Work relationships can be hard. The stress of dealing with difficult people dampens our creativity and productivity, degrades our ability to think clearly and make sound decisions, and causes us to disengage. We might lie awake at night worrying, withdraw from work, or react in ways we later regret—rolling our eyes in a meeting, snapping at colleagues, or staying silent when we should speak up. Too often we grin and bear it as if we have no choice. Or throw up our hands because one-size-fits-all solutions haven’t worked. But you can only endure so much thoughtless, irrational, or malicious behaviour—there’s your sanity to consider, and your career. Amy Gallo is an expert in conflict, communication, and workplace dynamics. She combines the latest management research with practical advice to deliver evidence-based ideas on how to improve relationships and excel at work.  She is the author of the HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict, a how-to guidebook about handling conflict professionally and productively, and the forthcoming Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People). In this interview, I speak to Amy Gallo about the archetypes of people we encounter in the workplace and how we can understand and deal with challenging workplace relationships more effectively. We discuss the principles that will help us build stronger, more resilient relationships, and look at the tools we can use to rebuild fractured ones.

Thought Economics

Dame Stephanie Shirley CH, also known as Steve, is a workplace revolutionary and successful IT entrepreneur turned ardent venture philanthropist. At 88 years old, her story has many strands which, woven together, have produced a lifetime of exceptional achievements. Dame Stephanie’s story begins with her 1939 arrival in Britain as an unaccompanied five-year-old Kindertransport refugee. This defining experience equipped her with fortitude at a very young age and made her determined to live a life worth saving. In 1962, she started a software house, Freelance Programmers, and pioneered radical new flexible work practices that changed the landscape for women working in technology. She went on to create a global business and a personal fortune which she shared with her colleagues, making millionaires of 70 of her staff at no cost to anyone but herself. Since retiring in 1993, Dame Stephanie’s life has been dedicated to venture philanthropy in the fields of IT and autism. She initially founded Autism at Kingwood in 1994 to support her late son Giles, then there was the ground breaking Prior’s Court School for pupils with autism and her charitable Shirley Foundation went on to make grants of £70 million. It spent out in 2018 in favour of Autistica, the UK’s national autism research charity founded by Dame Stephanie. In 2009/10 she served as the UK’s first ever national Ambassador for Philanthropy. In 2017, Dame Stephanie received a Companion of Honour (CH), a membership limited to only 65 individuals globally, for her services to entrepreneurship and philanthropy. In this interview, I speak to Dame Stephanie Shirley CH. We discuss her remarkable life story from arriving in Britain as five-year-old war refugee, to building one of the UK’s most successful information technology companies, changing the landscape completely for women in technology, and her work as one of the UK’s most prominent, and impactful philanthropists.

Thought Economics

Human rights activist and recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, Nadia Murad is a leading advocate for survivors of genocide and sexual violence. Her New York Times bestselling memoir, The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State, is a harrowing account of the genocide against the Yazidi ethno-religious minority in Iraq and Nadia’s imprisonment by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). Nadia’s peaceful life was brutally disrupted in 2014 when ISIS attacked her homeland in Sinjar with the goal of ethnically cleansing all Yazidis from Iraq. Like many minority groups, the Yazidis have carried the weight of historical persecution. Women, in particular, have suffered greatly as victims of sexual violence. After escaping captivity, Nadia began speaking out on behalf of her community and survivors of sexual violence worldwide. In 2016, Nadia became the first United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. That year, she was also awarded the Council of Europe Václav Havel Award for Human Rights and Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. In 2018, she won the Nobel Peace Prize with Dr. Denis Mukwege. Together, they founded the Global Survivors Fund. In 2019, Nadia was appointed as a UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocate. In this interview, I speak to human rights activist and recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, Nadia Murad, about how communities are destroyed in conflict, how sexual violence becomes a weapon of war, and importantly – how we can build peace, rebuild communities, and give hope for a better future.

Thought Economics

Reggie Fils-Aimé is a gaming legend. He was President & COO of Nintendo of America Inc, and from his humble childhood as the son of Haitian immigrants fleeing a dictatorship, he rose to become one of the most powerful names in the history of the gaming industry. In this capacity, he helped bring the Nintendo DS, the Wii, the Nintendo 3DS, the Wii U and the Nintendo Switch to the global marketplace. He retired in April 2019 and in October 2019 was inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame. In his new book Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo, Reggie tells the incredible story of his unlikely rise to the top, and shares his gameplan and leadership lessons for anyone looking to beat the odds and achieve success. In this interview, I speak to Reggie Fils-Aimé about leading successful innovation and culture. We talk about what it takes to succeed, grit, perseverance, and why relentless curiosity, taking risks, and the ability to challenge the status quo really matter.

