone’s going to find out that you’re a fraud. And if that’s what you’re feeling, that is going to be debilitating in a lot of ways, right? I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. What Basima observed though, is that’s a very tiny fraction of the population, and what most women and most people grapple with more often, is just having imposter thoughts.

Adam Grant:

Where in a given day, you wonder, “Well, am I good enough? Or have I lost a step?” And she wanted to know, when those thoughts crop up, what do they do to our performance? And she found that, there were not any costs of having those imposter thoughts more frequently. She studied investment professionals and medical professionals, and she found that they perform equally well regardless of whether they had regular imposter thoughts or rare imposter thoughts.

Adam Grant:

She even found that there were some upsides of it, that people who had imposter thoughts more often as investors were more likely to second guess their decisions, which meant that they made better judgments, and that medical professionals who had imposter thoughts more often were less likely to interrupt and steamroll their patients, and more likely to actually ask questions and listen, realizing I don’t know everything, and I should probably find out what the patient’s concerns are.

Adam Grant:

And that feels like something that could be useful, right? That when you start to wonder if you’re an imposter to say, “All right, this is going to take me off a pedestal, it’s going to remind me how much I have to learn, and I should keep going.”

Celeste Headlee:

And that allows us to embrace feedback in a way that maybe we haven’t before. If you embrace that sense of, I guess imposter, or, or maybe not knowing the answer to every question, it might also allow us to accept somebody else correcting us. You were a Junior Olympic diver, and you have talked a lot about how being in sports helped you learn to take feedback. How do we translate that knowledge that you gained into our workplaces, especially as leaders?

Adam Grant:

I think there are a few things we can do. The first one is, I remember a few years ago asking Sara Blakely, how in the world did you have the confidence to start Spanx? And she said, “Honestly I didn’t. I didn’t know anything about building or running a business. I knew nothing about fashion, about retail. And so I didn’t have any confidence in my current knowledge and skills. What I did have confidence, though, was around my ability to learn.”

Adam Grant:

She said, “Basically, I was confident in myself as a learner.” And I think obviously, a lot of us have thought a lot about growth mindset. I think it’s one thing to recognize that people can change. It’s another thing to reflect on your own experience, and ask yourself, “How much have I changed?” And I think anybody can just do this quick exercise. It’s something I’ve used in my own research. You just pause for a second, and think about something you were initially bad at, and ultimately became pretty good at.

Adam Grant:

So, let me ask you for an example of this, is there something you started out terrible at that you got either mastery over or pretty comfortable with?

Celeste Headlee:

I don’t know about mastery, but I used to be terrible at saying no, I had a terrible time. The guilt was too much for me, especially when the request was coming from somebody that I knew and liked. And I have gotten a lot better at doing that and more protective of my schedule.

Adam Grant:

Love it. How?

Celeste Headlee:

I had to. It’s sort of like exposure therapy. I think what I did actually was for a while, for a good three months, I turned everything down, literally turned everything down. And I just used exposure therapy to force myself to do it over and over, no matter how much I loved the person. And I got over. It’s one of those things where, when you force yourself to stop dreading the worst thing that can happen, and actually think what is the worst thing that could happen?

Celeste Headlee:

It turns out, it’s almost never being eaten by a Tyrannosaurus.

Adam Grant:

So true. And what I love about that example is, you can see then that you had a strategy for learning. And for you, it sounds like that was just immersing yourself, in this thing that you were afraid of until it became second nature.

Celeste Headlee:

Exactly.

Adam Grant:

And that’s exactly what Sara Blakely did, she said, “All right.” She literally went and read a book on how to write a patent for dummies, so that she could write her own patents. She drove around to Hosiery Mills, and just asked people, “Can you teach me how this works?” And there were people willing to teach her, and she was excited to learn, and obviously that worked out pretty well for her and for Spanx. I think that along the way, a lot of us get tough feedback.

Adam Grant:

And I think staying in that learning mindset can be really hard. My favorite thing I’ve learned comes from Sheila Heen and Doug Stone. And their basic advice was, “Whenever somebody gives you feedback, that is a first score.” Let’s say you feel like you’ve got a C minus, for the presentation you gave or for the report that you turned in, you cannot change that C minus, even though I will tell you Celeste my students have tried a lot of times, and sometimes their parents even try to.

Adam Grant:

But the grade has already been determined, right? The judgment that led to the feedback has already been made. And that’s your first score. All you can do is try to ace the second score, which is to say, “I want to get an A plus for how well I took the C minus.” And I have found this immensely useful in my own work as a teacher. For example, when I do my mid-course feedback forms, I ask the students to tell me all the ways the course can get better.

Adam Grant:

And some of the feedback is really tough, especially early in my career, my students wrote that I reminded them of a Muppet. And I was so nervous, I was causing them to physically shake in their seat, which was a little painful.

Adam Grant:

Only much later did I realize, “Oh, cool, I have telepathy, I can send my emotions across the room.” But that idea of the second score it was immensely useful, because I was able to say, “Look, I can’t change that feedback. All I want to do, is show them that I can take it.” And I think that reminder, what it does is, it gets me out of the mode of trying to prove myself, and into the mindset of trying to improve myself.

Celeste Headlee:

And obviously, it works. I think you’ve been the top-rated professor at Wharton for seven years running, I may have that wrong, but a long time. This strategy that you’re talking about in your book, though, about training yourself, disciplining yourself to think again, and again, this changes who you hire, right? If we’re not emphasizing as values decisiveness, but also, if we’re not emphasizing people who might agree with us and support us, we get a different team around us. What kind of a person then are we looking for?

Adam Grant:

I think one of the mistakes that we make in interviews a lot, Celeste, is we listen to people who think fast and shallow, as opposed to paying attention to people who think slow and deep. And I think we all know, slow thinkers who don’t immediately stumble on to the Eureka moment, but ultimately are processing much more thoroughly, and have more creative ideas for us to consider, challenge us to rethink some of our assumptions.

Adam Grant:

So one of the things I’ve started doing in job interviews based on this is, I’ve actually started giving people some of my questions in advance. And I don’t want to know how quick you are on your feet. I want to know how much thought you put into the question that I’ve asked you. In some cases, I might even ask you for work sample, which is something we study in my world of organizational psychology a lot, where the first time I ever did this, I was hiring salespeople, and I wanted to see if they could sell, instead of asking them, “Tell me how good you are at selling?”

Adam Grant:

I gave them a rotten apple and gave them some time to prepare and said, “Can you sell me this rotten apple?” Because if they could sell that, they could sell anything. And the best salesperson I ever hired was one who came in and said, “All right, this may look like a rotten apple. And I’m actually selling apple seeds, which you can plant in your backyard. And I’ll sell it to you cheaper than if you went to a store and bought a packet.

Adam Grant:

There’s also the saying that, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And I have these aged antique apples. And you only need to eat one of these a week to keep the doctor away.” And I had to do an ethics assessment before I said yes to the hire. But it’s amazing how much you can learn when you give people a chance to demonstrate their skills as opposed to just talk about them.

Celeste Headlee:

It is difficult though, especially when in the workplace, and people have their own identities wrapped up in who they are at work. And that can make it difficult, both as a leader when you have to give feedback to someone else, or as an employee when you have to either interact with one of your colleagues or with your leaders with this two way street of feedback. How do we make it easier, both for ourselves to give that feedback, but also make it easier for the other person to take it though?

Adam Grant:

Well, I think for me, the biggest way that I’ve overcome this barrier, and I felt it a lot because, Celeste as I’m a highly agreeable person. I like to please other people, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Adam Grant:

I guess I want to be liked. And so, a lot of my life I’ve shied away from giving constructive criticism. And I’ve realized that’s a selfish decision. Because I’m privileging my own discomfort, over what might benefit the other person. And when I framed it that way, it’s so much easier to do, to say you know what, “The people who have given me the most helpful guidance in my life, are the people who are not just my support network, the people who cheerlead for me and encouraged me, they’re my challenge network, my most thoughtful critics, who find the holes in my work, and try to help me get better.”

Adam Grant:

And I want to be that person. I want to provide a challenge network for the people whose success I believe in, and whose potential I want to support. And I think that’s been really helpful on the giving side. The other thing is a feedback giver that I’ve done is, I’ve learned to ask people if they want feedback, knowing that it’s pretty easy to ambush someone and make them feel blindsided if you just dump it on them. And so, I might come to you and say, “Hey Celeste, I was watching this incredible conversation that you did. And I noticed a couple things. And I wondered if you were interested in any of my input?”

Adam Grant:

Nobody ever says no to that. And once they have bought in, it feels much more like a conversation as opposed to an onslaught.

Celeste Headlee:

Yeah.

