Gold Nugget #449: Leaning Out with Marissa Orr

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In episode 499, Marissa Orr shares fresh, actionable wisdom on the workplace gender gap and reframes how alleged weaknesses can actually be strengths.

Marissa asserts that the ‘lean in’ mentality overlooks how institutions ignore women’s varied desires and wellbeing. With the ‘lean in’ mentality, women are blamed for the gender gap because they aren’t ambitious or assertive—i.e., like men. Marissa counters this with the ‘lean out’ mentality, which pins the blame on institutions for measuring and rewarding success without considering women’s varied strengths and motivations.

People resist acknowledging valid gender differences because of value judgments. People are comfortable discussing trivial gender differences, but get defensive when it becomes about how men and women relate differently to power. Marissa explains that people take offense because they already perceive one as better or stronger than the other when in reality, power is a much broader concept.

“Strengths” depend upon the surrounding context. For example, in zero-sum game contexts, collaboration is seen as a weakness because there are fewer opportunities to create win-win scenarios. But if you flip the context to a cooperative environment, then collaboration becomes a powerful strength.

Find how you can put your strengths to work. Not every setting is designed to let you fully capitalize on your strengths. Thus, it’s important to figure out how your work can meet your needs, how work can’t meet your needs, and how you can fill those gaps with your strengths.

Listen to / read the full episode HERE.

Gold Nugget #447: What Innovators Do Differently, with Hal Gregersen

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In episode 447, Hal Gregersen reveals the key skills of disruptive innovators—and how you can get them too.

Innovators question, observe, network, experiment, and think associatively. According to Hal, innovators are obsessive problem finders and solvers who use five skills to address issues in their industry zones:

  • Questioning: They frequently ask status quo-challenging questions.
  • Observing: They carefully watch the world and study it like anthropologists.
  • Networking: They talk to people of different backgrounds who have dealt with similar problems to spark new insights.
  • Experimenting: They try things that other people aren’t willing to try through small, fast, and cheap experiments.
  • Thinking associatively: They connect ideas that other people can’t. They often ask, “Is there anything new, different, or surprising I’m learning from observing, networking, or experimenting, that would be relevant to the problem I’m trying to solve?’”

 Ask about what works, what doesn’t work, and why. A strong understanding of the current status quo allows you to come up with new ideas and solutions. Be persistent with asking, and if you meet resistance to your ideas, ask “Well, why not?”

Use questions burst to build your questioning skill. Hal suggests generating many questions about your issue for four minutes. Don’t concern yourself with why you’re asking them or how to answer them. Simply question-storming can help you ask better questions and jumpstart you down the path of getting better answers.

Don’t get stuck at questioning. Questioning alone won’t deliver new ideas. It’s just as important to go out into the world to observe, network for ideas, and experiment. The combination of asking with doing makes the biggest difference.

Listen to / read the full episode here.