Shane Snow (@shanesnow) is an award-winning entrepreneur and journalist, board member of The Hatch Institute, Founder at Large at Contently, and author of Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart.
What We Discuss with Shane Snow:
- Why our differences allow us to become better together, but they almost always lead us to fear or fighting instead.
- How we can develop cognitive flexibility to become better problem solvers — alone or as part of a group.
- How watching two to eight hours of fictional television per week can make us measurably open-minded.
- Why cognitive friction is the secret ingredient of breakthrough teams.
- The missing virtue of intellectual humility, how it can change everything about the way we interact and work — and how to get more of it.
- And much more…
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As the old adage goes: “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” But what if working with others isn’t really the problem — what if the way we’ve been doing teamwork has been wrong all along?
Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart author Shane Snow joins us for episode 51 to discuss why good teamwork isn’t always intuitive and what we can do to work well with others for our best results.
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More About This Show
We were all assigned the dreaded group project in school, designed ostensibly to get students working together toward a harmonious voyage of collective discovery — but the one responsible person in the group who actually cared about the state of their transcript inevitably carried everybody else.
And anyone who’s worked in an office setting has probably experienced the equally dreaded meeting that calls upon everyone in the room to brainstorm ideas for the next big project — which usually results in a lot of bad, a few mediocre, and maybe one or two almost good ideas. But why?
“When human beings are in groups, we hold back, subconsciously, a lot of our thought processes,” says Shane Snow, author of Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart. It’s a throwback to our tribal days — when the threat of being thrown out of the group for doing or saying something stupid held some very real and dire consequences.
Two Heads Aren’t Always Better Than One
“The cliche of ‘two heads are better than one’ just isn’t true,” says Shane, “unless those heads are different. And unless those heads are fully bringing their different ways of thinking to the table — that’s the only way that two heads can be better than one.”
Shane brings up a good improv comedy troupe as one example of how these different heads can collaborate in a way that supports and feeds off of these differences to create superior work. But witnessing a show by a bad improv comedy troupe (or one that’s just having a bad night) can be one of the most miserable experiences imaginable.
“The components of it are getting the right people together and then having them interact in the right ways,” says Shane. “Otherwise, you may as well do work on your own, and instead of teamwork, do what someone like Einstein did: get a diverse array of inputs into your process, go interview people, go read other people’s stuff, build on the shoulders of giants, have a rival who kind of pushes you, and do all your work alone in a patent office. That’s a way to do teamwork by yourself that is often much more optimal than sitting around the table being like, ‘Okay, guys! Let’s figure this out!'”
Developing Cognitive Flexibility
If we can step back and let go of our evolutionary human tendency to fear ejection from a group, Shane says we can develop cognitive flexibility to become better problem solvers not only on our own, but in a way that helps rather than hinders our role in a group.
Shane says the easiest way to do this is to work with — or learn from — people who are extremely different from us and to actively be curious about what they do. But asking ourselves questions that kick us out of our normal way of looking at or solving a problem is another way to flex our cognition and kick start our creativity.
“Creativity is not about just inventing things from nothing — it’s not like the muses just sort of bless you with an idea,” says Shane. “Creativity is about making connections between things in our brains that haven’t been connected before. If you don’t have enough in your head to connect something, or if everything in your head is just in one category of things, then it’s going to be really hard to be creative. But if you are widely read or you learn a lot of things across a lot of different industries or from a lot of different people, then you have this bank of knowledge that’s waiting for you to connect dots.”
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about the questions we can ask ourselves to break away from cognitive entrenchment, how Shane doubled the success rate of boring ad copy he was writing for a living, how watching television and movies can actually bolster our creativity and make us measurably open-minded, why cognitive friction is the secret ingredients of breakthrough teams, how to (and why we should) expand our intellectual humility, how we can actually use brainstorming productively, and lots more.
Make sure to take Shane’s Intellectual Humility/Open-Mindedness assessment here, and check out his Lateral Thinking workbook for developing cognitive flexibility here!
THANKS, SHANE SNOW!
If you enjoyed this session with Shane Snow, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
Click here to thank Shane Snow at Twitter!
Click here to let Jordan know about your number one takeaway from this episode!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart by Shane Snow
- Other books by Shane Snow
- Shane Snow’s website
- Shane Snow at Facebook
- Shane Snow at Instagram
- Shane Snow at Twitter
- Shane Snow at Contently
- The Hatch Institute
- The Lone Genius Who Got by with a Little Help from His Friends by Tenille Bonoguore, Inside the Perimeter
- The Stanford Prison Experiment
- The Real Lesson of the Stanford Prison Experiment by Maria Konnikova, The New Yorker
- Nerf Super Soaker Zombie Strike Revenge Infector
- Stranger Things
- 12 Not-So-Ridiculous Facts About Perfect Strangers by Jake Rossen, Mental Floss
- 11 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’ by Jessica Toomer, HuffPost
- The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time by Allen Gannett
- Take Shane’s Intellectual Humility/Open-Mindedness assessment here!
- Check out Shane’s Lateral Thinking workbook for developing cognitive flexibility here!