Adam Grant:

What about you? Let me ask you, when you give feedback, as somebody who has mastered the art of conversation, how do you get comfortable giving it?

Celeste Headlee:

I, like you, don’t give unsolicited advice, and I warn people If you’re asking for my feedback, I’m going to give you my honest feedback. So, is that what you want? But I’ll tell you what I don’t do. I do not do that compliment sandwich some people were trained to do, where you say something nice. I find that ridiculous and inauthentic and awful. So I merely just prioritize it, I say, “Well, let’s go from the things that are minor and super easy to fix. And the things that may be more foundational, and may take a little longer to address.”

Celeste Headlee:

And I also give them an out by saying, “Look, this is just my perspective, on one day, so if you want to flesh this, it won’t hurt my feelings in the least.”

Adam Grant:

That’s incredibly helpful. I think there’s so many times when people get feedback, they act as if it’s the objective truth, as opposed to just my point of view, which sometimes is data driven, but sometimes involves a lot of taste. And I think to your point, it’s helpful in a lot of situations to say, “Yeah, this is only my idiosyncratic reaction, you might want to gather feedback from a few other people and see if it’s consistent or not.” And I guess one of the things I’ve gotten really curious about you, you mentioned that the feedback sandwich, I strongly agree with you that it does not tastes as good as it looks.

Adam Grant:

And the research on this is fun, because the first risk that comes into play is, if you give people a compliment, and then a criticism, and then a compliment, people who are extremely emotionally reactive, and sometimes even call themselves neurotic, they don’t even hear the compliments on either end, because they’re so anxious about the criticism. And that’s all they can focus on. And then people who are more emotionally stable might miss the criticism because primacy and recency effects dominated memory. And so they remember what happened first and last, but not in the middle.

Adam Grant:

And then there’s also this weird experience of just waiting for the other shoe to drop when somebody opens with a compliment, “Well, are you just trying to butter me up?”

Adam Grant:

And so, one of the things I’ve been trying lately that I read some experiments on, is just opening by asking the person, just saying, “Look I make it a practice to try to always highlight strengths and areas for improvement. So, I’ll never come to you without both. You tell me which one do you want first?” And I want to be really clear – the things that I think are really effective, or where you’re excelling, are different from the areas where I think you might have some room for growth.

Celeste Headlee:

It’s interesting in your book, you’re trying to train people, or at least teach them how to train themselves to think again. One of the ways is through our interactions with others. And that’s what we’re talking about right now, like other people can correct you and say, “I don’t think that sounds very good.” I wonder how you tell the difference between disagreements that are possibly constructive? And disagreements that are just arguments, when maybe someone is simply being contrary?

Adam Grant:

Yeah. I think for me, it comes down to a probably three things. One is the source. Two is the motive. And three is the message. So the source, what I want to know there is, is this an incredible person? Not just in general, but on this issue. Right? So my mom spent 30 years as an English teacher, I will always take her feedback on the Oxford comma. That doesn’t mean that she’s always the best person to give me advice on how to give a TED talk, right? And so, I try to do a context-specific assessment of, is this person believable on this issue?

Adam Grant:

The second thing I want to pay attention to is the motive. Why are they telling me this? Is this somebody who’s insecure, or envious? And they’re trying to take me down in order to build themselves up a notch? Or is this somebody who’s genuinely challenging me to try to help me improve in some way? Are they pushing me because they care about me? And then the third is to go really just to the heart of the message and ask, “Okay, if I took this seriously, if I resisted the temptation that so many of us feel to say, well, you claim feedback as a gift, can you point me to the returns department?”

Adam Grant:

If I can resist that temptation? And if I took this feedback seriously, would it make me better? And if I can check those three boxes, then that is a real gift as opposed to an unwanted, please exchange this for me?

Celeste Headlee:

Okay, so what can I do? If I read your book I’m totally convinced. What’s the first thing I need to do to begin training myself in the habit of thinking twice?

Adam Grant:

Well, I think the first thing is to catch yourself in the mindsets that get in the way of thinking again. So my colleague, Philip E. Tetlock wrote a brilliant paper about this two decades ago. And what he observed was, we spend a lot of time thinking like prosecutors, preachers and politicians. And just to unpack these quickly, when you’re thinking like a preacher, you’re basically defending a sacred belief and trying to proselytize it to everyone else. When you’re thinking like a prosecutor, you’re trying to win an argument, and that means you have to prove the other person wrong.

Adam Grant:

And if you spend a lot of time preaching and prosecuting, you don’t do a lot of rethinking. Because if I’m right, and I know you’re wrong, then it’s you who needs to rethink, and I get to freeze my opinions. And then when you’re thinking like a politician, you look a little more flexible. Politicians are trying to campaign for other people’s approval. So, you might have an audience who you want to like you, and you do all this lobbying. And you might tell them what they want to hear. But you’re just changing what you say, not what you really think. And so, you’re going along with the tribe as opposed to pursuing the truth.

Adam Grant:

What I want people to do, is to recognize these characters. And this is just endlessly interesting to me as an organizational psychologist, because I’ve never worked as a preacher, a prosecutor or a politician. And yet I catch these occupations wilting into my mind every once in a while. And so, I would just say, recognize that, right? When you are so sure that you’re right, or somebody else is wrong, or when you’re flip flopping just to get somebody else’s buy in, you know that you’re not being honest with yourself or with them. And I see these characters in my head all the time now. So that would be the first step.

Celeste Headlee:

I’m sorry to interrupt you, but-

Adam Grant:

Yeah, please.

Celeste Headlee:

You want people to think like a scientist, as you were describing, thinking like a scientist, I said, well, that’s also what journalists do. You could also think like a journalist.

Adam Grant:

Tell me more about that.

Celeste Headlee:

Well, as a journalist, you literally have to train your mind in how to consider voices credibly. And to see people whose opinions are absolutely opposite from your own personal opinions as significant and that they have standing, which is not exactly the same as the scientific method. But it’s still a discipline that you have to go through, so that you don’t crowd out voices that you’re seeking other sources that you disagree with. It’s not a point of view that many people actually use these days.

Adam Grant:

I think that’s brilliant. Where were you a year ago, before I turned in this book? I will tell you Celeste, one of the things I’ve been rethinking is, this idea of, what is the best alternative? If you want to be open minded, what’s the most effective alternative to preaching, prosecuting and politicking and as you know in think again, I tried to highlight the benefits of thinking like a scientist, because, in part there’s this incredible study of Italian Entrepreneurs, where they go through- they’re all pre-revenue and they go through a three to four month crash course on how to start and run a business.

Adam Grant:

What they don’t know is that some of them have been randomly assigned to think like scientists. And they’re told Look, “Your strategy it’s just a theory. Why don’t you go into customer interviews, like a journalist, to your point, to develop some hypotheses about whether your strategy is going to work in this market or not. And then think about a minimum viable product or a service that you can test out as an experiment to figure out whether your hypotheses are right or wrong.?” And the effect is just staggering.

Adam Grant:

The control group averages less than $300 in revenue during the experiment, the group that’s just taught to think like a scientist averages over $12,000 in revenue. And the main reason is because they pivot more, they’re more than twice as likely to throw out a bad strategy and say, “You know what, I’m not going to let my idea become my identity. I tested the hypothesis, it didn’t work.” What I have found troubling about this, though, is that not everyone wants to think like a scientist, necessarily, right?

Adam Grant:

You picture someone wearing a lab coat or peering into a microscope. And I love the idea that you’ve just expanded that and said, “Well, what you’re really after is, you want to have the humility to know what you don’t know, and the curiosity to learn new things. And scientists do that, because they’re pursuing the truth, but so to journalists, and so I would say think like a scientist or like a journalist.

Celeste Headlee:

Right.

Adam Grant:

And that is a new thought for me, I am so grateful that you brought that up.

Celeste Headlee:

I’m so glad because journalists, also – one of the things you are trained in, is how to find the right source. Right? If you want to talk about constitutional law, and you don’t get, hopefully, a pundit who has an opinion on everything, you get a constitutional law professor, and you get the right source for the material. It’s interesting, though, because one of the things that you ask people to rethink, and it’s not just in this book, but for years now, you’ve been asking people to rethink defining a success in leadership as just a success, like the goal is to succeed.

Celeste Headlee:

Tell me about your thoughts on our definitions of success have evolved, and why we might want to rethink them?

Adam Grant:

Well, I think too many people define success in terms of wealth and status. And I’m not going to say that those aren’t important metrics to judge whether somebody has accomplished anything, right? I think that there’s nothing wrong with pursuing a sense of financial security, and also wanting to be respected and admired by other people. I think though, that if those are the only markers of success, then people end up too focused on an extrinsic rewards and too little on intrinsic motivation. And I think when most people talk about intrinsic motivation, they’re talking about passion and joy at work.

