In 2013, Google conducted a study called Project Oxygen to determine its top employees’ most important qualities. The idea was to test its hiring algorithms, which were set at the time to sort for elite computer science students from top universities. The study concluded that STEM expertise – widely revered at Google – was the least important quality of the eight discovered. Founding director of the Futures Initiative Cathy N. Davidson elaborates in The Washington Post:
“The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.
Those traits sound more like what one gains as an English or theater major than as a programmer. Could it be that top Google employees were succeeding despite their technical training, not because of it?”
Happy Friday! We’ve compiled our favorite articles and essays from the last month and beyond for you to browse and enjoy over the weekend.
“It takes more than a discounted health club membership to move the needle on employee well-being,” begins McKinsey Quarterly’s recent reflection on wellness in the workplace. Compiling emerging trends and thoughts on well-being from researchers, corporate leaders and McKinsey experts, McKinsey’s insights suggest a rising “willingness of leaders to invest in their people” and to see wellness in a broader light than just physical health. Director of the NeuroLeadership Institute David Rock shares that “connecting people socially gets a much bigger bang for the company buck than trying to help people eat better.” But is there science to back that up?
Happy Friday! We’ve compiled our favorite articles and essays from the last month and beyond for you to browse and enjoy this weekend.
This summer, NPR shared a print segment about the work lives of oil rig workers from their podcast Invisibilia. In 1997, Shell began construction on “the world’s deepest offshore well,” a 48-story deepwater platform called Ursa. The unprecedented project challenged all notions of how the rig’s workers would plan and build safely. “Even though the men faced the risk of death every day,” one oil worker said, “they never showed any vulnerability. This made the work even more perilous, because the men didn’t ask for help, didn’t admit if they weren’t up to a certain job.”
Can being more vulnerable lead to a safer work environment?
Happy Friday! As usual, we’ve compiled our favorite articles and essays from the last month for you to browse and enjoy this weekend.
Harvard Business Review launched a fantastic series at the end of September focused on the epidemic of loneliness in the workplace. Former United States Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy writes in the cover story:
“Even working at an office doesn’t guarantee meaningful connections: People sit in an office full of coworkers, even in open-plan workspaces, but everyone is staring at a computer or attending task-oriented meetings where opportunities to connect on a human level are scarce. Happy hours, coffee breaks, and team-building exercises are designed to build connections between colleagues, but do they really help people develop deep relationships?”
It’s Friday! As usual, we’ve compiled our favorite articles and essays from the last month for you to enjoy over the weekend.
Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmonson and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative learning engineer Bror Saxberg make an emphatic case in the McKinsey Quarterly for prioritizing lifelong learning in the business world. With the rise of AI and robotics, they write, the complex cognitive and emotional skills that make us human are more crucial than ever.
Abigail Williams’ new book “The Social Life of Books: Reading Together in the Eighteenth-Century Home” explores the “history of sociable reading,” shedding light on a time when volumes of verse and prose were read aloud “in many homes as a familiar assortment of readable extracts to while away an afternoon or evening in company.” What’s the difference between reading alone and reading with others?
In the Harvard Business Review, novelist and advisor to technology entrepreneurs and investors Eliot Peper argues that business leaders should be reading science fiction – and shows us why “companies like Google, Microsoft and Apple have brought in science fiction writers as consultants.” What makes a genre that we so often associate with futuristic worlds or spaceships so useful to someone in the C-suite?
Happy Friday! We’ve scoured the web for thought-provoking articles and essays for you to enjoy during our first full weekend of summer.
The Beatles convinced us that “we get by with a little help from our friends” – but is there actual science to back that up? Over at the New York Times, Jane E. Brody reports on recent studies out of Harvard, Duke, Stanford and more that stress how critical social interaction is for our mental and physical health.
Happy Friday! We’ve scoured the web for thought-provoking articles and essays for you to enjoy over the weekend.
In The Atlantic, Bouree Lam interviews Susan David, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of the book Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life which looks at “how companies and employees can acknowledge uncomfortable experiences and react appropriately.” How can negative emotions like grief, fear or resentment actually benefit our workplaces?