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KAREN MAY: It is my absolute pleasure today to introduce you to Jeffrey Pfeffer And Jeff is a professor at Stanford and an author/co-author of 14 books, another one, I understand, in the making– so 14 and 1/2 books And so he’s got lots and lots of areas of expertise, and we’re here today to talk about his latest book, “Leadership BS,” which is nothing, if not catchy, as a title I am Karen May I lead our People Development Team here at Google, and I know we’re joined not only by folks in the room here today, but also by a number of folks in other locations via live stream So welcome all of you And I shared briefly with Jeff a little bit of an and embarrassing fact, which is I don’t read very many leadership books And I tend to read the first chapter and feel like I kind of got the point and maybe read like the first paragraph of the rest of the chapters There tends to be a certain sameness And so I left about that much time to read this book, which is no offense But what I found when I started reading is I kind of put my feet up on the couch and leaned back and slowed down, and I said, oh, this is very interesting This is really different, and so I was so pleased that I had the opportunity to directly ask you questions because it was a very thought-provoking book And I know we can’t assume today the you’ve all had the chance to read it yet I imagine many of you will following our conversation because you too will be very intrigued So I’d like to just start off with the first question, which as I shared with you, I’m very curious because you’ve written at least two books in one, maybe three with this book And two of the themes that you wove together– one is essentially, excuse my paraphrase here– you can correct me you like– is that the things that we say we want in our leaders are not necessarily the things that we get in our leaders, nor are they necessarily the things that are rewarded in our leaders So we have a disconnect Similarly, we have a multi-billion dollar leadership development industry, which claims to help people develop into that former set of things that we say we want in our leaders, and yet it doesn’t do a good job of that And so you have commentary on both of those states of affairs in this book And I’m curious about why you wrote the book and why you chose to address both of those important questions together JEFFREY PFEFFER: Wow! KAREN MAY: No softball questions to get us started JEFFREY PFEFFER: So I wrote the book because I was angry, which turns out to make writing the book much quicker– you know, emotion, motivation– whatever I am increasingly frustrated by a combination of things Number one, that people who would take my Path to Power class at Stanford and say to me, wow, your class is very different, which I always take as a compliment because I take anything as a compliment at this point You know, they say your class is very different It contradicts what we’ve learned from other leadership books or what we’ve learned in other courses at Stanford And that was kind of interesting And then I am frustrated by the fact that it’s the dirty little secret The Stanford Business School is, of course, very highly selective We have extremely, fabulously fantastic students– probably now the most selective business school in the country– hardest to get into And in spite of the fact that we are highly selective and have these brilliantly stunningly wonderful human beings who come to us, within the first 24 months of their graduation from Stanford, a reasonably high– though since nobody has studied it, I can’t give you exact data, but my anecdotal evidence from talking to a few former students is that somewhere between 10% and 20% of our students will be fired within the first two years So that’s a high percentage, I mean, because these are highly selective, highly selected, fabulously fantastic people The idea that one of them would be fired let alone somewhere between 10% and 20% is I think shocking, and of course, the reason why they’re fired is because they believe the stuff they’ve been told in the other classes So I think we as an institution are failing I certainly in my past with the Power class, I have as one of the objectives that you should never have to leave a job involuntarily We are preparing you so that you know

how to survive in the world That’s the second thing But the thing that makes me the angriest, of course, is the enormous amount of hypocrisy I can tolerate people lying, cheating, and stealing, and doing everything else It’s part of the world, and some of them are actually, I guess, now running for president But in any event, what I don’t take very well to is the hypocrisy The people who stand up at Our View From the Top series or go and write these books and describe them and their characteristics as a leader, which bear almost no resemblance to their behavior and to what they’ve done But many people in the world believe this So you can read Rudy Giuliani’s book on leadership Or you can read– I’ll get myself into plenty of trouble because this is broadcast, but his name is in the book, so I mate as well say it– Bill George, who is CEO of Medtronic And you know, he wrote “True North.” Just a lovely book written with my dear friend and former student Pete Sims And I actually very innocently served on– not innocently– served on the board I was on board with somebody who had worked with Bill George at Medtronic, and when “True North ” came out, I said, wow! It must have been great to work with Bill The response was, that’s not the Bill George who I experienced But this is not to say anything about Bill I think is typical I make a point in chapter 1 of the book to talk about why it is difficult for people to tell the truth even if they wanted to, which by the way, in many instances, they don’t I think memory selective– we know from studies of recall of auto accidents or crimes that even if there’s no incentive for you to misremember, memory is imperfect, and so we’re certainly going to have motivated imperfect memory around what I did as a leader and wonderful I was and how everybody loved me even if they don’t By the way, if you