Adam Grant:

And I think we need to expand that, because I believe, Celeste, the most meaningful way to succeed, is to help other people succeed. I think if you’re somebody who succeeds in ways that make other people successful, if you elevate people as opposed to undermining them, then you don’t have to choose between generosity and achievement, you can actually help other people as part of your definition of what it might mean to be a servant leader. And I guess what that’s made me rethink, is the idea that we mark our progress as leaders in terms of the tangible results we create.

Adam Grant:

I think we should mark our progress also, in terms of the character that we develop. And I really wish that more leaders would ask themselves, “Okay, in the past year, did I become a more generous leader? Did I gain an integrity? Did I improve in my humility? Did I, you know, not in the sense of having a low opinion of myself, but in being grounded and seeing my own limitations, as well as my strengths?” And I think if we pursued growth in our character, not just in our career, we would probably live in a world where people can achieve the same success, but also do it with a little bit of virtue too. What do you think?

Celeste Headlee:

Yeah, that echoes some of the things that Stephen Covey used to say about the difference between the personality ethic and the character ethic, it would be great if we would loop around back to character. That would be awesome. We have just a couple minutes left before we go to audience questions, we’ll take a break, and then we’ll come back with some audience questions for you. But I really wanted to ask you because, I bet you and I end up reading a lot of the same study reports. And if you read a big bulk of the research out there right now, you could be very depressed about the human being’s ability to change their mind. Right?

Celeste Headlee:

There is a lot of evidence that we very much struggle to change our opinions on things. And I wonder how you keep your optimism about that particular area, about our ability to fight confirmation bias and expertise trap and all the other things that get us stuck.

Adam Grant:

I think I’m optimistic because, frankly because a lot of people are frustrated with how little rethinking they do. And they want to change that right? And in some ways, 2020 was the year of forced rethinking, where we didn’t opt into it, right? We didn’t want to rethink whether it was safe to eat in a restaurant, or hug our grandparents or grandkids, or how in the world we could work productively at home when we’re managing three kids in online school at the same time. But we had to rethink those questions.

Adam Grant:

I think a lot of people finally rethought their responsibilities for being anti racist, not just for not being racist. And my hope is that in 2021, we get to do more deliberate, more intentional rethinking, we do it proactively as opposed to being dragged into it. And I guess, Celeste, that brings me maybe to thinking through some practical steps, we can all take both to be more open minded ourselves, and to bring that out in others, where do you want to start?

Celeste Headlee:

Where do you want to start? I think probably with ourselves, right? Compassion for yourself has to come before compassion for others.

Adam Grant:

Let’s do it. So one of my favorite things that I learned, while writing Think Again, was from a super forecaster, who competes in tournaments to predict the future the lesson is really simple, which is when you start to form an opinion, make a list of the circumstances when you would change your mind. And what that does is that keeps you honest. It allows you to say, “Okay, instead of letting that idea become my identity or my ideology, I’m going to maintain some mental flexibility.” And if one of those boxes gets checked, that’s an excuse for me to reconsider. And I guess the other thing that that speaks to is something I’ve watched for years is, as we’ve talked about earlier, people getting stuck on a career path that they regret.

Adam Grant:

And then they say, but I already invested two years in this and my reaction is, I’d rather admit now that you wasted two years, than see you waste the next 20. And I don’t know that the pandemic is the best time to make a big new commitment but, it’s definitely a good time to run an experiment, and see what you learn. And so the experiment I would recommend is, I advise my students to do career checkups, even just twice a year where, just like you would go to a doctor or a dentist when nothing’s wrong, to just put a reminder in your calendar and ask yourself, “Is this job still measuring up to what I wanted when I took it?”

Adam Grant:

“Is this culture actually bringing out the best in me? Have I reached a learning plateau or a lifestyle plateau?” And I think it’s a good reminder to be open to rethinking, that doesn’t mean you have to change your mind. It just means that you want to be receptive to reconsidering some assumptions that may no longer hold in your life or your job.

Celeste Headlee:

I could keep asking you questions forever, but I can’t because we have audience questions to get to. We are going to take a short break here. So stick around, we’ll be back with some questions from the audience. These have all been submitted in advance, we’ll see in a few.

Celeste Headlee:

Well, welcome back. I’m Celeste Headlee, and we are here with Adam Grant. His new book is called Think Again. By the way, you’ll find it in the conference bookstore and there’s free shipping on that book. We have a bunch of audience questions that have been submitted in advance. So Adam, are you ready?

Adam Grant:

Oh, I’m ready. Bring it on.

Celeste Headlee:

Okay. Is there a leader either current or historical that you think, does or has done a really good job of rethinking their assumptions?

Adam Grant:

Let’s go with Jacinda Ardern and Abraham Lincoln.

Celeste Headlee:

Great. Okay, let’s hear about Jacinda.

Adam Grant:

Well, I think the thing I admire most about Jacinda was, she was willing to rethink what policies to implement, as soon as word of the pandemic came. A lot of leaders worldwide were very hesitant about lock downs and understandably so. You don’t want to interfere with anyone’s freedom. But I think she also recognized very quickly that the pandemic could become a threat not only to people’s freedom, but also to their lives. And I think her swift action, but also her willingness to reconsider, the way that she showed, what I would call a confident humility, to say, “I think because of all this uncertainty around the pandemic, there are a lot of things we don’t know about COVID, we need to act quickly.”

Adam Grant:

But then we’re going to learn new things, and we’re probably going to evolve our policies. And I can only wonder how many lives would have been saved around the world if more leaders had had that balance of confidence and humility.

Celeste Headlee:

And what things did Abraham Lincoln rethink?

Adam Grant:

Well, Lincoln is I think an incredibly fascinating case, because when he came into the White House, he was convinced that if he tried to abolish slavery, that it would end the union, that it would tear the country apart. And how lucky are we, that he was willing to rethink that? Now, let’s be clear Celeste, he didn’t change his values, right? His principles were consistent. He wanted freedom and opportunity for everyone, regardless of the color of your skin, but he was flexible on his beliefs about the best way to advance those values. And I think that’s something we can all probably take from Lincoln – is to say, let’s be consistent in our principles, but flexible in our policies and practices.

Celeste Headlee:

Okay, next question for you. Any advice for getting your boss to rethink their opinions? Asking for a friend.

Adam Grant:

Well friend, I think one of the most underutilized strategies for having upward influence is to ask advice. So I might go to your boss and say, “Hey I realized this decision has been made. I wanted to explore the possibility of rethinking it, and I wonder if you could give me some guidance about the best way to pursue that conversation because I know you’re great at getting change to happen around here. And I know a lot of people look up to you.” A few things tend to happen when you seek advice. The first one is flattery. We all admire the wisdom of people who come to us for advice.

Adam Grant:

Let’s face it, you have great taste, you’re here to come to me. And then the second thing that happens is perspective taking. In order to give advice, people have to walk in your shoes. And between the flattering and the perspective taking, people – even if they were your adversary going into the conversation, they’re more likely than to step up and become your advocate and say, “Well, I’d love to help support this, or at least, here are some recommendations, or here are some people to talk to you.” The caveat from the research on this is that advice seeking does not work if it’s not genuine.

Adam Grant:

So you can’t go to your boss and say, “Hey, can you give me some advice about how to get you to rethink this stupid decision you made?” What you have to do is you have to go in actually interested in learning from the person’s advice. And then it of course, comes across as authentic. But the other person is much more likely to engage in it in a way that ultimately is helpful to both of you.

Celeste Headlee:

I love that so much. And one of the great things about that advice that you’ve just given, is because of the research that we have on how it changes somebody’s mindset, when you remind them to think about their own values, right? That guidance you’ve just given is literally prompting someone to think about their better self, which is fantastic. Okay, next question. With COVID we’re having less interaction with people outside of our immediate communities. So how do we make sure our beliefs are factually based?

Adam Grant:

I think this is hard. I don’t have a silver bullet for this one. I think Celeste, your point about thinking like a journalist is, it just could not be more timely. There’s research showing, for example that if people just pause on social media, and before they share something or retweet something, just ask, “Is this true?” It makes them less likely to spread fake news. And that’s exactly I think, what you would do as a journalist. I think one of the things that I think we all have control over as individuals, is who we listen to, and who we follow and what we like. And one of the things I noticed while I was writing Think Again, is I was mostly following people whose conclusions I agreed with.

Adam Grant:

I realized then that I wasn’t getting enough information to challenge my thought process. So I went made a list of people who don’t always arrive at the same answers that I do, but I respect the intellectual integrity that they bring to their questions. And I said, I want to learn from people who really forced me to evolve my beliefs. That’s the point of learning, isn’t it? To evolve your beliefs not to affirm what you already think is true. And I think if more of us did that, we could probably get to a point where we’re all open to learning.

