Posted on December 6, 2010
The Personality Poker book is now available. Be sure to buy your copy today. Each book comes with a deck of the specially designed poker cards. And no, you do not need to know anything about poker to play! The only way you can lose is if you don’t have a personality.
This is the fifth in a series of videos about Personality Poker. Today I discuss something known as the Pygmalion effect: how others perceive you impacts your behaviors.
Posted on October 30, 2010
On Thursday, the Personality Poker book started rolling into stores everywhere.
People have been telling me about sightings in airport books stores and Barnes & Noble stores.
Yesterday, I walked into my first bookstore – the MIT COOP – and there it was, face out. Check out the picture.
Today I will be traveling around Boston looking for the book in stores.
If YOU see the book in a store, please take a picture of it – ideally with you – and send it to us at email@example.com.
We would love to see your smiling face holding a copy of the book.
We will be running a competition in the near future to encourage people to go exploring for the book.
If you haven’t done so, please check out our new Personality Poker book website.
Ok, off to check out some stores!
Posted on October 18, 2010
This is the third in a series of videos about Personality Poker. Today I discuss why the Golden Rule is bad advice.
You can pre-order the book now. Each book comes with a deck of the specially designed poker cards.
Posted on October 14, 2010
I remember a project I worked on many years ago. I was leading a large team and had a very large budget. I chose John to co-lead with me because we got along so well. I am a creative, spontaneous, and enthusiastic person and John was pretty much the same. The team loved working with us. We were fun, engaging, and motivating.
And the project was a huge waste of money.
The problem was that John and I got caught up in the novelty of our work. We were too focused on developing new ideas and making sure people were happy. But we never got any work done. We were a total failure.
In hindsight, this failure probably could have been predicted. Our styles were too similar.
In fact, if you look at any group of people who effortlessly work well together, odds are the individuals share a lot in common with each other. They might have similar backgrounds, expertise, interests, or personalities. This is natural.
The reason? Contrary to conventional wisdom, opposites do not attract.
When it comes to interpersonal relationships, we are attracted to people who are like us. Psychologists have extensively documented the power of similarity when it comes to liking other people. In general, we tend to like those individuals the most who seem the most similar to us.
Therefore we surround ourselves with people who share similar thought processes, similar energy levels, and similar personalities.
But as I learned on that project many years ago, partnering with people who are too much like you can lead to disastrous results.
Contrast that experience with the project that immediately followed. Learning from that failure, I brought in a great planner, Ray, as my wingman on the team. I made sure I treated him as my equal. He was in my face on nearly a daily basis, forcing me to stay on plan and budget. I wanted to avoid the rigors of his planning as I felt that they were limiting and restrictive. But he was unrelenting.
In the end, although we may have annoyed each other, it was one of the most successful projects I’ve ever worked on. In fact, it was one of the most successful initiatives of the firm, one people still talk about nearly fifteen years later.
From this project, I learned something incredibly important:
“The person you like the least may be the person you need the most.”
Although Ray annoyed me on nearly a daily basis, it was because of his persistence that we were so successful. Left to my own devices, I would be chasing “bright shiny objects.” He forced me and the team to stay focused on the plans, deliverables, and timeframes. The combination of my creativity blended with his rigor was the key to success.
Although it is human nature to want to be around people who are like you, in order to be successful you need to partner with people are different. You need to surround yourself with people that complement your abilities and illuminate your blind-spots.
When you have a difficult problem to solve, instead of going to some someone who thinks like you, find someone who is your opposite. Yes, it is quite possible that that individual will annoy you and not give you the answer you secretly want. But that might be the very reason they have something powerful to contribute to you.
If you want to learn who can best contribute to YOUR success, check out our Personality Poker book and game.
Posted on October 13, 2010
This is the second in a series of videos about Personality Poker. Today I discuss the myth that opposites attract.
You can pre-order the book now. Each book comes with a deck of the specially designed poker cards.
Posted on October 11, 2010
We will be releasing a series of videos about Personality Poker over the coming weeks. Each will talk about a specific concept or insight from the book. You can pre-order the book now. Each book comes with a deck of the specially designed poker cards which will be demonstrated in the next video. Enjoy!
Posted on October 6, 2010
Today, the good folks at ChangeThis.com published my Personality Poker manifesto. It is a quick read that will provide you some of my thoughts on why organizations struggle to become innovative…and what can be done about it.