want a little test of this, ask your friends and colleagues about failed relationships You get distorted memory there too, often in a different direction So that’s why I wrote the book The reason why I wove the two themes together is because I think they’re actually– I believe they may be related– that the reason why we say we want a set of characteristics, and we don’t get them is in part, I think, because we have a leadership industry that is living in some mythical world of the shoulds and the oughts kind of like Sunday school, which is fine I have nothing against religion– or Saturday school or Friday school depending upon your particular belief I have nothing against religion, but I think we should not confuse aspirational preaching or lay preaching with social science And to me, I think the two pieces are connected But the reason why we have done such a lousy job, manifestly lousy job, of building, with the exception of Google and my friends at SAS Institute, who typically rank about in the top five of places to work list every year But for the most part, workplaces are horrible All data suggests it’s awful Employees are disengaged Job satisfaction is horrible My favorite statistic, which was picked up in “The Economist” review of this book last week was “Parade Magazine” in 2012 said, would you rather have a substantial raise or be able to fire your boss? And 35% of the people said, fire my boss I think leaders are failing and not having a good experience either So the leadership industry has failed, and I think the disconnect is one, not the only one, but it’s one manifestation of the failure, so that’s why I rolled the two together KAREN MAY: So one of the things that you outline in a sense is we say we want these things modesty, honesty, transparency, care for others– those kinds of things And yet those things aren’t rewarded But there’s a glimmer of hope, if you will, that when done well and not with leaders who to 100% in those directions But leaders who lead well, there’s a possibility that it actually can be both good for the organization and the leader’s career and self-interest, but that the leaders career, the employees, and the organization has three different stakeholder groups, as you will, often create this triangle of tension with the leader in the middle, and they will solve first for their career and often second for the organization because those two tend to be best aligned, and it’s the employees who suffer as a result Is that an accurate– JEFFREY PFEFFER: I think that’s quite fair KAREN MAY: So if we’ve got this stakeholder triangle and the potential of those actually being aligned to elicit behavior that works for the leader’s career, the organization, and the employees, how do we begin to shift from a state

where those are unaligned, which reinforces the disconnect, to one where they become better aligned? JEFFREY PFEFFER: That was a question I was going to ask you KAREN MAY: I got it out first JEFFREY PFEFFER: Since you’re a professional in this field Well, you know, I’m not 100% sure that you actually can align it It depends upon again what the literature you want to access and what scholarship you want to access But one of the fundamental principles of sociobiology is that the interests of the individual and the interests of the group are frequently at odds with one another because– so to take an extreme example, if someone were to roll a live hand grenade into this room, what’s good for the group is for somebody to throw their body on it, but that’s not what’s good for that individual And there are many ways in which what produces individual fitness and what produces the best outcomes for the group are not aligned You want parents to forgo food so that their children can live Or you wan the individuals– I guess the best example would be the Donner Pass Hopefully, we’ll have snow this winter, but the Donner Party getting stuck in the thing and some people, I don’t think they volunteered, but anyway, being eaten by the rest of the Donner Party so they could survive the travail That would be, again, unaligned interest I’m not sure that it is possible to completely align the interests And I’m not sure that many of the qualities that we say we want or not only that, but we don’t apparently want– but I’m not even sure they’re even good for people or whatever So one of my favorites is authenticity, which we can talk about later KAREN MAY: Let’s do it now That was one of my questions too Can I interrupt you? JEFFREY PFEFFER: Sure KAREN MAY: The authenticity– because one of things that you said that caught my attention was that authenticity can actually be bad for an organization We all talk about authenticity So say a little bit more about when authenticity becomes problematic or toxic JEFFREY PFEFFER: Well, first of all, like much of the leadership stuff, if you search for authenticity on my favorite search engine, which is in fact Google, you get a billion definitions or a lot of definitions, many of which are basically like a list of positive attributes that don’t comport to any kind of definition of authenticity that I would believe But if you look at the more fundamentally scholarly literature of authenticity, it talks about being true to yourself And I don’t believe that leaders need to be true to themselves at all They need to be true to what the human beings around them need and want So one of the examples I use in the book– I have a dear friend whose daughter fell in with a bad crowd Her boyfriend gave her drugs She had an overdose Five months later she was dead But, unfortunately, she did not die that night, which would have been better for everybody And as he and his wife watched her die, and I could describe that if anybody wants, what that process is like to be brain dead and have your muscles atrophy, and even though most of the brain is not functioning, the pain of the muscles contracting– so there is this poor, basically unconscious human being, screaming, and he was this very senior administrator at a university, and for the first minute or two, or week, or day, or whatever, people are sympathetic, and they are always, of course, concerned for him and about him But sooner