Dr. Steve Julius was the second day opening keynote at the 2015 Prototypes, Process & Play conference. Dr. Steve shares invaluable lessons about how to get your teams working together and how to harness the intelligence and skills of all of your team members as a group, not just as great individual players.
We hope you enjoy Dr. Steve’s presentation and don’t forget to get your tickets for Prototypes, Process & Play on August 11th and 12th!
Dr. Steve Julius
Team Psychologist, Chicago Bulls, Founder Human Resource Consulting Group
Dr. Steve Julius is the founder and chief executive of HRCG, a Chicago based firm specializing in executive leadership, high performance teamwork, organizational effectiveness and strategic human capital solutions. A true proponent of the power that is derived from integrating diverse talents and points-of-view, Steve has built a team of professionals who combine the approach of trusted advisor with the first-hand knowledge and insight that comes from their having been in significant leadership positions prior to joining HRCG.
Steve believes that personal and professional success comes from helping others reach their peak potential. As such, he maintains an active practice of advising senior executives and their teams from an array of major corporations, entrepreneurial companies and professional service organizations. Whether called upon during times of organizational transition or in anticipation of capitalizing on opportunities for enhanced business performance, Dr. Julius is known for his ability to combine his knowledge of human behavior, organizational dynamics and business strategy to create relevant and practical solutions. Steve’s enthusiastic, outcome oriented style has been described as “contagious” resulting not only in ready-to-use business solutions, but also a collective sense of personal satisfaction and empowerment on the part of those with whom Steve works.
All of Us Are Smarter Than Some of Us: How to Harness Your Team’s Collective Intelligence
Until relatively recently, innovation was considered the domain of a select few “gifted” thinkers who sit alone in their garage or some other mountaintop developing their insights in isolation. In fact, the very idea of a group of people coming together to create something game-changing was thought to result more often in mediocre outcomes due to the drag of “group think.”
No longer. And the good news is that everyone possesses the capacity for break through thinking and results that truly matter. Innovation is the lifeblood of all things and occurs when people add tangible value or benefit to others through the conversion and implementation of new ideas.
We have entered the age of collective wisdom; an era where it is recognized that paradigm shifting innovation requires cooperation within an ecosystem of diverse talents and creative styles. Dr. Steve Julius, a clinical psychologist and entrepreneur, will explain and demonstrate how to marshal and lead our natural desire to engage, contribute and act collaboratively in ways that allow for perceiving new possibilities and status quo changing actions.
Dr. Steve Julius:
Thank you. First of all, am I on? Can you all hear me? Okay. Good.
I’m pleased to be here and good morning to everybody. And it’s a tough act to follow with people running around like this, but I’ll do my best to keep your interest. I’m about to talk about a subject in a relatively brief period of time. Something that’s been near and dear to my heart ever since I was a kid and a member of clubs. It’s the crazy situation of trying to get a group of people together. People who even are like minded and get to a point where we actually create a single direction or an innovative approach. And you know I began to study this much more seriously back in the late ’70s, believe it or not. And I was in graduate school getting my doctorate in clinical psychology and I was part of a cohort group of five people. It was me and four other women. And we became over the course of literally six years before we went off on internship and then residency, we became so tight and we realized how each of us brought a different flavor to the table. And we learned to value that. We also learned how to problem solve and get creative in dealing with the whole range of patient problems and even community‑based problems, and turning this into opportunities and strengths. Because we were organized as a vertical team. The vertical team was organized by a person named Paul Handle, and he was my mentor and still my friend as I’m no longer intimidated to be in his company.
The idea was we had first tier grad students all the way down to seven year grad opportunities. And one of the things that Paul taught me is before you solve the problem, you have to understand the problem. And to truly understand the problem, you have to understand it from all perspectives and angles.
Have you seen the movie “Courage Under Fire”? That movie is based on that principle. If you want to truly understand how small groups can be smart compared to dumb, you need to watch that movie. What it does is it talks about an event in battle that Denzel Washington has to investigate. Meg Ryan is the main piece of that. He has to piece it together. He was getting contradictory stories, but as he put it all together without making judgments or decisions right away, he was able to come up with a true picture of what had transpired, where there were no villains, no heroes, all human beings, all trying to make due in a difficult situation. That’s what all of us try to do every day.