Celeste Headlee:

With so much misinformation out there today, how can you change someone’s mind when they’re armed with facts that don’t seem real?

Adam Grant:

Well…

Celeste Headlee:

Loving this one.

Adam Grant:

Yeah.

Celeste Headlee:

Right.

Adam Grant:

I think that the place I would start on that one, knowing that it’s an uphill battle, is to recognize that you can’t force someone to change their mind, the best thing you can do is help them find their own reasons to change their mind. So there’s a chapter on this in Think Again, it’s chapter seven, where I learned from a vaccine whisperer, it’s a pediatrician who specializes in the application of what’s called motivational interviewing, to open the minds of parents who may be believing in some vaccine myths or conspiracies. And the basic idea behind motivational interviewing is, you start with an attitude of humility and curiosity.

Adam Grant:

And you say, “Hey, so listen, I’m here to try to better understand your goals. And can you tell me a little bit about what you’re hoping to accomplish?” And then when you hear the goals, your job is not to try to change their goals, but to help them better advance those goals, right? So they might say, “Hey, I really want to keep my kids safe.” And then if I were a motivational interviewer, I would say, “You know what, so do I, of course, and I believe that it’s your responsibility to figure out how to do that. And I trust that you have your kid’s best interests at heart.”

Adam Grant:

And then what I would do is I would say, “Okay, so how are you balancing the risks of vaccinating against the risks of not vaccinating? And what are the circumstances under which you would be opposed to vaccinating versus you might be open to considering it?” And what I’m trying to help you do is recognize that there are nuances in your own thinking, when considering a change, most people are ambivalent, that’s what the data tend to show. And if you can hold up a mirror and help people see that they might have reasons for change, as well as reasons to stay consistent, then they might actually take ownership over their own reasons for change.

Adam Grant:

But I don’t think it works if you’re trying to manipulate them, right? You have to be actually there to guide them and try to understand their motivations.

Celeste Headlee:

Okay, we have a few minutes left here. What about challenging someone’s belief about race, gender or social justice issue, because conversations can get heated very quickly?

Adam Grant:

We’re full of easy questions today, aren’t we?

Celeste Headlee:

Don’t blame me.

Adam Grant:

The irony of asking a white man this question is not lost on me … at all. Let me try to tackle this from two perspectives. The first is, what actually opened my mind on some of these issues. And then the second is, where we’ve had some luck in our data. I’m not proud of this, but for the first couple years of my career, I did not talk about gender or race in the classroom. I felt like as a white man, it was not my place. And I’m really embarrassed to say that, it took me a long time to realize that sexism is not just a women’s issue, that racism is not just an issue for black people or anyone of color, that these are issues of human rights and dignity and opportunity, and that we all have a responsibility to speak about them.

Adam Grant:

I think one of the things that really opened my mind was, I read some research showing that when white men advocate for diversity, they don’t get punished for it, they actually sometimes get rewarded for it. What a good guy, he cares about people who don’t look like him. And sadly, the same data, this is David Heckman and Stephanie Johnson and their colleagues, the same data showed that when women and minorities advocated for diversity, they tended to face a penalty for it, as if they were being self serving or nepotistic to advance their own group. And when I learned that, I said, “You know what, not only is it my place, it’s actually easier for me than it is for a woman or a person of color to advocate for diversity and inclusion.”

Adam Grant:

And then I made another mistake that I’m not proud of, which is I took that evidence at face value. And I said, “Well, yeah, that’s the way the world is. So I need to speak out a lot, I need to advocate for change.” What I should have done was say, “It is unacceptable that the world works this way.” When you see a woman or a person of color, advocate for diversity, she is not trying to advantage her own group, she is putting her career and her livelihood on the line to advance justice. I think that desperately needs to change. What do you think of that?

Celeste Headlee:

I’m a black Jew, so you’re speaking my language here. It is absolutely the case. It’s interesting because, the book I just finished writing, is about how to talk about race, regardless of your color-

Adam Grant:

Wait, how did I not know this?

Celeste Headlee:

I don’t know.

Adam Grant:

Are you keeping secrets from me?

Celeste Headlee:

I guess I am. I guess the answer here is yeah, but I just turned it in eight days early. But one of the things I found interesting I spoke with a number of people and every single BIPOC person said, “Listen, this is white people’s work, this is their work to do. And, if you want to be educated on issues of race, you have to ask first.” And this harkens back to what you were talking about before, this idea of getting permission and making sure … getting consent in a way to say, “Hey, I don’t understand this particular issue, can you tell me about it?” And if they say, “No.” You have to be okay with it and walk away, without making it about your hurt feelings.

Celeste Headlee:

If anyone’s doing the homework and being thoughtful about it, it’s probably you Adam.

Adam Grant:

That remains to be seen. I will say just think thinking back to the question that prompted this discussion. How to have hard conversations with people about race. One of the things that I keep noticing is how often these conversations are framed in terms of equality, and how the the defensiveness often comes from people who aren’t interested in equality of outcome, they want equality of opportunity. And they kind of believe that the world is a meritocracy. And so why do we need to have this conversation? And the first thought I had on that is from some of the research on moral foundations, that maybe we would make more progress just not using the language of equality, and saying instead, we are trying to give everyone opportunity or everyone freedom.

Adam Grant:

Do you think that’s a viable reframing? And is there other rhetoric that you would recommend here?

Celeste Headlee:

I think absolutely. And the research now shows that instead of looking for equality, we need to be talking about equity. And I think that people can understand that if you have an entire workforce of people over six feet, that equality …

Adam Grant:

Is not going to work.

Celeste Headlee:

It’s not going to help. I think you’re absolutely on the right track. And obviously talking about any place is a meritocracy right now is problematic. But also, I think this is a good example for people of a healthy conversation about race, I think. I mean-

Adam Grant:

It’s been helpful for me, I appreciate that.

Celeste Headlee:

And for me, too, and sadly, we have to end here because we’re out of time. But I want to thank you so much for always your honesty and your candor and talking about all these issues.

Adam Grant:

Well as a as a feminist and an aspiring anti racist, it’s an honor to have the chance to speak with this incredible audience of women. And Celeste, also just such a treat to have a chance to learn from you. I will never forget when you introduced me to the idea of conversational narcissism. And it’s something I’ve been paranoid about ever since. I think it’s something that we probably need some of the men of the world to be more aware of.

Celeste Headlee:

Well, I’m here to help. But it’s always a pleasure to talk to you and I really enjoyed the book. Thank you to all the audience members who sent in their questions in advance. Be sure to pick up Adam Grant’s new book, it’s called think again and it’s in the conference bookstore with free shipping. Take care, everybody.

 

View Transcript

Celeste Headlee:

Hello there. I’m Celeste Headlee, and it is such a pleasure to be here speaking with Adam Grant. Hi, Adam. Thanks for joining us.

Adam Grant:

Celeste, this is such a treat to get to do this with you, because you specialize in having great conversations. So I feel lucky to be a beneficiary of that.

Celeste Headlee:

Well, hopefully this will be one of them. The book is called Rethink, and it’s a very well argued, I guess, manifesto on why we should think more than once. And I wonder, this quality of decisiveness, why do you want us to rethink that as a virtue?

Adam Grant:

Well, I think decisiveness is overrated, but I reserve the right to change my mind about that. Celeste, I think the big problem with decisiveness is, it really prevents people from learning. Because if you’re expected to act quickly, and always know what the right answer is, then when you uncover new information, it’s too late and you can’t reverse your decisions. You can’t look back and say, “Well you know what, maybe I should undo that.”

Adam Grant:

And I think what that means is, too many of us end up doing our rethinking in hindsight, as opposed to with foresight, right? I would much rather have people in the middle of a decision, say, “Let me take my time, to try to get all the knowledge that I need to figure this out, then to look back and say, I have so many regrets, and I wish I had reconsidered that choice.” And I think this is true in every domain of our life.

Adam Grant:

I can’t tell you how many former students fell victim to what psychologists call identity foreclosure, where they got attached to an image of who they wanted to be in their careers. And they got laser focused on being a lawyer or a doctor or a banker. And then 10 years into the career, they look back and say, “I really wish I had rethought that, but it seems like it’s too late.” And I was really grappling with a lot of indecision in college. And the way I dealt with that, was to try to be overly decisive, and that was a huge mistake.”

Adam Grant:

We see it when people over commit to romantic relationships, we see it even with people getting attached to the wrong place to live. And so, I’m not going to say that we should all be trapped in analysis paralysis, but I think a little bit of in decisiveness, is a path toward absorbing new information and maybe making better choices. What do you make of that?