or later, he has to go back to work, and his team, as much as they love him and as wonderful as he is, fundamentally, after a while, they forget it is about, you know, you need to serve– you need to serve the group We need your energy We need your commitment We need your emotional involvement We need your leadership in the sense of strategic direction and all these other things And I can assure you that there were many days, there probably still are many days, when he wakes up, and the last thing he wants to do is go to work at some higher education university position because as he said, you lose a child, it will stay with you all your life It is a sadness which is an ineffable part of his soul But on the other hand, that’s not what you’ve been hired for And you have to show up and do something different And the less extreme example, Gary Loveman, who just stepped down as CEO of Caesars Entertainment, first time he came to my class because I wrote a case on him, he was running 101 degree temperature He had the flu No sentient human being with 101 degree temperature wants to do four hours of class with me So if he’s being true to himself, I want to be home in bed But part of the job of a leader is to convey– and he would do this when he would show up at his casinos–

more important than my class As he said once to my class in a video which I’ve seen so often now it’s memorized, people need your energy They need your physical energy They need your intellectual energy They need your emotional energy, and they need your energy even if at that moment in time you’ve got marital trouble or your children are acting up, or you don’t feel well People need your energy, and so the idea of being authentic to yourself seems a little too self-centered You show up at the leadership role, you have a responsibility to the people you’re being led by And so part of the skill of being a leader is the ability, I think, to act in ways that you’re not necessarily feeling at the time I may be tired I may be depressed I may be distracted But in terms of getting the job done, I have to show up in a fully present, engaged, energetic way Does that make sense? KAREN MAY: It does It does So it comes, in a sense, back to the definition of authenticity and also to one of the points you make about the leadership training industry is we sort of glamorize and perhaps exaggerate these traits so that authenticity means being completely and utterly vulnerable and open at all times JEFFREY PFEFFER: And being true to your wants and needs KAREN MAY: Right Being true to your own wants and needs versus a more realistic definition, which might have to do with evaluating what your team needs from you or what your organization needs from you, checking to make sure you’re not violating fundamental values, and defining authenticity on a longer-term scale than in the moment, how am I doing? But what’s the connection for me there is when our industry defines things in an unrealistic way or an idealistic way, we set a standard that’s unrealistically high, and that then becomes something that people can’t achieve, and that exaggerates perhaps the gap that already exists JEFFREY PFEFFER: I think that’s right, and also we presume– authenticity is an interesting thing because it presumes you need to be true to your authentic self, but which authentic self? Your authentic self when you were 18 months old? One of the other stories is my favorite example is my dear friend Alison Davis-Blake I like to say I knew Alison Davis-Blake before she was hyphenated I knew where she Alison Davis and was probably the world shyest doctoral student that you could ever possibly imagine– could hardly speak up in class If she spoke up, you would not know because you couldn’t hear And she is today dean of the– she is just stepping down as dean of the Ross School at the University of Michigan And she’s probably going to go on to be a provost or a university president, and if you talk to Alison, she will tell you– she’s still– I don’t think she did a personality transplant or something She’s still basically an introvert But she said to be an introvert, define it, I don’t know, whatever, to be true that She said, I figured out after a while that the behaviors associated with that label, being introverted, was not very useful for my career I was not going to be able to be a dean or president or an associate dean or probably even a functioning teacher if I was going to be that shy so nobody could hear me And so I believe, which is one of the themes of the class I teach, is that human beings– you don’t have to change who you are, but you need change your behaviors, and we can all learn and adopt behaviors that make us better able to function So she’s a fabulous public speaker She’s obviously been extremely successful, and she will be a provost or a university president of a major university And if you had known her in 1986, if you there had been a list of 1,000 people who was going to be a dean or university president, she would have been last on the list And this is partly in her case, saying to herself, I will re-invent myself I will develop skills and resilience and toughness that I never thought I had And that’s just perfect KAREN MAY: So the self evolves, and we need to allow space for that Many of the examples in your book focus on CEOs kind of the senior level executive who might hypothesize are more subject to the tension in the stakeholder triangle, if you will, than some others But I’m curious because you spoke mostly about them Do you see the same disconnect kind of all levels of leaders and managers? Or does it get worse at top? JEFFREY PFEFFER: Well, no, actually I think it’s easier at the top because most people at the top are particularly not at the top because they are company founders But they’ve worked their way up They’ve overcome anything that worries them