How many of you work in a group as opposed to on your own? A good number. How many of you have been frustrated working in a group? About the same number. All right. So I’m going to talk to you a little bit about some of the rules and engagement that are necessary to be successful in small groups. But I’m limited in terms of time. So I’m going to hit the highlights. Every now and then I’m going to reference a book for you to read. And I’m going to start with one right now. “Getting to Yes.” It’s about this thick. It’s a very easy read. It’s based on Fisher and Yuri’s approach out of Harvard about how to manage conflict. Jimmy Carter back in ’80, the first years to engage Europe and Israel into a peace process. It should be your Bible if you want to work within groups and to make your group smarter.
That’s the first one I want to reference.
That’s me in the morning. Okay? When I shave I look better. Take a shower. Neanderthal man. People tend to believe that two heads are better than one. Right? And then if two heads are better than one, it stands to reason that three heads and four heads should be better than two. But so often that doesn’t happen. And that’s because people think that they all have the right answer. Now the reason why I talk about, you know, the myth of the genius is not because a genius can’t be helpful in a group, but she or he can also be harmful. If you believe that they’re the go‑to person. Case in point, I don’t think it was mentioned, but I used to do a lot of work with the Chicago Bulls. And I was lucky to be with Bulls, not only just before they went on their championship run, but even afterwards in the down time and coming back again. I’ve subsequently semiretired from that, because I couldn’t keep up the pace of travel, and I had so many other interesting things and places I wanted to go.
Michael Jordon, Michael Jordan we could consider a genius in what he does. Right? He has a brain and spatial capabilities that are second to none. And arguably is the hardest and toughest competitor ever to play the game except maybe when you compare him to Larry Bird, but that’s pretty good company.
Michael always tried to control it. So Jackson takes over the Bulls and he puts together a team of experts. And one of Phil’s great strengths of being a leader was being like an orchestra leader and tapped into the collective knowledge of people. And there was a coach who taught triangle offense.
And the key was giving up the ball and then moving it to another position and continuing to move. And you know, Jerry Krause, the general manager built a team of people around Michael Jordan. But we had a hard time getting Michael Jordan to give up the ball because it was so good. Not only would he dominate in the game and oftentimes win a game, but the other players would step back and defer. We had a heck of time trying to get him to do that.
But finally in 1991 we had enough guys around him and we had enough time for everyone to get comfortable with the triangle offense to get it. For those of you who are basketball fans, and you don’t need to be, but I think this is a worthwhile story. He began to use his teammates. Michael became a genius in a third way. By making everyone around him better. We went up against the Los Angeles Lakers with Magic Johnson. We get into the game and we lose the first game in the series. And then we’re up three games. And we’re home in Chicago. And it’s exciting and loud and we’re down to the last three and a half minutes and we’re up by 5 points. And Michael forgets everything that he learned. He grabs the ball and starts to bring it down and he goes one against five Lakers. And they don’t call foul, especially back then. Now they’re down by 3. Now there’s two and a half, three minutes left and Jackson calls a timeout, which he hates to do. He says Michael you’re forgetting you have teammates. You need to play the offense, movement. Michael says yeah, yeah, yeah. Goes back out there. Loses the ball. He’s complaining to the refs. Lakers come down and score again. Phil did something all coaches hates to do, calls a time out. He says to Michael, I don’t know if I can swear here since it’s for posterity, but he says a few choice words and says look who is around you. They better hit the blankety blank shot. And he says I’m open. Phil says you see? Michael says well, okay, I’m going to get you the ball. But if you don’t hit that shot I’m going to kill you. Right? I’m not exaggerating. When Michael says he’s going to kill you, he means it. So John Paxson, Michael brings the ball up, Paxson takes the shot. Boom. The Bulls win their first championship.
The moral of the story for today is a genius is cool to have around and can make you better if you learn how make that genius work within the system. But he or she is necessary, but not sufficient to bring out the power that comes from the collective. Large groups. Works fine. There’s much more wisdom when you look at big numbers and big data. And you can tend to be successful a lot of times with an individual or a pair. But when you start to get bigger than two or three, it all of a sudden starts to bring in all kinds of personal and social pressures and that’s what I’m here to talk about. Is to share with you some of that.