Celeste Headlee:

Well, I totally agree with that, I think. This is obviously so crucial for leaders whose decisions can have an impact not only in the business, but on so many people’s lives. And yet, one of the things you talk about is the expertise trap, which could make it even more difficult for leaders to think again, that as they become more knowledgeable about their area and experts in their field, it makes it more difficult for them to come at things with this beginner’s mindset.

Adam Grant:

Well, let’s be clear, that’s more common among men than women in the data. But we do see across the board, that when people become really experienced in the field, they’re at risk for what psychologists would call cognitive entrenchment, which is where you’re so steeped in a particular set of assumptions, that it doesn’t even occur to you to question them. And the data on this are pretty fun. So, there’s research on expert bridge players, for example, where if you just change up the rules a little bit, they actually perform worse than novices.

Adam Grant:

Because they’re so used to their old strategies, it’s hard for them to rethink those. And if you take experienced accountants, and you introduce a new tax law, they’re slower to adapt to that, than people who are pretty inexperienced in accounting, again, because there’s less to unlearn there. And I think that it’s probably fair to say, the more expertise you gain, the more you should become aware of how little you know and the more excited you should be to learn new things.

Adam Grant:

Again, I think this is something where, when we look at confidence gaps, we see men on average, leaning a little bit more toward the arrogant side, and women leaning a little bit more toward the under confident side. But this can happen to anyone, as you accumulate experience and expertise.

Celeste Headlee:

It is often talked about, though, and this is especially true with women, this idea of the imposter syndrome. And I found it really interesting to find that you don’t see imposter syndrome necessarily as a bad thing.

Adam Grant:

Well, I’m still in the process of rethinking that. So I’m definitely going to be open on this one. But I have a pretty interesting surprising take on this, which comes from one of our former doctoral students, Basima Tewfik. She’s now an MIT professor. And Basima’s original insight was that, “When we talk about feeling like an imposter, we actually turn it into a bigger problem by calling it a syndrome.” Right?

Adam Grant:

Like it’s this chronic disease, where you’re wandering around constantly thinking that you’re not worthy of your success, and everyone’s going to find out that you’re a fraud. And if that’s what you’re feeling, that is going to be debilitating in a lot of ways, right? I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. What Basima observed though, is that’s a very tiny fraction of the population, and what most women and most people grapple with more often, is just having imposter thoughts.

Adam Grant:

Where in a given day, you wonder, “Well, am I good enough? Or have I lost a step?” And she wanted to know, when those thoughts crop up, what do they do to our performance? And she found that, there were not any costs of having those imposter thoughts more frequently. She studied investment professionals and medical professionals, and she found that they perform equally well regardless of whether they had regular imposter thoughts or rare imposter thoughts.

Adam Grant:

She even found that there were some upsides of it, that people who had imposter thoughts more often as investors were more likely to second guess their decisions, which meant that they made better judgments, and that medical professionals who had imposter thoughts more often were less likely to interrupt and steamroll their patients, and more likely to actually ask questions and listen, realizing I don’t know everything, and I should probably find out what the patient’s concerns are.

Adam Grant:

And that feels like something that could be useful, right? That when you start to wonder if you’re an imposter to say, “All right, this is going to take me off a pedestal, it’s going to remind me how much I have to learn, and I should keep going.”

Celeste Headlee:

And that allows us to embrace feedback in a way that maybe we haven’t before. If you embrace that sense of, I guess imposter, or, or maybe not knowing the answer to every question, it might also allow us to accept somebody else correcting us. You were a Junior Olympic diver, and you have talked a lot about how being in sports helped you learn to take feedback. How do we translate that knowledge that you gained into our workplaces, especially as leaders?

Adam Grant:

I think there are a few things we can do. The first one is, I remember a few years ago asking Sara Blakely, how in the world did you have the confidence to start Spanx? And she said, “Honestly I didn’t. I didn’t know anything about building or running a business. I knew nothing about fashion, about retail. And so I didn’t have any confidence in my current knowledge and skills. What I did have confidence, though, was around my ability to learn.”

Adam Grant:

She said, “Basically, I was confident in myself as a learner.” And I think obviously, a lot of us have thought a lot about growth mindset. I think it’s one thing to recognize that people can change. It’s another thing to reflect on your own experience, and ask yourself, “How much have I changed?” And I think anybody can just do this quick exercise. It’s something I’ve used in my own research. You just pause for a second, and think about something you were initially bad at, and ultimately became pretty good at.

Adam Grant:

So, let me ask you for an example of this, is there something you started out terrible at that you got either mastery over or pretty comfortable with?

Celeste Headlee:

I don’t know about mastery, but I used to be terrible at saying no, I had a terrible time. The guilt was too much for me, especially when the request was coming from somebody that I knew and liked. And I have gotten a lot better at doing that and more protective of my schedule.

Adam Grant:

Love it. How?

Celeste Headlee:

I had to. It’s sort of like exposure therapy. I think what I did actually was for a while, for a good three months, I turned everything down, literally turned everything down. And I just used exposure therapy to force myself to do it over and over, no matter how much I loved the person. And I got over. It’s one of those things where, when you force yourself to stop dreading the worst thing that can happen, and actually think what is the worst thing that could happen?

Celeste Headlee:

It turns out, it’s almost never being eaten by a Tyrannosaurus.

Adam Grant:

So true. And what I love about that example is, you can see then that you had a strategy for learning. And for you, it sounds like that was just immersing yourself, in this thing that you were afraid of until it became second nature.

Celeste Headlee:

Exactly.

Adam Grant:

And that’s exactly what Sara Blakely did, she said, “All right.” She literally went and read a book on how to write a patent for dummies, so that she could write her own patents. She drove around to Hosiery Mills, and just asked people, “Can you teach me how this works?” And there were people willing to teach her, and she was excited to learn, and obviously that worked out pretty well for her and for Spanx. I think that along the way, a lot of us get tough feedback.

Adam Grant:

And I think staying in that learning mindset can be really hard. My favorite thing I’ve learned comes from Sheila Heen and Doug Stone. And their basic advice was, “Whenever somebody gives you feedback, that is a first score.” Let’s say you feel like you’ve got a C minus, for the presentation you gave or for the report that you turned in, you cannot change that C minus, even though I will tell you Celeste my students have tried a lot of times, and sometimes their parents even try to.

Adam Grant:

But the grade has already been determined, right? The judgment that led to the feedback has already been made. And that’s your first score. All you can do is try to ace the second score, which is to say, “I want to get an A plus for how well I took the C minus.” And I have found this immensely useful in my own work as a teacher. For example, when I do my mid-course feedback forms, I ask the students to tell me all the ways the course can get better.

Adam Grant:

And some of the feedback is really tough, especially early in my career, my students wrote that I reminded them of a Muppet. And I was so nervous, I was causing them to physically shake in their seat, which was a little painful.

Adam Grant:

Only much later did I realize, “Oh, cool, I have telepathy, I can send my emotions across the room.” But that idea of the second score it was immensely useful, because I was able to say, “Look, I can’t change that feedback. All I want to do, is show them that I can take it.” And I think that reminder, what it does is, it gets me out of the mode of trying to prove myself, and into the mindset of trying to improve myself.

Celeste Headlee:

And obviously, it works. I think you’ve been the top-rated professor at Wharton for seven years running, I may have that wrong, but a long time. This strategy that you’re talking about in your book, though, about training yourself, disciplining yourself to think again, and again, this changes who you hire, right? If we’re not emphasizing as values decisiveness, but also, if we’re not emphasizing people who might agree with us and support us, we get a different team around us. What kind of a person then are we looking for?

Adam Grant:

I think one of the mistakes that we make in interviews a lot, Celeste, is we listen to people who think fast and shallow, as opposed to paying attention to people who think slow and deep. And I think we all know, slow thinkers who don’t immediately stumble on to the Eureka moment, but ultimately are processing much more thoroughly, and have more creative ideas for us to consider, challenge us to rethink some of our assumptions.

Adam Grant:

So one of the things I’ve started doing in job interviews based on this is, I’ve actually started giving people some of my questions in advance. And I don’t want to know how quick you are on your feet. I want to know how much thought you put into the question that I’ve asked you. In some cases, I might even ask you for work sample, which is something we study in my world of organizational psychology a lot, where the first time I ever did this, I was hiring salespeople, and I wanted to see if they could sell, instead of asking them, “Tell me how good you are at selling?”

Adam Grant:

I gave them a rotten apple and gave them some time to prepare and said, “Can you sell me this rotten apple?” Because if they could sell that, they could sell anything. And the best salesperson I ever hired was one who came in and said, “All right, this may look like a rotten apple. And I’m actually selling apple seeds, which you can plant in your backyard. And I’ll sell it to you cheaper than if you went to a store and bought a packet.