about except their own careers in case you haven’t been reading the newspaper about people who are pretty much self interested Many of the studies that I cite are studies of people throughout the career course The effect of narcissism on career success has been studied at the level of presidents, but it’s also been studied at the levels of selection and to the officer ranks in the military So I think this holds throughout the career And I see you have coming or somebody told me that you have coming my good friend Adam Galinsky– “Friend and Foe.” And that is a different kind of issue but a another kind of tension because people are both friends and foes in the same time In organizational hierarchies, you are both peers and competitors So you have to collaborate and cooperate at the same time That’s right You have to look out for the organization’s interest To some extent, you have to look out for your own interests My dear friend Joe Podolny, who works for a company you may have heard of called Apple You know, when I wrote the book before this, “Power,” he and I met at Apple– the food’s not as good as here But in any event, we had this wonderful discussion in which he said, you basically are telling people that they need to take care of themselves I said, well Joel, you haven’t been at Apple for all that long But 30 or 40 years ago in the Silicon Valley there became a mantra, and I don’t know if this is true of Google, but I suspect it is, and the mantra that came out of the Silicon Valley and still exists is that we are not responsible for your career You are responsible for your career We are responsible to give you interesting jobs We are responsible to give you learning opportunities and growth opportunities But in most companies, and I suspect Google’s one of them, the first things you do when you either get recruited or sign on, you sign an at-will statement We are employed at-will We can be fired for good cause, no cause, any cause By the way, this is the only country in the world that has at-will employment But that’s another story So I said, for 40 years you and your colleagues in the Silicon Valley have said to people they are responsible for their career What I tell people is when people tell you’re responsible for your career, take them seriously Believe the message Believe the message You’re responsible for your career means that then you need to take care of yourself And you cannot say– not that I’m a big Freudian, but what Freud would say is that ever since we’re expelled from our mother’s womb, we’re looking for the protective loving figure to take care of us And it could be some godlike figure in his book, “Delusion and Dream,” or it could be the big company that is going to take care of me– the company I could lose myself in the company, and the company is going to look out for me Maybe Google does that pretty well, and they probably do But most companies don’t And so you need to take care of yourself You are a fully functioning adult. Stop looking for the maternal or paternal warmth and love This is just a transactional world It’s kind of a depressing way to look at it But it’s on the other hand, as I tell people, I’m depressed when I see former students of mine lose their jobs That to me is way more depressing than have them go into where they are with their eyes open KAREN MAY: So would your outcome be that folks reading your book would walk away saying, ah, things are different than I wish and different than maybe I thought, and I need to operate differently as a result or that people would say, things are different than I would wish, and I want to figure out how to start to change that? So I think you’ve given advice in your book on both JEFFREY PFEFFER: Both I would say both I would say absolutely both The subtitle of this book is “Changing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time.” I don’t believe we’re going to change the situation that exists in the world without understanding the psychological and sociological dynamics that produce this behavior We need to understand where this comes from We have to understand the rules of the game If we want fewer concussions in professional, or for that matter, amateur football, the first thing we need to understand is number one, how many concussions there are And so one of the interesting things about the leadership industry is that there all these recommendations So my favorite trick for people who give these talks which I hate is to say, OK, you told me that leaders should tell the truth or “Leaders Eat Last,” Simon Sinek’s book, or whatever Can you give me an estimate of what percentage of leaders engage in this behavior? And, of course, it’s always met with silence We have no measures if base rates So if I said to you, this is the difference between management and medicine we’ve known for 400 years

that if I want to encourage– if I want to produce healthy outcomes, hygiene is important So we know doctors all wash their hands in antiseptic solutions And we know that 60% of all SARS cases during the Sudden Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome were spread through the hands of health care workers So we know So here I would say you measure a base rate What percentage of people wash their hands? OK, why do they not wash their hands? Now we could figure out interventions We could measure the effect of those interventions And leadership, I want you to be authentic or take care of others or whatever What percentage of people are doing it? I’m clueless What are interventions that will cause a higher percentage of people to do it? I’m clueless because I haven’t measured how many people are doing it How can we possibly get any– there is no theory, science, or logic that would suggest that is a situation in which things are going to improve In order to improve, I have to know where they are I have to try different experiments, which is something that Google does– good– which is wonderful But do experiments just as you would run experiments on your website or on search engines or search results, you run experiments with this as well, and how are we doing, and are things getting better, or are we not getting better? And if they’re not getting better, why not? And that’s the only way This idea that things are going to get better by telling ourselves our version of your favorite fairytale, I just don’t see any evidence There’s not a scintilla of that Nor is there any logic that suggests that would make it any better So on the one hand, I