Read it/download it here
Here’s the excerpt that Change This included on their website…
Issue 75 – 01 | Personality Poker: How to Create High-Performing Innovation Teams
By Stephen M. Shapiro Published Oct. 6, 2010 12:00 a.m.
“The desire for equality permeates everything we do and always has, as can be seen in many of our age-old philosophies. For example, we see it in the Golden Rule, which is often interpreted as ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.’ However, who really cares what you want? After all, treating people as you want to be treated doesn’t address the needs and desires of others.
Buying into these doctrines, myths, and lies leads to pasteurizing, homogenizing, and sanitizing everyone in order to fit people into one mold and think the same way so they can then gather together in like-minded harmony. There’s a good reason why they call it a company culture, since organizations are, in actuality, mini-cults. Instead, we should consider living by the doctrine:
The person you like the least may be the person you need the most.”
Posted on September 14, 2010
The Personality Poker book is available in 6 weeks and 2 days.
But starting today, you can buy the new and improved Personality Poker cards from the “Change This” site. These are the guys who bring you the Change This manifestos.
For the past few years, we have been selling the cards for $200 for 6 decks with instructions. But after printing 50,000 decks of cards, our production costs have dropped significantly. Therefore we are pleased to offer the cards for:
Aside from the reduced price (over 50% less), the cards have 2 major improvements.
- The cards have new words: We partnered with a psychology professor from Columbia College who did some scientific analysis.
- The cards have a new design: When you hold them in your hand you can read the words along the side. This makes playing the game even easier.
If you want to energize a meeting, supercharge your innovation team, or just have some fun, you’ll want to get your decks of Personality Poker now.
P.S. The 800 CEO READ guys, the owners of Change This, wrote a blog entry on Personality Poker
Posted on September 3, 2010
Look at any group of people who effortlessly work well together. Odds are the individuals share a lot in common with each other. They might have similar backgrounds, expertise, interests, or personalities. This is natural. Contrary to conventional wisdom, opposites do not attract. We find it easier to work with people who are like us. As a result, teams that lack diversity are the norm.
In fact, there is plenty of scientific research suggesting that homogeneous teams do indeed perform better than more heterogeneous ones for “low difficulty” tasks – those with lower levels of ambiguity, uncertainty and complexity.
However, research also shows that in situations involving “high difficulty” tasks, heterogeneous groups consistently perform the best. Innovation is, by its very nature, fraught with uncertainty and complexity. It is obviously a high-difficulty task. Although homogeneous teams are more efficient, it is the uniformity of thinking on these types of teams that limits breakthrough ideas and reduces innovation. Ensuring a range of innovation styles should be the goal in constructing such groups in order to maximize team performance.
Unfortunately, diverse teams, left to their own devices, are rarely efficient. Differences of opinion, creative tension, and infighting will naturally emerge. Individuals who think differently do not naturally communicate well with each other. Therefore, it is important that innovation teams be given the tools to “play well together.”
Putting this together, we end up with three simple principles. And these are the three key principles of Personality Poker:
- People in your organization must “play to their strong suit.” That is, make sure that everyone understands how they contribute to and detract from the innovation process. This includes ensuring that you have the right people with the right leadership styles in your organization.
- As an organization, you need to “play with a full deck.” Embrace a wide range of innovation styles. Instead of hiring on competency and chemistry, also hire for a diversity of innovation styles. Every step of the innovation process must be addressed with people with the right innovation styles.
- “Deal out the work.” That is, you must divide and conquer. You can’t have everyone in your organization do everything. Instead, get them to divvy up the work based on which style is most effective at a given task. You can’t have everyone generating ideas, or focusing on planning.
Innovation is the life-blood of your organization. It is crucial for long-term growth. Without it, your business will almost certainly become irrelevant and commoditized. Unfortunately, although it is important, it is not always easy. However, applying these three simple principles can help you create high-performing innovation teams that consistently “beat the house.”
Posted on August 20, 2010
No, I did not give birth to a boy or a girl. I gave birth to a book. I’ll be handing out cigars later.
But in the meantime, I wanted to share the photos of my new baby. Here is the first copy of the Personality Poker book, hot off the press. Previous photos were “glamor shots.” These are the real deal. You have to see it to appreciate how cool it is.