Adam Grant:

There’s also the saying that, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And I have these aged antique apples. And you only need to eat one of these a week to keep the doctor away.” And I had to do an ethics assessment before I said yes to the hire. But it’s amazing how much you can learn when you give people a chance to demonstrate their skills as opposed to just talk about them.

Celeste Headlee:

It is difficult though, especially when in the workplace, and people have their own identities wrapped up in who they are at work. And that can make it difficult, both as a leader when you have to give feedback to someone else, or as an employee when you have to either interact with one of your colleagues or with your leaders with this two way street of feedback. How do we make it easier, both for ourselves to give that feedback, but also make it easier for the other person to take it though?

Adam Grant:

Well, I think for me, the biggest way that I’ve overcome this barrier, and I felt it a lot because, Celeste as I’m a highly agreeable person. I like to please other people, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Adam Grant:

I guess I want to be liked. And so, a lot of my life I’ve shied away from giving constructive criticism. And I’ve realized that’s a selfish decision. Because I’m privileging my own discomfort, over what might benefit the other person. And when I framed it that way, it’s so much easier to do, to say you know what, “The people who have given me the most helpful guidance in my life, are the people who are not just my support network, the people who cheerlead for me and encouraged me, they’re my challenge network, my most thoughtful critics, who find the holes in my work, and try to help me get better.”

Adam Grant:

And I want to be that person. I want to provide a challenge network for the people whose success I believe in, and whose potential I want to support. And I think that’s been really helpful on the giving side. The other thing is a feedback giver that I’ve done is, I’ve learned to ask people if they want feedback, knowing that it’s pretty easy to ambush someone and make them feel blindsided if you just dump it on them. And so, I might come to you and say, “Hey Celeste, I was watching this incredible conversation that you did. And I noticed a couple things. And I wondered if you were interested in any of my input?”

Adam Grant:

Nobody ever says no to that. And once they have bought in, it feels much more like a conversation as opposed to an onslaught.

Celeste Headlee:

Yeah.

Adam Grant:

What about you? Let me ask you, when you give feedback, as somebody who has mastered the art of conversation, how do you get comfortable giving it?

Celeste Headlee:

I, like you, don’t give unsolicited advice, and I warn people If you’re asking for my feedback, I’m going to give you my honest feedback. So, is that what you want? But I’ll tell you what I don’t do. I do not do that compliment sandwich some people were trained to do, where you say something nice. I find that ridiculous and inauthentic and awful. So I merely just prioritize it, I say, “Well, let’s go from the things that are minor and super easy to fix. And the things that may be more foundational, and may take a little longer to address.”

Celeste Headlee:

And I also give them an out by saying, “Look, this is just my perspective, on one day, so if you want to flesh this, it won’t hurt my feelings in the least.”

Adam Grant:

That’s incredibly helpful. I think there’s so many times when people get feedback, they act as if it’s the objective truth, as opposed to just my point of view, which sometimes is data driven, but sometimes involves a lot of taste. And I think to your point, it’s helpful in a lot of situations to say, “Yeah, this is only my idiosyncratic reaction, you might want to gather feedback from a few other people and see if it’s consistent or not.” And I guess one of the things I’ve gotten really curious about you, you mentioned that the feedback sandwich, I strongly agree with you that it does not tastes as good as it looks.

Adam Grant:

And the research on this is fun, because the first risk that comes into play is, if you give people a compliment, and then a criticism, and then a compliment, people who are extremely emotionally reactive, and sometimes even call themselves neurotic, they don’t even hear the compliments on either end, because they’re so anxious about the criticism. And that’s all they can focus on. And then people who are more emotionally stable might miss the criticism because primacy and recency effects dominated memory. And so they remember what happened first and last, but not in the middle.

Adam Grant:

And then there’s also this weird experience of just waiting for the other shoe to drop when somebody opens with a compliment, “Well, are you just trying to butter me up?”

Adam Grant:

And so, one of the things I’ve been trying lately that I read some experiments on, is just opening by asking the person, just saying, “Look I make it a practice to try to always highlight strengths and areas for improvement. So, I’ll never come to you without both. You tell me which one do you want first?” And I want to be really clear – the things that I think are really effective, or where you’re excelling, are different from the areas where I think you might have some room for growth.

Celeste Headlee:

It’s interesting in your book, you’re trying to train people, or at least teach them how to train themselves to think again. One of the ways is through our interactions with others. And that’s what we’re talking about right now, like other people can correct you and say, “I don’t think that sounds very good.” I wonder how you tell the difference between disagreements that are possibly constructive? And disagreements that are just arguments, when maybe someone is simply being contrary?

Adam Grant:

Yeah. I think for me, it comes down to a probably three things. One is the source. Two is the motive. And three is the message. So the source, what I want to know there is, is this an incredible person? Not just in general, but on this issue. Right? So my mom spent 30 years as an English teacher, I will always take her feedback on the Oxford comma. That doesn’t mean that she’s always the best person to give me advice on how to give a TED talk, right? And so, I try to do a context-specific assessment of, is this person believable on this issue?

Adam Grant:

The second thing I want to pay attention to is the motive. Why are they telling me this? Is this somebody who’s insecure, or envious? And they’re trying to take me down in order to build themselves up a notch? Or is this somebody who’s genuinely challenging me to try to help me improve in some way? Are they pushing me because they care about me? And then the third is to go really just to the heart of the message and ask, “Okay, if I took this seriously, if I resisted the temptation that so many of us feel to say, well, you claim feedback as a gift, can you point me to the returns department?”

Adam Grant:

If I can resist that temptation? And if I took this feedback seriously, would it make me better? And if I can check those three boxes, then that is a real gift as opposed to an unwanted, please exchange this for me?

Celeste Headlee:

Okay, so what can I do? If I read your book I’m totally convinced. What’s the first thing I need to do to begin training myself in the habit of thinking twice?

Adam Grant:

Well, I think the first thing is to catch yourself in the mindsets that get in the way of thinking again. So my colleague, Philip E. Tetlock wrote a brilliant paper about this two decades ago. And what he observed was, we spend a lot of time thinking like prosecutors, preachers and politicians. And just to unpack these quickly, when you’re thinking like a preacher, you’re basically defending a sacred belief and trying to proselytize it to everyone else. When you’re thinking like a prosecutor, you’re trying to win an argument, and that means you have to prove the other person wrong.

Adam Grant:

And if you spend a lot of time preaching and prosecuting, you don’t do a lot of rethinking. Because if I’m right, and I know you’re wrong, then it’s you who needs to rethink, and I get to freeze my opinions. And then when you’re thinking like a politician, you look a little more flexible. Politicians are trying to campaign for other people’s approval. So, you might have an audience who you want to like you, and you do all this lobbying. And you might tell them what they want to hear. But you’re just changing what you say, not what you really think. And so, you’re going along with the tribe as opposed to pursuing the truth.

Adam Grant:

What I want people to do, is to recognize these characters. And this is just endlessly interesting to me as an organizational psychologist, because I’ve never worked as a preacher, a prosecutor or a politician. And yet I catch these occupations wilting into my mind every once in a while. And so, I would just say, recognize that, right? When you are so sure that you’re right, or somebody else is wrong, or when you’re flip flopping just to get somebody else’s buy in, you know that you’re not being honest with yourself or with them. And I see these characters in my head all the time now. So that would be the first step.

Celeste Headlee:

I’m sorry to interrupt you, but-

Adam Grant:

Yeah, please.

Celeste Headlee:

You want people to think like a scientist, as you were describing, thinking like a scientist, I said, well, that’s also what journalists do. You could also think like a journalist.

Adam Grant:

Tell me more about that.

Celeste Headlee:

Well, as a journalist, you literally have to train your mind in how to consider voices credibly. And to see people whose opinions are absolutely opposite from your own personal opinions as significant and that they have standing, which is not exactly the same as the scientific method. But it’s still a discipline that you have to go through, so that you don’t crowd out voices that you’re seeking other sources that you disagree with. It’s not a point of view that many people actually use these days.

Adam Grant:

I think that’s brilliant. Where were you a year ago, before I turned in this book? I will tell you Celeste, one of the things I’ve been rethinking is, this idea of, what is the best alternative? If you want to be open minded, what’s the most effective alternative to preaching, prosecuting and politicking and as you know in think again, I tried to highlight the benefits of thinking like a scientist, because, in part there’s this incredible study of Italian Entrepreneurs, where they go through- they’re all pre-revenue and they go through a three to four month crash course on how to start and run a business.

Adam Grant:

What they don’t know is that some of them have been randomly assigned to think like scientists. And they’re told Look, “Your strategy it’s just a theory. Why don’t you go into customer interviews, like a journalist, to your point, to develop some hypotheses about whether your strategy is going to work in this market or not. And then think about a minimum viable product or a service that you can test out as an experiment to figure out whether your hypotheses are right or wrong.?” And the effect is just staggering.

