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© BOB SUTTON  2018

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About Friction

My co-conspirator Huggy and I are on a mission to understand friction in organizations: why some things in organizations are too hard to get done, what to do about it, and when friction is a good thing for people and performance.  We are especially interested in how leaders and teams can eliminate friction that frustrates employees, fatigues teams, and causes organizations to flounder and fail.  As part of the adventure, I hosted the first season of the FRICTION podcast, which includes 11 episodes, each of which is 20 minutes or so.  Please join my guests and me. In each episode  we share raw and hilarious stories of bureaucratic brilliance, madness, and idiotic inertia— and discuss practical, and often research-based, methods for improving the way we work. My guests for include Silicon Valley experts Patty McCord, Michael Dearing, Kim Scott and and academic leaders including Katy DeCelles,  Huggy Rao, and Melissa Valentine.  You can find the first season at the Stanford ecorner site or on itunes. We are now recording the second season, and expect to start releasing weekly episodes in April.  Our guests include film producer Sheri Singer, author and management guru Eric Reiss of Lean Startup fame, Harvard’s Nancy Koehn—historian and author of Forged in Crisis, Stanford’s Kathy Eisenhardt—co-author of Simple Rules, and Michael Arena— head of Talent at General Motors and author ofAdaptive Space.  Huggy Rao will return to discuss new insights on about The Friction Project,  especially the importance of cadence. FRICTION is a Stanford eCorner original series.

 Friction is the force that stands in the way of getting things done, and it’s everywhere because we work in an increasingly complex and collaborative world. But before we can eliminate this costly drag on our time, we must first call out the enemy. In this episode, Stanford management Professor Bob Sutton and Stanford business Professor Hayagreeva "Huggy" Rao describe how friction takes hold and spreads within workplaces, how to recognize when you or those around you are just adding to the "muck," and why it’s especially important for entrepreneurs to eliminate drag that blunts their only edge in the market: speed. 

Agile is a State of Being

18 min | June 19, 2017

Difficult People
Harvard Business Review

36 min | February 22, 2018

How should you handle a co-worker who treats you like dirt? In this episode of HBR’s advice podcast Dear HBR:, co-hosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn answer your questions with the help of Stanford management professor Bob Sutton, an expert in dealing with difficult people. They talk through what to do when your colleague is a bully, when your boss never takes the blame, and when your direct report gets on everyone’s bad side — but still brings in the money.

Bob Sutton | The Asshole Survival Guide (Episode 666)
The Art of Charm
36 min | February 22, 2018

Bob Sutton (@work_matters) is a Stanford Business School professor and author of New York Times Bestseller The No Asshole Rule and, most recently, The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt.

“Be slow to label others as assholes and be quick to label yourself as one.” -Bob Sutton

The Cheat Sheet:

  • What is an asshole, and why do they seem to be everywhere?

  • Why assholes do not finish first.

  • What to do if you’re forced to work with an asshole.

  • How to spot the red flags that help you avoid dealing with assholes in the first place — or know when it’s time to quit the assholes who are already in your life.

  • How to tell if maybe you’re the asshole.

  • And so much more…

a16z Podcast: The Asshole Survival Guide
34 min | September 13, 2017

Bob Sutton’s book The No Asshole Rule was all about how to foster company cultures that don’t tolerate asshole behavior. But sometimes, dealing with an asshole is unavoidable — in life or at work. So what are the best tactics to both protect yourself and to stop the asshole behavior? This is the subject that Sutton tackles in his new book, The Asshole Survival Guide. 


Episode 44:
Bob Sutton on leadership
+ organizational life