So the reason I got a Neanderthal up there is not to compare the Neanderthal to Michael Jordan, but the Neanderthal according to anthropologists and evolutionary biologists was as big if not bigger. Had a brain larger than the brains we have right now. And for tens of thousands of years used tools. And their buried their dead and had rituals around it and they had art and all of that. And yet the Neanderthals, what happened to them? Do you know any neanderthals in the neighborhood? Literally, no. What happened was they died off. There were all kinds of theories. Why? Here’s the latest theory, and it’s becoming pretty much the compelling theory. It wasn’t that they were dumber. Or it wasn’t because they were in a worse climate or environment. It’s that they didn’t trade. They didn’t share ideas. All of their tools are the same tools they had for thousands of years. And they stayed in small groups and didn’t travel. So the key to real collective wisdom, the key to being creative is finding way to cause social intercourse, to have an exchange of ideas. And that was perhaps the single biggest killer for the Neanderthal.
So that happened a while ago, and we still make that mistake. Okay? Watch a debate. Whatever your political persuasion, these debates are all about one person being right and everybody else wrong. If you remember, you know, the Buffalo Springfield song. Rarely is that the case. Rarely do you get the right answer when only one person is working. That’s Steve Julius’ premise. You have to decide whether you buy that. I’m just saying.
Here are some examples. And yes, I know I don’t have women up there. And that’s because women haven’t until recently become noticed.
But I want to for example make mention of a woman named Ada Lovelace. Has anybody heard of her?
Dr. Steve Julius:
What do we know about her? First programmer. Did they make a movie about her or about Alan Turing. Okay? That’s a whole other issue. I apologize up front, but let’s not forget that Alan Turing, everybody has built on the ideas of everyone else.
Famous playwright Oscar Wilde. Not a friend of mine. I’m old, but not that old. He put on a play and all his friends and one of his versions of Russ Unger, who would always challenge him mentioned the fact that he always seemed to be borrowing from other’s work. He slams his fist on the ground. He said I’m insulted. Amateurs borrow. Professionals steal. What’s the theme there? We all do. We all thrive off of one another.
Steve Jobs. Brilliant genius. My son had the opportunity to spend some time working with him over there. He is a creative genius. But you know what? Do you remember what preceded the, you know the iMusic? Master. Albert Einstein arguably the greatest thinker of our time. Maybe, maybe not. But certainly he could out think me. He was a guy who would do nothing, and in fact his theories would not have been recognized if he didn’t realize that he was a horrible mathematician. So he had to work with people like Neals Brewer and a guy named Strauss who were great mathematicians and they were the ones who kept pointing out the flaws. And ultimately he created these theories of relativity and came to the United States because of World War II. And he represents in my mind an example of the genius becoming more insular in the downside. So he wanted to create this universal theory, and at that point in time he was thinking of the grand cosmos. And most physicists were thinking about quantum mechanics, the world of the atom and the universe. That offended him, and he spent most of his later time trying to prove the quantum physicist wrong instead of building off that kind of theory. You know. He created nothing after that.
Vivian Thomas. He helped create the artificial heart. Nobody ever hears about Vivian Thomas because he wasn’t a physician. He worked closely with a number of physicians led by a guy name Arthur Laylock. There’s a give and take. Laylock was the genius pioneer, but he would tell you he would have gotten nowhere without Vivian Thomas.
George Lucas built his idea off of westerns and samurai. He stole from everything and he was never afraid to admit that. But he was also a horrible storyteller. He couldn’t write. His dialog. His ideas, once he got past the original ideas, they didn’t work out. He would bring in people like Francis, and the person who didn’t get full credit was his wife Marsha. She’s the one who helped flesh out Star Wars, and we all know what Star Wars is today.
My point is there’s a genius out there who might provide the spark, but that person can’t create that spark and create the fire on their own to the degree that you know we would all hope. So all of you out there in one way or another can play a role in helping to assist with that.
Favorite quote. Benjamin Franklin. He was the wise older statesman during the framing of the Declaration of Independence. Most of the people were rich landowners in their late 20s, early 30s, believe it or not. And he was approaching 60. And after a lot of dialog, they got to the point where they became the service of declaration.
