Getting to Yes, And

Brad Staats: Never Stop Learning


Brad Staats

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Kelly talks to professor Brad Staats whose new book, "Never Stop Learning," looks at learning from the intersection of operations and behavioral science.

One of the things that fascinated me about this book is that you don’t just look at learning from a behavioral science standpoint - you combine that with your expertise in operations.

“We should be willing to try things, have them go wrong and move on. But when we don't, what is it? This is where the behavior creeps in. And so I think that if we really look at how do we use the power of behavioral science that we match it with good processes and we recognize that those two things need to fit hand in glove. That process without the behavior is going to be unrealistic and the behavior without the process let’s you understand what you’re doing wrong, but you have no idea how to move forward productively.”

And you talk about the importance of incorporating failure into our learning - it’s essential - but we often get in our own way to not learn from it.

"Yeah, it's really important because a big challenge that we have with failure is that we often actually fail to see it. Unfortunately when something goes wrong, instead of recognizing it for what it is: the chance to learn, we try to explain it away. Right? ‘Oh, you know, this is how I wanted it to go all along.’ We're trying to protect our self image. I love the quote from Richard Simon, a Nobel prize winning physicist who said, ‘The first principle is you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool."

It’s also true that the best listening is not you being a silent listener. The best listening involves a lot of back and forth.

"Absolutely. You know, you want to play back what you're hearing because it does a couple of things: it validates the person talking to you and it makes sure you're actually understanding them. Right? You may think you know their logic, but you're running it through your own filter and if they push back, oh, you realize that you may have jumped four steps down the line. Let's kind of rewind as we go back and forth. And so that art of the discussion - of really active listening - is that we go back and forth. It is hugely vital, but I think it's left out of far too many conversations.”

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