Getting to Yes, And

Frances Frei and Anne Morris: Move Fast and Fix Things


Frances Frei and Anne Morriss

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Kelly welcomes Harvard professor Frances Frei back to the podcast along with leadership coach Anne Morriss to talk about their new book:  “Move Fast and Fix Things: The Trusted Leader’s Guide to Solving Hard Problems.”

You write that the cornerstone of your work is that leadership is the practice of imperfect human beings leading imperfect humans. That’s not something you hear people talk about very much in this field.

“A lot of people fall into this idea that there is some kind of perfection and rainbow state for leadership, and I'm here to break that fantasy because we end up performing leadership instead of actually leading. I would also add, Kelly, that the burden of perfectionism, I'm not sure that it hits all people equally. I know I've been liberated from it my whole life, and it feels like it's been a competitive advantage. But there's a bunch of people that suffer from the burden of perfectionism for themselves, and then in their judgment of others.”

And I guess that if you acknowledge the imperfections that are inherent in all of us and our organizations, it makes it easier to make discoveries and solve problems, right?

"We're interested in the outcome of the hard truth that we are all flawed, and those imperfections are reflected, then, in the organizations that we build. And when you start there, when that's not your dirty little secret that you're dragging into the office when that's the starting point, and it happens to be a universal starting point, then you're free to go figure it out. What's working? What's not working? How do we run an experiment to get to a better place together? And how do I bring other people along? Because we sometimes get pulled into this idea that it is our secret that we're not getting everything right.”

What’s unusual about this book is that it operates really like a playbook – you give the reader specific prompts for every day of the working week.

“We quote this in the book and all the time, but no one has ever said to us, you know, I wish I had taken longer and done less - no one ever. So, if that's the jumping off point, then what? What does it look like to actually move fast? And that's the challenge we gave ourselves for this book. How do you move fast and not break things? Because the prevailing ethos in our world is that it's inevitable, and that assumption wasn't lining up at all with our experience. So, we really gave ourselves a challenge of turning this into a playbook.”

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