This was his quote. He said sir we must all hang together or surely we will hang separately. So in the work that we do on a day‑to‑day basis hanging separately usually means mediocrity. I don’t think everybody is here today because they’re interested in learning how to be mediocre. Is that right? Is that correct? Okay.
So my theme is combinational chemistry. It’s important not to have just the right talent, but to aggregate it in the right way. Okay? Second City. I’ll tell you a quick little story there. So they became, you know, the Tigris Euphrates, many of the stars from Saturday Night Live. What was a community that started to worry about how can we get to Hollywood and New York and become famous. Now people would come with ideas and people would shoot them down. That’s not a good idea. Let me throw out my idea. And Dale Close began to realize we were losing what made Second City special. Anything Goes Thursday. Anybody could bring in an idea. The group had to take that idea and build on it. Okay? When I learned that, I actually had two partners in a business that I came to with all my ideas. And every time I would come to them with my idea of the day, I would get this. “oh.” Rolling their eyes. Well, that can’t be done. It can’t work. Okay? When I read about what he did, I had a light bulb come on. So the next time I had one of my ideas, I brought that to my two partners and I said you know I have an idea. But you know what? You guys, you guys are really good at vetting these ideas. So would you take it? Yeah, let me do it. So now we went from opposing one another to working and bringing our strength together. And just like in Second City, Steve Julius and his partners began to take ideas and sometimes build on them. And you know what people find and the research tends to back this up, bad ideas are often what lead to great outcomes. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to move from a bad idea to a good idea, but it’s a catalyst that gets everybody thinking. It’s a way of moving in ask out of options. So the whole idea of working collectively, as long as you have rules of engagement, which is another thing I want to emphasize.
And I just want to call attention to Abraham Lincoln, one of the earliest proponents of bringing diverse people together. If you haven’t read Team of Rivals, it’s a great historical novel by Doris Goodwin. It’s how you bring people from diverse perspectives to come together and save the union. People who hated Abraham Lincoln wound up loving him because of the tenacity and the fairness that he brought to the table.
So I’m also a big fan of not just studying textbooks, but also looking at history through examples that we can emulate, much like Oscar Wilde.
So in order to understand how we can co‑create or create collective wisdom, there are just a few facts you need to know. Okay? First of all, Daniel Cottoman, a behavioral economist. He’s a psychologist and an economist, here in Chicago.
He wrote a book a couple years ago called “Think fast, Think slow.” He took basic psychology and brought it to thinking about how people work in a mass way as well as in an individual way. He identified things that I learned 30, 40 years ago, but now it’s becoming mainstream and it’s important to know.
We all have at the base of our brain a mass of tissue about the size of my first. It’s called the limbic system. You remember the term fight or flight? That’s where it kicks in. It’s 100%. We share that that piece of the brain, morphology all the way down to the reptiles. And it’s for instinct. It’s the seat of our emotions. You hear a loud sound, you startle. You can’t help but startle. Some more than others. I have the radio on and I hear a police siren, and then I startle, and then I realize it’s an advertisement for lawyers that will get you out of DUI and other problems. But it’s all or nothing. But we need that had. Because if we’re walking in the woods and some big creature jumps out, we don’t have time. We have to run.
The limbic system, you don’t reflect that. It just happens. And it’s contagious. Has anybody ever seen that Stephen King novel that was turned into a movie called The Mist? If you have seen that, it’s scary because it talks about how quickly civilization can break down. There are supposed to be these monsters from another dimension, but the monsters are us. And it shows you how fear and anger and strong limbic system emotions starts to have an effect on the group, and creates group think. Any questions about that? Is that clear? Just be aware of it.
Now because we’ve evolved, although not unlike the Neanderthals, we evolved differently, we also have gray matter. And gray matter causes us to reflect and think and step back. That’s assessment; that’s analysis. It’s also very frustrating. It flies into the face of how we like to get things done. Right? I have a child. I won’t mention the child, because they’ll kill me if I do. But that child is now an adult. But they always wanted to solve the math problem, solve the history problem. Just let me get the answer, I want to get it over with, which is fine and understandable. That system is one thinking. I don’t have time! I’ve got other homework! I don’t have time. I have six other meetings today. But if you take a little time and learn and understand how you came up with that answer, then you learn it and you can be ready for the final. It’s there. It’s stuck. It becomes a part of your repertoire. This is what gets missing especially in groups because of pressure. Social pressure, as well as time pressure.