Thought Economics

In ReCulturing: Design Your Company Culture to Connect with Strategy and Purpose for Lasting Success, Melissa Daimler, Chief Learning Officer of Udemy, argues that it’s crucial to take a systems approach to culture – one focused on behaviours, processes and practices – and integrate it with the company’s purpose and strategy. With over two decades of experience leading learning and organizational development at companies like Adobe, Twitter, WeWork, and now Udemy, Daimler shows leaders how to remake their cultures as both work and the world evolve. In this interview, I speak to Melissa Daimler about the power and importance of company culture. We talk about how the most successful businesses in the world approach culture, and what it takes to build high performance companies that are values aligned, full of purpose, and which generate success.

Thought Economics

How different are the sexes? Is gender uniquely human? Where does gender identity originate?
Frans de Waal is a distinguished primatologist. He has spent nearly half a century working with and studying primates. He is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on primate behaviour, and the links between human and primate society. In this interview, I speak to Frans de Waal about what his near half a century of studying primate species can teach us about gender, identity, power, and ourselves. We discuss the astonishing closeness between us and our primate ancestors, and what observing primates can teach us about humanity.

Thought Economics

In The Upside of Uncertainty, INSEAD professor Nathan Furr and entrepreneur Susannah Harmon Furr provide a sweeping guide to embracing uncertainty and transforming it into a force for good. Drawing from hundreds of interviews, along with pioneering research in psychology, innovation, and behavioural economics, Nathan and Susannah provide dozens of tools—including mental models, techniques, and reflections—for seeing the upside of uncertainty, developing a vision for what to do next, and opening ourselves up to new possibilities. In our fast-paced, ever-changing world, uncertainty is on the rise. We face it every day. But few of us have been taught the techniques to navigate it well. In this interview, I speak to Nathan & Susannah Furr about the importance of uncertainty, why we must embrace it, and how understanding uncertainty can dramatically improve our lives.

Thought Economics

Jenn Lim is the founder and bestselling author of Beyond Happiness: How Authentic Leaders Prioritize Purpose and People for Growth and Impact, and the CEO of Delivering Happiness (DH), a company built to create happier company cultures for a more profitable and sustainable approach to business–a company she and Tony Hsieh [the late CEO of Zappos.com] cofounded. Delivering Happiness started as a book (NYT and WSJ Bestseller, which sold one million copies worldwide) and evolved into a business consultancy and global movement that has impacted and inspired hundreds of companies and organizations worldwide. 

Thought Economics

In a society that pushes conformity, how can you courageously choose to be who you really are—with yourself, in your relationships, and at work—despite the fear of judgment? In The Authenticity Principle, award-winning leadership and diversity expert Ritu Bhasin gives you the tools to make this happen. Combining the latest neuroscience, leadership, diversity, and mindfulness research with a wealth of practical exercises, Bhasin unveils a cutting-edge framework for living and leading more authentically. She also reveals inspiring insights from a range of leaders who have overcome barriers to being authentic – including her own personal journey from lawyer to entrepreneur. In this interview, I speak to Ritu Bhasin about how her years of work has led to her developing a model for authenticity that helps to empower people, fearlessly, to choose how and when to show-up as their authentic selves, adapted selves and performing selves. We discuss how choosing to live life authentically is the most important step we can take to thrive in life, relationships, and our careers.

Thought Economics

Gary Rosen is one of the world’s foremost celebrity and corporate publicists. Over the last 20 years, Gary has fostered excellent relationships with major Fortune 500 companies, studios, celebrities, authors, and musicians. GRC’s clients include Judge Judy Sheindlin, Presiding Judge on Judy Justice, on Amazon freevee. The company also handles CBS Media Ventures’ Hot Bench, the syndicated courtroom hit. GRC repped CBS’s Judge Judy, which wrapped a historic 25 year-run as one of the most successful programs in the history of television. The company also served as the spokesperson and oversaw publicity for NBC Universal’s Maury, hosted by Maury Povich; The Jerry Springer Show; The Steve Wilkos Show, and The John Walsh Show. Additionally, Gary Rosen has generated publicity for more than 25 national television shows including Extra, The People’s Court, The Montel Williams Show, Hard Copy, Geraldo, Leeza, A Current Affair, Real TV, and The Joan Rivers Show. Rosen lectures about public relations and the entertainment industry at UCLA, NYU, and Fordham University. In this interview, I speak to Gary Rosen, Founder & CEO of Gary Rosen Communications (GRC). We talk about the power of good communication, how to handle a crisis, and what he has learned from representing some of the world’s most recognised celebrities and brands.

Thought Economics

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