think we ought to try to make things better, and we ought to create a healthier, better world The book that I’m currently writing– actually, I’m writing two books, but I can hardly write one anymore because we just bought a new house, and my wife has assigned me the job of fixing it up, which is interesting in any event, but it’s fine The book that I’m writing– the book is mostly finished in which I hope to finish reasonably soon The working title is “Dying for a Paycheck,” and two colleagues who are much smarter mathematically than I They are operations research people They built this wonderful model based upon epidemiological data and a meta-analysis we did based upon survey data, which tries to estimate incidence of this is Our estimate is 120,000 excess deaths a year in the United States from workplace stress, which by the way, would make the workplace the fifth leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer, but ahead of Alzheimer’s and diabetes It’s horrible We literally have toxic workplaces, and we ought to do something about that But if we’re going to do something about that, we also need to understand I see all these pieces as being part of the same– KAREN MAY: Fitting together JEFFREY PFEFFER: Fitting together KAREN MAY: You make a case, as you just did here, that before– so there is a ray of hope We could potentially fix the problem, but before we can fix the problem, we have to understand the problem JEFFREY PFEFFER: Of course KAREN MAY: To understand the problem, we have to apply what we know about science and measurement to leadership and management, which luckily is something many of us value here We have a bunch of real scientists here JEFFREY PFEFFER: Of course Not every place is like Google KAREN MAY: I am curious where you see people doing the science well and what we might be able to learn from, and you mentioned a couple of examples in the book of places where people incorporate what we know about behavior change, the science of behavior change, into practice where we’re asking people to set specific goals and give them feedback on those goals, and I think there are a few examples What kinds of things would you leave us with as either people or institutions that are really doing good science in our arena, even if they are the minority? JEFFREY PFEFFER: Well, I don’t know that many besides Google I’m not sure– Google and SAS Institute and probably a relatively small number of other places because part of what I think distinguishes good leaders, good managers, good people is an intellectual curiosity And one of the striking things about life– I have a colleague named Dennis Tourish, who some years ago did a survey– he’s a Scottish professor And he did a survey in which he asked Scottish executives not what books were they reading, but had they read any And the answer would astonish you First of all, we live in a country where 25% of the people don’t believe in evolution And that’s a true figure So it should not astonish you that we do not have a lot of people– we don’t have a lot of companies doing what you’re doing, which is having book talks We don’t have a lot of senior leaders

who have any intellectual curiosity at all like how things work One of the things I love about Gary Loveman is he would say, OK, you know, I want to teach by people how to think So if people are aren’t doing– if we’re not getting a large share of their gaming dollar, why not? Why are they choosing the competitors? So you ask a series of analytical questions, and if the questions are asked, well, you can figure out eventually how to get the data and do the analysis But if you don’t start with the questions, you’re not going to get anywhere And so I don’t see the typical CEO– so I’ll tell a story on one of your semi-competitors I have a dear friend named Roger Martin who just stepped down as the dean of the Rotman University of Toronto Business School So Roger and I were together at a conference, and we were talking about life and things, and we exchanged emails, and he said it’s amazing how there is this idea that if you’re a CEO, any word that comes out of your mouth is correct So he said, there’s been a big controversy, as many of you know, about whether or not there’s a real shortage of engineers and technical employees or not And he’s been very active in Toronto doing a strategic plan for the province of Ontario, and he’s been very involved with Statistics Canada And he engaged in exchange with Microsoft about the issue of how many engineers there were and the number of engineers And he has a thing which he forwarded to me for the Microsoft PR department that basically said, if Bill Gates said it, it’s true– literally, it’s true There’s no evidence The statistics from Canada, at least for the providence of Ontario which is where the debate was about, suggested it was completely made it up says it must be true So we live in a world in which the CEOs make stuff up And we have a presidential candidate who makes stuff up Immigrants cause crime How do we know it? Because it came out of Donald Trump’s mouth There’s not a scintilla of evidence for this– any studies of this or proportions of immigrants– proportions of that I wrote the bestselling business book of all time No, but it doesn’t matter If you say it and say it with enough conviction, it becomes true In this kind of world, we need science, but it’s not very prevalent I’m sure you saw that when you were in Terra Nova Consulting and had to do– KAREN MAY: It’s true JEFFREY PFEFFER: So how did you go about changing it? KAREN MAY: Well, first, Jeff said is it OK if I ask you a couple of questions, which it is, but start thinking of your questions because in a minute, Cliff is ready with the mic, and we’ll hear from some of you How did I go about changing it? I can’t take responsibility for changing it, but I did join a place that really values science And I think at Google because we are an engineering-led organization, and we value making decisions objectively, if you don’t have the data, it doesn’t matter how compelling the case is What matters is that you are informed And one of the things that I’ve seen here that I saw much less often when I was an