But if this was a workshop, there are a number of exercises I would run you through that would be very enlightening about the differences between system one and system two, but I guess you’ll have to take my word for us for the moment.
This poor guy he keeps thinking. He’s been thinking for centuries, I don’t know if you’ve noticed that.
Here are the base of barriers — I know I’m getting close to my time — I want to talk to you about some basic things that you can do to make things better. You can go and read a book. Lots of reading. The collective wisdom movement. I would strongly recommend you do that. And the importance of the concept of dialog. And don’t let me forget to mention dialog in just a moment. But on the left side some of the personal and individual barriers to becoming a co-creator, you know, has to do with the group wanting to be overconfident. We know the answer to this. And usually they think they know the answer to it because they stick with the status quo, they stick with what they know.
And one of the biggest impediments to a group coming up with better solutions and more creative ways of getting things done is an overconfidence sense of we know everything that we need to know. I can tell you right now no one understands everything you need to know. If you go back to the movie Courage Under Fire, it’s important to understand what we don’t know, and you might want to identify people who will spend time researching that to bring to the meeting so that you can begin to do it. Einstein famously said after the first atomic bombs were created by the Russians in response to us. All this movies. What would you do as the greatest thinker of our time to solve the problem if the earth was to be destroyed and you only had an hour? Does anybody know what his answer was? Well, I would take 55 minutes to understand what was going on and 5 minutes to solve the problem.
If you watch Star Trek and you watch the different between Captain Kirk and Captain Picard, sorry if I’m too nerdy about this. Captain Kirk, if he didn’t have Spock to pull him back, he would probably be dead. He thought he was winning. And in later movies he realized that he was trying to cheat death and you can’t cheat death.
Picard could be surrounded by firing and they’re about to check him. Do you know what he does? He gets up and does this. He goes “options?” And he goes around. He might only have five minutes or five seconds. But he takes that 80% of the time to make sure he’s covered everything he can before a decision is made. Am I right? That’s the difference between system one and system two thinking. And overconfidence.
The other one I just want to call attention to for now is confirmation bias. It’s also known as the Rosenthal Effect. There’s a natural tendency on the part of our brains for closure. So what we do is we immediately search the environment for opportunities to prove our system one thinking. Okay?
So certain politicians, you know, identify a particular country or race of people and automatically look for one or two examples. Illegal aliens. And illegal aliens are wrong. You can see how that is a false synergism. This is what people do naturally.
If you want to run for office, all you to do is understand your base and find ways to prove it. We can always find way to prove it. We can all find ways to prove it. And that’s what we have to guard against to not be so quick to try to prove our initial hypothesis. So any of you who have ever learned the scientific method, that’s an approach that can be applied in creative problem solving. You seek to disconfirm your initial hypothesis.
Another way of saying is you take system one thinking, which is your initial hypothesis, and you can always prove that hypothesis, but you try to disprove it. And if you cannot disprove it, now you’ve got stronger evidence that your initial hypothesis might be right. This is how all research is done now. Is that familiar to people?
Now on the organizational side, you’ve also got things like group think and power struggle and risky shift. I want to bring that up quickly. There’s all kinds of reputational status. The leaders come in and say I want a solution that gets us this answer. I want to prove that there are Weapons of Mass Destruction. Okay? We’ll prove it. If you’ve got that kind of power. Now the risky shift is if you walk into a room and it’s a group that’s unbridled and you’ve got people who are on either extreme and you’re the kind of person who wants to be in the middle to try to bring balance, then what happens is if here’s the far extreme on one end and the far extreme on the other and you’re trying to come into the middle. Well the risky shift says that if this person goes even further here, then when you come into the middle you automatically shifted toward that position. Are you really taking the middle of the room? Are you really trying to find balance? These are things to pay attention to.
