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Do Nothing during the Holidays

The data on stress at work are stunning.* Well over half of the people who work report feeling significant stress from work, and 41% of them report that feeling tension and being stressed out at work are typical. Over half also think that stress makes them less productive than they might otherwise be, and over … Continue reading

Understanding Human Behavior: Are We Greedy or Are We Charitable?

People do research to understand the world around them. Physicists find out wonderful things about how the physical world works; chemists discover the dazzling effects of various chemical combinations; and social scientists focus on that elusive character, the human being, to discover whether our amazing quirks are not only interesting but also predictable. One of … Continue reading

Al Roth wins Nobel Prize in Economics

Today the Nobel committee awarded their prize in economics to my old friend and colleague, Al Roth. It’s a wonderful day. Al is not only a brilliant scholar and a truly worthy winner of this incredible award, he’s also a wonderful person – a loving husband, a dedicated Dad, an amazing adviser, and a great … Continue reading

A Do Nothing! Lesson from Baseball

Don’t think of a purple chicken. Odds are, you can’t help yourself: you are thinking of a purple chicken. Once an idea jumps into your head, it can be very difficult to get rid of it. That’s why it’s critically important for leaders to have a sounding board – someone who will willingly listen to … Continue reading

Fooling Ourselves to Make it Easier to Cheat

Leadership always involves ethical challenges: should I do the right thing or should I see what I can get away with to better my own outcomes? These are age-old dilemmas that appeared when we were kids – and they always hound us, regardless of our age or maturity. In fact, some of our own research … Continue reading

Exceeding Expectations by Doing Nothing!

I have always thought that basketball provides an excellent context for observing leadership in action. Coaches have to act as leaders even though they can’t play and team members must often step up and lead while they play. It’s also a context that changes quickly, so the demand for leadership is almost constant. In an … Continue reading

Do Nothing before You Make a Moral Decision

“Do Nothing” leadership doesn’t mean that you can play golf every day. Instead, it means doing less than you did in your last job so you can focus your time and effort on facilitating and orchestrating. Thus, “Do Nothing” leaders don’t really do nothing in a literal sense. Instead, they think of great strategies and … Continue reading

Values vs. Profits: Northwestern’s decision to retain basketball coach reveals a critical leadership dilemma

The news media recently reported a decision that was not earth-shattering: a long-term basketball coach who would be under contract for at least another year (or more) was not fired after a season in which his team was under consideration for the Big Dance (the NCAA tournament) but, instead, participated and lost in the first … Continue reading

The hidden value of a growth-mindset

Welcome to the first post of my new leadership blog. I hope to add entries as often as every two weeks. Each entry will focus primarily on research findings that relate to leadership in a wide array of areas. Entry #1: The hidden value of a growth-mindset: I have long been enthralled by Carol Dweck’s … Continue reading

Do Nothing by J. Keith Murnighan

“Do Nothing! will stand out as among the most imaginative, fun, and useful leadership books ever published. Murnighan uses rigorous research to provide detailed advice that will help leaders do their jobs better, develop more adept and committed followers, and to suffer from less stress and overwork. Even though most business books present new wine in old bottles, Do Nothing! is the rare book that provides a refreshing perspective and tangible advice that isn’t available anyplace else.”

Robert I. Sutton, Author of THE NO ASSHOLE RULE: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't

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