external consultant is that our leaders will change their minds in the face of data And that is something that you don’t always see elsewhere You don’t see the data You don’t see it presenting You don’t see people change their minds And I think teaching people here as we often do, and these folks in the room will help teach people– teaching people to use data to help influence decision making is a critical capacity and capability to teach, absolutely Questions, folks? Cliff is there with the mic if you have one AUDIENCE: There’s a lot of stuff at the moment about self-management So get rid of managers, get rid of leaders– JEFFREY PFEFFER: Holacracy? AUDIENCE: So do you believe in that, then? JEFFREY PFEFFER: Do I believe in holacracy? The evidence suggests over years and decades that– people have been talking about the end of hierarchy for probably 70 years And there are a little experiments I actually don’t believe Zappos is such an experiment As I have pointed out to several reporters, everything I say, of course, gets me into trouble, which is fine The idea that holacracy is imposed from on top and that anybody who doesn’t agree with holocracy should leave is a contradiction in the idea of self-management, but whatever But Ricardo Semler in Brazil has this I think there are cooperative forms of organization that work– Mondragon in Spain, which I actually visited some years ago The John Edwards Cooperative in the United Kingdom There are certainly self-governing, semi-democratic

forms of organizations, which include basically every law partnership, most of the public accounting partnerships, many management consulting firm partnerships where they elect the CEO, but the CEOs are elected at least by the partners So that is a form of self-governance and self-management But if you read Herbert Simon who was deceased, his book or the article that was based on the book, “The Architecture of Complexity.” Hierarchy is pervasive in the natural world You see hierarchy in schools of fish You see hierarchy even in apparently even organisms more simple than schools of fish Hierarchy is relatively pervasive, and I see, again, many of my students, who are now ex-students, come into companies and they say, well, we’re not political here Everybody’s equal That’s probably not true There is one CEO There is one school superintendent, and in 2018 there is going to be a new governor of California I don’t see much evidence that non-hierarchical systems do very well because in almost any size and complexity, hierarchy emerges almost naturally And my colleague, Larissa Tiedens, did some studies that show that when you give people a choice of how they want to organize– when you tell them they have to accomplish a task, they organize voluntarily into an hierarchical arrangement AUDIENCE: I have a question about how leadership is informed by multicultural companies, and you mentioned that 10% to 20% of students may get laid off within the first two years JEFFREY PFEFFER: They don’t get laid off They get fired AUDIENCE: All right, they get fired JEFFREY PFEFFER: We need to be clear about that AUDIENCE: OK, so can you comment whether you speculate that’s because they go into a multicultural company– that they had to figure out different cultures because of that? JEFFREY PFEFFER: It happens I’ll tell you a story, which is going to sound so weird that you’re going to believe it’s made up, but it’s not I have a woman, a former student, who is actually a little even older, calls me on the phone one day, and she’s in tears because she needs to work And she needs a job, and so she has been at a company, a high-tech company, and obviously, not this company, and she is– so what’s the problem? She’s about to be fired, why? Because she has gone into the organization, and the organization said, we are an organization that believes in openness and transparency and continuous improvement, and therefore you should tell everybody at all moments kind of what we do in our class at Stanford called touchy feely– interpersonal dynamics We got to share your feelings and share your honest feedback with them And you in particular ought to tell people what you think they’re doing right and what they think they’re doing wrong, and she shared her honest feedback She had a boss She didn’t think the boss was very good, which is probably true, and she told the boss Her career is over And I said, now how– this woman is smart enough to get into Stanford Business School She’s actually smart, very smart Smart but not wise I said what possessed you? What momentary, whatever, what is it demonic possession or something? She said, no, the organization said number one, we want to be continuously getting better– sounds reasonable And the best way to get continuously getting better is to provide people with open and honest feedback on how they’re doing, which is by the way, also factually correct So I said, they told me they want to get better This makes sense that I’m going to give people constructive feedback in a constructive fashion so they can improve their performance So I believed them, and I said to her, I said, did you ask– did you do any diligence on these statements like what happened to the last person who gave constructive feedback, and where are they now? So one of the jokes that I sometimes make is if I sat up here, and I said, I’ve discovered the cure for cancer, and I will sell it to you or to Google for $500 million, which by the way, had I discovered the cure for cancer would be the biggest bargain in the history of life How many of you are going to write me a check for $500 million? And the answer is nobody, because you will do due diligence You will say, if I have a technology that is going to provide some medical benefit or for that matter, any contact with a benefit, we will use medical benefit for the moment, you will do sufficient due diligence to understand is the technology real? Are there patents? Is there intellectual property? Does it work? But when we come– when we see these leaders write the books or give the talks or whatever– we believe it uncritically We don’t even spend a nanosecond of doing due diligence It’s true What happened to the people?