When you start to worry about personalities and the social pressures that take place in a group, in a small group, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Ph.D. or the world’s greatest programmer, if you have a tendency to pull this position to a particular angle, you tend to be pulled by the group.
Suffice to say, this plays out 100% of the time. So what can we do? Make sure you have time. Like I said with Picard or whomever, Einstein, make sure you have enough time to achieve what you want to achieve. Don’t rush, because time urgency automatically stimulates system one thinking of the limbic system. Okay? Maximize team diversity. This is important. I’m going to give you another slide on this real quickly. But team diversity. You know at IBM and at GE they would bring, when they’re trying to address big issues or big opportunities, they look at people who are not part of the solution, but they bring in people from outside. They benchmark. They might bring in engineers or people from the automotive industry to see how they solved the problem to apply it at IBM or at GE. You look for young people, as well as old people. You look for people who are experienced in the area, and people who are less experienced. You look for people who are convergent thinkers, they can bring things together, and divergent thinkers. You look for imaginative people and analytic people. And you try to get a good mix. That’s critical.
And you create a way to have a conversation. Now I’m going to mention dialog. In human discourse, there’s three kinds of interaction: There’s debate. We all know what debate is. I’m right, no I’m right. There’s discussion, where we’re going back and forth where we have a point of view. Each of those cases it’s back and forth. OR …there’s dialog. Let’s not make a “you and me.” But “we” trying to understand something. This is where it gets you up to the balcony. Dialog specifically excludes having a decision made. It just means having a conversation and making sure you collect everybody’s point of view. So you don’t only know just what you happen to know, but all those things that you might not know.
And remarkable things can happen when you try, when you don’t push for closure. You avoid the confirmation bias and everything. So dialog is a concept I would look up. And I would look at the World Cafe Movement for Collective Wisdom. Everything and anything you need to know about dialog is there.
So when you’re having an agenda in a meeting, you identify what you want to accomplish on that particular topic. And you decide whether it’s going to be a dialog, or whether it’s going to be a debate, or whether it’s going to be a discussion. This is how you generate that kind of positive outcome. And in the middle, as the leader, and if you’re not the leader, as a member of the team, always make sure you know and it’s explicitly stated by everybody what do we want to accomplish through this dialog? Or this debate? At the end of it, what do we want? You know how often that simple little fact is forgotten? A lot! Okay.
How am I for time? Ten minutes. I’ll be quick so we can open it up to Q&A.
I just wanted to reference this. This is an example of multiple forms of thinking. The right side is the imagination, the creativity side. And the left side is the analytic side. And for any process when a decision is being made, you need an idea generator. You need somebody who takes that idea and fleshes it out. You need to have somebody who can take whatever idea that’s fleshed out that you think you want to test and you need people who can help optimize how you can roll it out. And then you need people who can implement and execute. And people can play different roles. You don’t have to lock people in. But this is one example of a very useful way to organize a team of people who are trying to resolve an issue or come up with a new solution.
So there’s a ten‑minute test you can take online to find out what your orientation is. You can use it with your whole group as a way to understand how we all tend to think and operate. So I was an idea generator and to some degree an a conceptualizer in the example I gave.
And my partners were optimizer and particularly implementers. So you can see when I came to them with an idea that is only half baked, and they’re looking at it as an implementer, they’re looking at it as a half baked idea, what is this guy nuts? We have six other things to do. But when I come to them and say I have an idea, can we flesh it out? Then I’m asking them to be analyzers. Then we created things. See how easy it is when you take that moment to think about this?
Once again I know this is simple. And simple when you put it into practice. But I learned a long time ago, if you keep it simple, you can make some progress and gain momentum. So the first thing you want to do is you want to make sure that you know what you’re trying to accomplish. What’s the overall mission? Everybody needs to know. The next thing you need to do is leave your ego and biases at the door. This is dialog. I’m coming in as much to listen and understand as I am to be understood. You want to silence the leader. The leader should not lead the discussion. Leaders are usually the single genius, they tend to dominate. And in group meetings when you study them, you find that the person who speaks first tends to control the direction of the meeting. So you need to be sure that you don’t allow the person who introduces it because they happen to be the loudest or the most risk taking of the bunch or they happen to have status controls and dominates that meeting. You always want to make sure you have the flip side. You want to make sure you gather all that information. You can assign roles like I talked about. That’s one example. He wore about six hats. That’s another example of how you do it. But you also want to bring in fresh blood. I walked into lots of rooms and offices without any expertise in that particular content area, but I can come and ask questions from a naive point of view that can help people out. I can bring ideas from other companies and other industries and other teams that can be effective. You always want to bring in somebody to play that role.