Adam Grant:

The control group averages less than $300 in revenue during the experiment, the group that’s just taught to think like a scientist averages over $12,000 in revenue. And the main reason is because they pivot more, they’re more than twice as likely to throw out a bad strategy and say, “You know what, I’m not going to let my idea become my identity. I tested the hypothesis, it didn’t work.” What I have found troubling about this, though, is that not everyone wants to think like a scientist, necessarily, right?

Adam Grant:

You picture someone wearing a lab coat or peering into a microscope. And I love the idea that you’ve just expanded that and said, “Well, what you’re really after is, you want to have the humility to know what you don’t know, and the curiosity to learn new things. And scientists do that, because they’re pursuing the truth, but so to journalists, and so I would say think like a scientist or like a journalist.

Celeste Headlee:

Right.

Adam Grant:

And that is a new thought for me, I am so grateful that you brought that up.

Celeste Headlee:

I’m so glad because journalists, also – one of the things you are trained in, is how to find the right source. Right? If you want to talk about constitutional law, and you don’t get, hopefully, a pundit who has an opinion on everything, you get a constitutional law professor, and you get the right source for the material. It’s interesting, though, because one of the things that you ask people to rethink, and it’s not just in this book, but for years now, you’ve been asking people to rethink defining a success in leadership as just a success, like the goal is to succeed.

Celeste Headlee:

Tell me about your thoughts on our definitions of success have evolved, and why we might want to rethink them?

Adam Grant:

Well, I think too many people define success in terms of wealth and status. And I’m not going to say that those aren’t important metrics to judge whether somebody has accomplished anything, right? I think that there’s nothing wrong with pursuing a sense of financial security, and also wanting to be respected and admired by other people. I think though, that if those are the only markers of success, then people end up too focused on an extrinsic rewards and too little on intrinsic motivation. And I think when most people talk about intrinsic motivation, they’re talking about passion and joy at work.

Adam Grant:

And I think we need to expand that, because I believe, Celeste, the most meaningful way to succeed, is to help other people succeed. I think if you’re somebody who succeeds in ways that make other people successful, if you elevate people as opposed to undermining them, then you don’t have to choose between generosity and achievement, you can actually help other people as part of your definition of what it might mean to be a servant leader. And I guess what that’s made me rethink, is the idea that we mark our progress as leaders in terms of the tangible results we create.

Adam Grant:

I think we should mark our progress also, in terms of the character that we develop. And I really wish that more leaders would ask themselves, “Okay, in the past year, did I become a more generous leader? Did I gain an integrity? Did I improve in my humility? Did I, you know, not in the sense of having a low opinion of myself, but in being grounded and seeing my own limitations, as well as my strengths?” And I think if we pursued growth in our character, not just in our career, we would probably live in a world where people can achieve the same success, but also do it with a little bit of virtue too. What do you think?

Celeste Headlee:

Yeah, that echoes some of the things that Stephen Covey used to say about the difference between the personality ethic and the character ethic, it would be great if we would loop around back to character. That would be awesome. We have just a couple minutes left before we go to audience questions, we’ll take a break, and then we’ll come back with some audience questions for you. But I really wanted to ask you because, I bet you and I end up reading a lot of the same study reports. And if you read a big bulk of the research out there right now, you could be very depressed about the human being’s ability to change their mind. Right?

Celeste Headlee:

There is a lot of evidence that we very much struggle to change our opinions on things. And I wonder how you keep your optimism about that particular area, about our ability to fight confirmation bias and expertise trap and all the other things that get us stuck.

Adam Grant:

I think I’m optimistic because, frankly because a lot of people are frustrated with how little rethinking they do. And they want to change that right? And in some ways, 2020 was the year of forced rethinking, where we didn’t opt into it, right? We didn’t want to rethink whether it was safe to eat in a restaurant, or hug our grandparents or grandkids, or how in the world we could work productively at home when we’re managing three kids in online school at the same time. But we had to rethink those questions.

Adam Grant:

I think a lot of people finally rethought their responsibilities for being anti racist, not just for not being racist. And my hope is that in 2021, we get to do more deliberate, more intentional rethinking, we do it proactively as opposed to being dragged into it. And I guess, Celeste, that brings me maybe to thinking through some practical steps, we can all take both to be more open minded ourselves, and to bring that out in others, where do you want to start?

Celeste Headlee:

Where do you want to start? I think probably with ourselves, right? Compassion for yourself has to come before compassion for others.

Adam Grant:

Let’s do it. So one of my favorite things that I learned, while writing Think Again, was from a super forecaster, who competes in tournaments to predict the future the lesson is really simple, which is when you start to form an opinion, make a list of the circumstances when you would change your mind. And what that does is that keeps you honest. It allows you to say, “Okay, instead of letting that idea become my identity or my ideology, I’m going to maintain some mental flexibility.” And if one of those boxes gets checked, that’s an excuse for me to reconsider. And I guess the other thing that that speaks to is something I’ve watched for years is, as we’ve talked about earlier, people getting stuck on a career path that they regret.

Adam Grant:

And then they say, but I already invested two years in this and my reaction is, I’d rather admit now that you wasted two years, than see you waste the next 20. And I don’t know that the pandemic is the best time to make a big new commitment but, it’s definitely a good time to run an experiment, and see what you learn. And so the experiment I would recommend is, I advise my students to do career checkups, even just twice a year where, just like you would go to a doctor or a dentist when nothing’s wrong, to just put a reminder in your calendar and ask yourself, “Is this job still measuring up to what I wanted when I took it?”

Adam Grant:

“Is this culture actually bringing out the best in me? Have I reached a learning plateau or a lifestyle plateau?” And I think it’s a good reminder to be open to rethinking, that doesn’t mean you have to change your mind. It just means that you want to be receptive to reconsidering some assumptions that may no longer hold in your life or your job.

Celeste Headlee:

I could keep asking you questions forever, but I can’t because we have audience questions to get to. We are going to take a short break here. So stick around, we’ll be back with some questions from the audience. These have all been submitted in advance, we’ll see in a few.

Celeste Headlee:

Well, welcome back. I’m Celeste Headlee, and we are here with Adam Grant. His new book is called Think Again. By the way, you’ll find it in the conference bookstore and there’s free shipping on that book. We have a bunch of audience questions that have been submitted in advance. So Adam, are you ready?

Adam Grant:

Oh, I’m ready. Bring it on.

Celeste Headlee:

Okay. Is there a leader either current or historical that you think, does or has done a really good job of rethinking their assumptions?

Adam Grant:

Let’s go with Jacinda Ardern and Abraham Lincoln.

Celeste Headlee:

Great. Okay, let’s hear about Jacinda.

Adam Grant:

Well, I think the thing I admire most about Jacinda was, she was willing to rethink what policies to implement, as soon as word of the pandemic came. A lot of leaders worldwide were very hesitant about lock downs and understandably so. You don’t want to interfere with anyone’s freedom. But I think she also recognized very quickly that the pandemic could become a threat not only to people’s freedom, but also to their lives. And I think her swift action, but also her willingness to reconsider, the way that she showed, what I would call a confident humility, to say, “I think because of all this uncertainty around the pandemic, there are a lot of things we don’t know about COVID, we need to act quickly.”

Adam Grant:

But then we’re going to learn new things, and we’re probably going to evolve our policies. And I can only wonder how many lives would have been saved around the world if more leaders had had that balance of confidence and humility.

Celeste Headlee:

And what things did Abraham Lincoln rethink?

Adam Grant:

Well, Lincoln is I think an incredibly fascinating case, because when he came into the White House, he was convinced that if he tried to abolish slavery, that it would end the union, that it would tear the country apart. And how lucky are we, that he was willing to rethink that? Now, let’s be clear Celeste, he didn’t change his values, right? His principles were consistent. He wanted freedom and opportunity for everyone, regardless of the color of your skin, but he was flexible on his beliefs about the best way to advance those values. And I think that’s something we can all probably take from Lincoln – is to say, let’s be consistent in our principles, but flexible in our policies and practices.

Celeste Headlee:

Okay, next question for you. Any advice for getting your boss to rethink their opinions? Asking for a friend.

Adam Grant:

Well friend, I think one of the most underutilized strategies for having upward influence is to ask advice. So I might go to your boss and say, “Hey I realized this decision has been made. I wanted to explore the possibility of rethinking it, and I wonder if you could give me some guidance about the best way to pursue that conversation because I know you’re great at getting change to happen around here. And I know a lot of people look up to you.” A few things tend to happen when you seek advice. The first one is flattery. We all admire the wisdom of people who come to us for advice.

