Organizations are often run according to “the superchicken model,” where the value is placed on star employees who outperform others. And yet, this isn’t what drives the most high-achieving teams. Business leader Margaret Heffernan observes that it is social cohesion — built every coffee break, every time one team member asks another for help — that leads over time to great results. It’s a radical rethink of what drives us to do our best work, and what it means to be a leader. Because as Heffernan points out: “Companies don’t have ideas. Only people do.”
How do organizations think? In her book Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril, Margaret Heffernan examines why businesses and the people who run them often ignore the obvious — with consequences as dire as the global financial crisis and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Heffernan began her career in television production, building a track record at the BBC before going on to run the film and television producer trade association IPPA. In the US, Heffernan became a serial entrepreneur and CEO in the wild early days of web business. She now blogs for the Huffington Post and BNET.com. Her latest book, Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes, a TED Books original, explores the small steps companies can make that lead to big changes in their culture.
In her TEDTalk, the former CEO of five businesses, she explores the all-too-human thought patterns — like conflict avoidance and selective blindness — that lead organizations and managers astray.
Here is a direct link to Heffernan’s program.