I already told you about dialog and focusing not on what everybody knows in the sense of the obvious, but making sure you understand what everybody knows by making sure everybody, even the quiet ones share their point of view before you start pulling head first into making a decision. Build upon ideas. You’ll be a lot smarter and a better supporter if you’re like Michael Jordan and give the ball up and move to another position. If you take the role of making and enhancing other people. Don’t worry about who said the last thing or whose idea finally got implemented. Because if you do it right in a small group it’s everybody’s idea. Not just that person’s. And then you act. You test it. You learn and then you repeat. Because social intercourse like I talked about is the reason why humans population this planet and not the Neanderthal. It’s why insects propagate because they interact as a group. It’s the exchange of ideas. Combining and recombining those ideas.
Einstein said we create a solution. In order to make that solution or problem go away, it requires even greater thinking from the collective. So what’s this meeting all about? This meeting is all about yesterday and today moving forward is to get everybody together to exchange ideas. What I’m talking about is what all of you are here to do. And it’s great. And try to take some of what I taught you today even though it’s very high level and see if we can begin to acquire. And identify one thing that you might bring back to work. But to use a sports analogy to close, the best coaches whatever the sport, whether it’s an individual sport or a team sport, whether it’s playing the violin or the piano and performing, it’s all about make practice your game. So in other words, this is practice. You’re all trying ideas. But bring these ideas, bring the same kind of energy and mostly bring the same kind of attitude and approach the thinking back to the office. You may not get traction right away, but remember what I talked to you about. If you can recognize that there are way to approach people to begin to affect them positively, you’re going to be a hell of a lot more successful, and you’re not going to be mediocre.
So thank you.
Are there a few more minutes for questions?
Hi. What do you think are some of the biggest mistakes that people make when they try to implement this?
Dr. Steve Julius:
When they try to implement it, they try to do too much too soon. It always helps to get a couple of cohorts on board to begin with. Ironically when someone gets a handle on this, they become a zealot for it and they try to force people away to change. You need to inform people that we’re going to experiment. And if you give people an idea of the difference between dialog and discussion and debate, I find that can be very helpful. Very helpful. Anybody else?
Hi there. I have a question. Do you have any tips on how you can silence the leader if you have a very vocal leader in your group?
Dr. Steve Julius:
Yeah, you can do a number of things. You can have the secretary call him or her out of the room just when the meeting is about to begin. Actually I’ve done that. Something similar where we get the meeting started even before the leader comes in. It depends on the leader. Obviously there are some leaders who just are not open. But if you talk to a leader and say you know it would be helpful if we could spend a little time just discussing without pushing for a solution. And I find Mr. And Ms. Leader that if you or I do too much of the talking, some of our junior members don’t speak up. So if you can compare ahead of time, that can be helpful. Granted, that leader may only have the patience to go 5 minutes instead of 30 seconds, but 5 minutes is a start. Never commit suicide. It’s not worth it. Career suicide.
So I think the open source code I guess can be a good example of collective thinking. But sometimes there’s a lack of ownership and responsibility, which leads to bugs. How do you avoid pitfalls like that and make it better?
Dr. Steve Julius:
Open source is more on the massive side. There’s all kinds of errors as well as positive hits. It’s through that natural recombination that things play out. But that’s one of the drawbacks. With a smaller group — where you have to have some rules. Where people walk out of a room aligned.
Everybody knows what their role and what their responsibility is. They’re held accountable. And if you make it a group process and people are rewarded and recognized as a group, that’s one of the best ways. Make sense? But you really do have to have a meeting. As I mentioned to somebody else, when I was studying in school biology and I followed this through. I don’t know the math. Don’t take it as name dropping. But if you want to organize, you need about 51% chaos and 49% organization. That seems to be the perfect mix for things to sustain. You need at least guidelines.