Adam Grant:

Let’s face it, you have great taste, you’re here to come to me. And then the second thing that happens is perspective taking. In order to give advice, people have to walk in your shoes. And between the flattering and the perspective taking, people – even if they were your adversary going into the conversation, they’re more likely than to step up and become your advocate and say, “Well, I’d love to help support this, or at least, here are some recommendations, or here are some people to talk to you.” The caveat from the research on this is that advice seeking does not work if it’s not genuine.

Adam Grant:

So you can’t go to your boss and say, “Hey, can you give me some advice about how to get you to rethink this stupid decision you made?” What you have to do is you have to go in actually interested in learning from the person’s advice. And then it of course, comes across as authentic. But the other person is much more likely to engage in it in a way that ultimately is helpful to both of you.

Celeste Headlee:

I love that so much. And one of the great things about that advice that you’ve just given, is because of the research that we have on how it changes somebody’s mindset, when you remind them to think about their own values, right? That guidance you’ve just given is literally prompting someone to think about their better self, which is fantastic. Okay, next question. With COVID we’re having less interaction with people outside of our immediate communities. So how do we make sure our beliefs are factually based?

Adam Grant:

I think this is hard. I don’t have a silver bullet for this one. I think Celeste, your point about thinking like a journalist is, it just could not be more timely. There’s research showing, for example that if people just pause on social media, and before they share something or retweet something, just ask, “Is this true?” It makes them less likely to spread fake news. And that’s exactly I think, what you would do as a journalist. I think one of the things that I think we all have control over as individuals, is who we listen to, and who we follow and what we like. And one of the things I noticed while I was writing Think Again, is I was mostly following people whose conclusions I agreed with.

Adam Grant:

I realized then that I wasn’t getting enough information to challenge my thought process. So I went made a list of people who don’t always arrive at the same answers that I do, but I respect the intellectual integrity that they bring to their questions. And I said, I want to learn from people who really forced me to evolve my beliefs. That’s the point of learning, isn’t it? To evolve your beliefs not to affirm what you already think is true. And I think if more of us did that, we could probably get to a point where we’re all open to learning.

Celeste Headlee:

With so much misinformation out there today, how can you change someone’s mind when they’re armed with facts that don’t seem real?

Adam Grant:

Well…

Celeste Headlee:

Loving this one.

Adam Grant:

Yeah.

Celeste Headlee:

Right.

Adam Grant:

I think that the place I would start on that one, knowing that it’s an uphill battle, is to recognize that you can’t force someone to change their mind, the best thing you can do is help them find their own reasons to change their mind. So there’s a chapter on this in Think Again, it’s chapter seven, where I learned from a vaccine whisperer, it’s a pediatrician who specializes in the application of what’s called motivational interviewing, to open the minds of parents who may be believing in some vaccine myths or conspiracies. And the basic idea behind motivational interviewing is, you start with an attitude of humility and curiosity.

Adam Grant:

And you say, “Hey, so listen, I’m here to try to better understand your goals. And can you tell me a little bit about what you’re hoping to accomplish?” And then when you hear the goals, your job is not to try to change their goals, but to help them better advance those goals, right? So they might say, “Hey, I really want to keep my kids safe.” And then if I were a motivational interviewer, I would say, “You know what, so do I, of course, and I believe that it’s your responsibility to figure out how to do that. And I trust that you have your kid’s best interests at heart.”

Adam Grant:

And then what I would do is I would say, “Okay, so how are you balancing the risks of vaccinating against the risks of not vaccinating? And what are the circumstances under which you would be opposed to vaccinating versus you might be open to considering it?” And what I’m trying to help you do is recognize that there are nuances in your own thinking, when considering a change, most people are ambivalent, that’s what the data tend to show. And if you can hold up a mirror and help people see that they might have reasons for change, as well as reasons to stay consistent, then they might actually take ownership over their own reasons for change.

Adam Grant:

But I don’t think it works if you’re trying to manipulate them, right? You have to be actually there to guide them and try to understand their motivations.

Celeste Headlee:

Okay, we have a few minutes left here. What about challenging someone’s belief about race, gender or social justice issue, because conversations can get heated very quickly?

Adam Grant:

We’re full of easy questions today, aren’t we?

Celeste Headlee:

Don’t blame me.

Adam Grant:

The irony of asking a white man this question is not lost on me … at all. Let me try to tackle this from two perspectives. The first is, what actually opened my mind on some of these issues. And then the second is, where we’ve had some luck in our data. I’m not proud of this, but for the first couple years of my career, I did not talk about gender or race in the classroom. I felt like as a white man, it was not my place. And I’m really embarrassed to say that, it took me a long time to realize that sexism is not just a women’s issue, that racism is not just an issue for black people or anyone of color, that these are issues of human rights and dignity and opportunity, and that we all have a responsibility to speak about them.

Adam Grant:

I think one of the things that really opened my mind was, I read some research showing that when white men advocate for diversity, they don’t get punished for it, they actually sometimes get rewarded for it. What a good guy, he cares about people who don’t look like him. And sadly, the same data, this is David Heckman and Stephanie Johnson and their colleagues, the same data showed that when women and minorities advocated for diversity, they tended to face a penalty for it, as if they were being self serving or nepotistic to advance their own group. And when I learned that, I said, “You know what, not only is it my place, it’s actually easier for me than it is for a woman or a person of color to advocate for diversity and inclusion.”

Adam Grant:

And then I made another mistake that I’m not proud of, which is I took that evidence at face value. And I said, “Well, yeah, that’s the way the world is. So I need to speak out a lot, I need to advocate for change.” What I should have done was say, “It is unacceptable that the world works this way.” When you see a woman or a person of color, advocate for diversity, she is not trying to advantage her own group, she is putting her career and her livelihood on the line to advance justice. I think that desperately needs to change. What do you think of that?

Celeste Headlee:

I’m a black Jew, so you’re speaking my language here. It is absolutely the case. It’s interesting because, the book I just finished writing, is about how to talk about race, regardless of your color-

Adam Grant:

Wait, how did I not know this?

Celeste Headlee:

I don’t know.

Adam Grant:

Are you keeping secrets from me?

Celeste Headlee:

I guess I am. I guess the answer here is yeah, but I just turned it in eight days early. But one of the things I found interesting I spoke with a number of people and every single BIPOC person said, “Listen, this is white people’s work, this is their work to do. And, if you want to be educated on issues of race, you have to ask first.” And this harkens back to what you were talking about before, this idea of getting permission and making sure … getting consent in a way to say, “Hey, I don’t understand this particular issue, can you tell me about it?” And if they say, “No.” You have to be okay with it and walk away, without making it about your hurt feelings.

Celeste Headlee:

If anyone’s doing the homework and being thoughtful about it, it’s probably you Adam.

Adam Grant:

That remains to be seen. I will say just think thinking back to the question that prompted this discussion. How to have hard conversations with people about race. One of the things that I keep noticing is how often these conversations are framed in terms of equality, and how the the defensiveness often comes from people who aren’t interested in equality of outcome, they want equality of opportunity. And they kind of believe that the world is a meritocracy. And so why do we need to have this conversation? And the first thought I had on that is from some of the research on moral foundations, that maybe we would make more progress just not using the language of equality, and saying instead, we are trying to give everyone opportunity or everyone freedom.

Adam Grant:

Do you think that’s a viable reframing? And is there other rhetoric that you would recommend here?

Celeste Headlee:

I think absolutely. And the research now shows that instead of looking for equality, we need to be talking about equity. And I think that people can understand that if you have an entire workforce of people over six feet, that equality …

Adam Grant:

Is not going to work.

Celeste Headlee:

It’s not going to help. I think you’re absolutely on the right track. And obviously talking about any place is a meritocracy right now is problematic. But also, I think this is a good example for people of a healthy conversation about race, I think. I mean-

Adam Grant:

It’s been helpful for me, I appreciate that.

Celeste Headlee:

And for me, too, and sadly, we have to end here because we’re out of time. But I want to thank you so much for always your honesty and your candor and talking about all these issues.

Adam Grant:

Well as a as a feminist and an aspiring anti racist, it’s an honor to have the chance to speak with this incredible audience of women. And Celeste, also just such a treat to have a chance to learn from you. I will never forget when you introduced me to the idea of conversational narcissism. And it’s something I’ve been paranoid about ever since. I think it’s something that we probably need some of the men of the world to be more aware of.

Celeste Headlee:

Well, I’m here to help. But it’s always a pleasure to talk to you and I really enjoyed the book. Thank you to all the audience members who sent in their questions in advance. Be sure to pick up Adam Grant’s new book, it’s called think again and it’s in the conference bookstore with free shipping. Take care, everybody.