Are they living their beliefs? You know, I have friends– one of friends stimulating me to write this book who talks about himself as a leader My god, all you have to do is go to the city where he spends a good portion of his time when he’s not lecturing at Stanford and do a search– public records– public records You can see the suits by his partners In 30 minutes, you can– why So one of my recommendations is don’t believe– trust but verify or something Get a hold of data When people tell you a story, find out whether it’s true Volkswagen had a story that turned out not to be true You have a diesel car with great gas mileage– I don’t think so– and meet the emissions standards, maybe not So we need to verify what we are told, and I think that is the first and most important thing is just ask what’s real and what isn’t KAREN MAY: So there’s some coping strategies for dealing in today’s real world while at the same time getting the base rate measurement that it will enable us to affect change systematically using good scientific principles JEFFREY PFEFFER: Yeah, one of things that also drives me nuts is how we evaluate leadership development activities So the leadership development industry is this huge industry People go to these conferences, and at the end of the conference, you fill out a happy sheet You know, did you have a good time? Were the doughnuts good? Or whatever– it’s interesting And we know that for four decades ago in the early 1970s was to the best of my ability to discern it the first study of the relationship between instructor ratings and objective measures of learning So it was a calculus class, a big state university, you know , a big calculus class where in the olden days before the invention of technology– these enormous tiered classrooms, and they heard a professor lecture about calculus, and then they put everybody in discussion sections At the end of the semester, everybody took the same test They were randomly assigned essentially to sections So here’s the perfect thing You’re going to ask to what extent is there a correlation between teacher ratings, the core section ratings, and objective measures of learning The answer is zero And that’s 40 years of research has demonstrated that It’s no different than the leadership development industry We are rewarding entertainment We’re getting entertainment And that’s another reason why there’s absolutely no progress So one of my favorite stories of in this book– somebody who was considering me for a talk They chose somebody else So I said, you know, it’s fine Actually, many times this woman called me and told me that they haven’t chosen me I said, can you explain to me the selection criteria She said, yeah She said, we picked somebody else, and gave me the name, because he’s better looking, and by they way on the web, he is better looking I’d have picked him too But think about this The next time you go look at the conference and who is big on the conference circuit? People who have compelling, interesting stories Do they know anything? Absolutely not KAREN MAY: Or maybe not We don’t know Because we’re not measuring it We don’t know JEFFREY PFEFFER: Yes, we don’t even know KAREN MAY: OK, Debbie AUDIENCE: All right, thanks Another lens that we try to look at leadership through at Google is the lens of diversity and asking our leaders to be inclusive leaders And we’re really trying to get that right Are there any hard truths about that we should understand? Or what do you think? JEFFREY PFEFFER: Well, not beyond the hard truth that you probably already know which is that people love people who remind them of themselves It’s short I love the “New York Times.” Their science fiction is fabulous So some years ago, a guy named Benedict Carey wrote a nice article called, “You Remind Me of Me,” which of course, reminds us of the fact that we love people who look like us, sound like us– this is about behavioral imitation So one of things I actually talked about this morning in executive education class I was talking out at Stanford And a woman raised her hand, and she said, what is your recommendation? My recommendation is if behavior limitation works, and there’s no evidence that it doesn’t, then you ought to imitate You don’t have to get a sex change operation, but you can imitate gestures You can imitate intonation I don’t know I’m sure some people in this room have seen Amy JC Cuddy’s TED talk on power posing Absolutely So you can do things and use dialect or inflection or words or gestures Whatever That, by the way, cuts across race or gender You can use behavioral limitation so that even though I don’t look like you or you don’t look like me or we don’t like each other, you can look in a sense of the use of language, in the sense of some other stuff So you can take the fact that we understand similarities,

the basis of interpersonal attraction, and use that And I’ve seen some women in particular or people of color do, which is to remind the people that they’re interacting with what they have in common So I may be different, but there are many things that we have in common We work in the same organization We went to the same university We’re stuck on the same airplane, which is going nowhere or whatever this is that we have in common So you can find those things KAREN MAY: That’s an interesting example of how I see you over and over and over take the research– social psychology in this case, and in many cases take the social psychology research and say, if this is true, then how do we create a better world around that, and how do we operate realistically in the world we’re in today And I think those are the two– one of the many tensions you create in your book is how do we hold true the operate effectively in the world in which we are functioning and at the same time, work to make it a world in which we’d like to be functioning, and that’s the hope and fear aspects of your book I think Debbie– and it’s interesting to think about to your question how we can help leaders be the ones to find the thing they have in common and take the onus off of people who want to be seen for all they have to contribute as having to also then build that connection but have leaders really looking for that AUDIENCE: So you mentioned about people dying from