Many entrepreneurs will say they started their own companies because they couldn’t stand to work for anyone else. They’ll often say that they “have a problem with authority” or “are terrible employees”. I think this is in part because entrepreneurs often struggle to fit into existing hierarchies or power structures. I sometimes struggle with this myself. I think in part it’s because we prefer an egalitarian relationship over one where they have lower (and often, when they have higher status) with their coworkers.
And yet Deborah Gruenfeld, a professor at the Stanford graduate school of business, argues that all groups require some kind of hierarchy to be effective. Gruenfeld believes that all individuals (this includes entrepreneurs!) must learn how to operate well within a hierarchy if they want to be successful and have impact.
Stanford Business School Executive Education puts on a variety of training webinars and I tuned into one recently taught by Gruenfeld called “Acting With Power” and it provided some great insights into how our behavior and non verbal cues affect pur ability to influence, persuade and lead others.
Reading Intent and Emotion from Moving Dots
We intuitively recognize that people reveal much more about their state of mind through their behavior and non-verbal signals than the actual content of their words. To really make this point, Gruenfeld showed us an interactive visualization created by a group called Bio Motion Labs in Queen’s University.
In playing with it, what you quickly find is that even with just a few dots moving on the screen, we can get a sense of emotion, sense of aggression, sense of what this person might be thinking or feeling. Continue reading…