workplace stress, and I just read about a company that instituted a five-hour workday So I’m wondering how do you balance not enforcing a five-hour workday, but saying please take one, and then not having the social pressure of people wanting to show leadership by then not abiding by a five-hour workday? JEFFREY PFEFFER: Well, work hours is one source of problem, but the biggest source of workplace– there are two sources– so work hours is obviously a source of workplace stress particularly to the extent that it entails and engages work/family conflict But the biggest sources of workplace stress are number one, economic insecurity So people with families and mortgages have economic obligations that don’t come and go And there are many places– our friend down the road at HP, which is as near as I could determine, could only do layoffs I believe that’s what they manufacture today Somebody said, what does HP make? I said, they make layoffs on a regular basis It’s not really a joking matter There’s a lot of epidemiological literature on the harmful health effects of being laid off Economic insecurity is an enormous source of stress in today’s economy where you have people in the so-called freelancer, gig economy You have companies– Caterpillar, HP, which we made a joke about, and the companies are laying people off all the time That’s an enormous source of workplace stress A second source of workplace stress is an absence of job control So the question isn’t how hard you work The question is– do you have any discretion? So if I give you a task to do, it could be a challenging task But if you have some discretion on the resources that you muster and when you do it and how you do it, that’s much less stressful than saying to you, by the way, I need the report by noon It’s now 10:00 in the morning Oh, never mind, I need a different report by noon Oh, never mind, I need you to go So I have a friend that works for a company that shall remain nameless But it’s not going to remain nameless in the “Dying for a Paycheck” book We’re supposed to go out with Sootha and Sima The joke is they are the Indian children we never had because we don’t have any children But we love them like children, and they love us like parents or something or like friends And Sima, who works for some very fancy Bay Area company Sootha emails me Saturday morning This is Saturday morning We’re going to see them Saturday night to go to the Mars in San Francisco dinner It rains beforehand What should we do? Sima has been caught told this morning to get on a plane By the way, she’s also seven months pregnant– to get on a plane, be in Europe on Sunday to do a sales and marketing meeting on Monday No control That’s stressful Not we’re going to give you five-weeks notice Not we’re going to ask what is your preference to get the work done that we have You’re a marketing executive in this company, but there is some responsibilities You don’t want to go on maternity leave yet That’s fine Here are some stuff you need to get accomplished and figure out how to do it That’s very different By the way, she has an MBA from Harvard– smart woman, even though it’s from Harvard, it’s fine It’s very different than saying, I am your boss Get your ass on an airplane tonight– very different

That’s stressful That is I have no control over my life Someone at any moment could have me doing stuff Not, I got a set of jobs and a task to accomplish This is, go here, go here, go there, do that– not a good thing The third source of stress– this is also controllable and prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and actually, post the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which not very affordable, the third source of stress is that many people in this country do not have access to decent medical care because of health insurance Even company-provided health insurance, many people aren’t covered, and the co-pays have gone up, blah de blah So I know people stressed out about how do I care for myself and my family with health issues and all that kind of stuff So there are many dimensions of stress besides the work hours And the work hours, you know, my friend Jim Goodnight at SAS Institute would say, my job as the leader of SAS is to try to get all the unnecessary stuff out of your life so that if you actually work 40 hours a week, you work 30 hours more than you’re currently working on productive stuff as opposed to dealing with the bureaucracy and the useless meetings and the stresses– the wonderful thing that we’ve done in benefits administration, hopefully not at Google, but who knows, where we’ve said everybody needs to be an expert on everything So we’re going to have self-directed retirement accounts We’re going to have self-directed medical stuff Everybody’s responsible for everything So everybody has to become an expert I wrote a column about this when “Business 2.0” was still alive, so this is more than a decade ago in which I said, what happened to Adam Smith and the idea of the division of labor? That a sensible thing to do would be to say, I’m not going to make everybody, particularly people not as educated as the people in this room, experts on financial planning and financial investments and, you know, and certainly what I’d do in my own medical care My expert advice is don’t get old, nothing good comes of it But what I do it with respect to my medical care is I spend not a minute becoming an expert on whatever my current malady is I spend a lot of time figuring out who is So when I had spine surgery two years ago, I’m not going to tell him how to do the surgery But I am going to make sure that I found absolutely the best person to do this So if anybody needs spine surgery, I can give you a clue KAREN MAY: So we’ve had a teaser into your next book as well JEFFREY PFEFFER: There you go KAREN MAY: I’m conscious many of you are going to rush to two o’clock meetings, and I’m going to stop us now so that those of you who didn’t get a signed book beforehand and want to can get one now at the back of the room And thank you so much, and primarily Jeff, thank you so much for being with us today JEFFREY PFEFFER: Thank you It was a pleasure meeting you Thank you KAREN MAY: And you [APPLAUSE]

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