Transcript for Shane Snow | How to Work Together Without Falling Apart (Episode 51)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with my producer, Jason DeFillippo. On this episode, we're talking with my good friend, Shane Snow. He's also the author of a couple of books including Dream Teams in which I'm quoted, well misquoted, but hey, I'm in a book, so there. Shane's an interesting guy. He's exposed arms trafficking, eaten only ice cream for weeks in the name of science, created a nine figure business out of telling stories and helping companies tell theirs. Today, we'll explore the concept of teamwork and being a team player. It's the number one most underserved topic in business even though we hear all about it all the time, almost ad nauseum, especially when you're going to school, and it's also the thing our society needs most right now. New science and fun stories in history teach us how we can turn the depressing truth of human collaboration on its head and change our worlds maybe the whole world.
[00:00:49] Today, will also discover how we can hack our creativity in some surprising ways from Ben Franklin zone hacks to something called lateral thinking, and how that can help us come up with ideas we'd never otherwise connect with. We'll also discuss the concept of cognitive friction, the secret ingredient of breakthrough teams. In other words, the difference between groups of people with lots of potential who don't reach it and those who do. It's not how well they get along, it's how well they fight, and we'll be teaching you how to fight properly here on the show today.
[00:01:17] As always, we've got worksheets for today's episode so you can make sure you got all the key points here from Shane Snow. The fee for this show and every episode is that you share it with friends when you find something useful, which should hopefully be in every episode, and the worksheets are how we make sure that. The link to the worksheets as always in the show notes, jordanharbinger.com/podcast.
[00:01:37] Now here's Shane Snow. Shane, thanks for coming on the show, man.
Shane Snow: [00:01:41] Hey, it's great to be here.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:42] You know, I, I met you a long time ago, we were talking about totally different topics and you are in a different place in your life entirely and we can get into that in a little bit. But what made you want to start studying teamwork? Because it's something you learn about in kindergarten or first grade and then somehow we managed to bungle this all the way through to fortune 500 companies.
Shane Snow: [00:02:04] It's one of those things that the obvious thing to say is that we need teamwork to do anything important. And whereas that is obvious, it's surprising how little treatment it gets in terms of new psychology, new things that we're learning about human behavior. We're still stuck on especially in the business world. We're stuck on this shit that we have from the ‘60s and ‘70s about how humans should work together in teams that a lot of it is out of date, or has been disproven. So I got kind of hooked on, you know with the other stuff that I've written is often explorations of myths and whether they're true and, and what the nuances are. And so I started getting on this kick about human collaboration. And in part because of the company I was running, seeing my job turn into team leader and not just a guy who makes things. And in part because you look around at the world and you just kind of see all the potential energy that we have together.
[0:03:05] We can now communicate with anyone and we live on top of each other. And this, this great sort of mixing and melting pots of the way that cities are growing. And just the world in general, we can all now deal with each other and collaborate if we want, but it just seems to be leading to more problems. So I became interested in that paradox that has sort of always existed but is now really acute now, which is that when different humans come together, they can make amazing things together or they can foil each other, which is kind of what happen.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:37] Yeah, it does. It does. That is what happens because what I know is, remember when you were in college and or law school where I went as well, and it's like we're going to have a group project. No one was like, “Oh great, this is going to be awesome.” Everyone's like, “Oh, come on.”
Shane Snow: [00:03:51] Oh my God, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:53] And then the professors are like, “You're going to have to do this a lot in the workplace.” And it's like, “Yeah, and it's going to suck there too, and there's always going to be somebody who's a laggard.” And then I remember getting assigned group projects in law schools in certain classes and going, all right everybody, here's the thing, I work better alone. You work better alone. What we're going to do, we're going to do all this crap alone. We'll meet like once a week and we'll try to mesh everything together and everyone's like, “Oh, thank God. Okay, yes, let's do that.” And then we'd sort of have this fake, we all pretended to do this as a team thing. And the reason was because we felt that us as individuals were smarter than groups. And truthfully, I think when you don't understand how teamwork works, how to leverage it properly, you really are better off alone.
Shane Snow: [00:04:37] It's totally true. There's actually a lot of great research in psychology about this.
About how you put people together, same people around a table to brainstorm ideas, and the same group of people will come up with fewer ideas and fewer good ideas than those people will individually at their own desks or in their bedroom or wherever by themselves. You just add their lists up and somehow there's more ideas and the ideas are better, which is sort of depressing. They've done this over and over again to the point that my favorite quote about it is some famous psychologists from Oxford or Cambridge, one of those places, said as surely as cigarettes lead to cancer. Brainstorming and groups lead to not as good ideas, just kind of depressing. And I'm part of it is there's all sorts of other studies about you do the tug of war together and you pull a little less hard when you're in a group than when you're by yourself. And some of these can be explained by if someone's slacking off, right? Or you're in a group, so there's social loafing. And some of it can be explained by, hey, a really big group is hard to coordinate. Everyone can't talk if there's 50 of you around the table. So maybe you don't get all the ideas out or, the cliché of how long it takes to turn a battleship. You have a big company, how do you change direction? There's all that.
[00:05:45] But there's actually just simply the psychology of when humans are in groups. We hold back subconsciously a lot of our thought processes or our ideas in ways that, because frankly the most important thing to you often if you're in a group at work is to not get kicked out of the group. And this goes back to when we were living in tribes and if you got kicked out of the tribe, you're going to be dining with the saber tooth tiger. And so we're afraid of that, and so even if we know that that's how the psychology works, we will still hold back our what we have on our minds and subtle or not so subtle ways that just leads the group to just not do as well.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:31] That's interesting. So they're like there's like a spectrum of teamwork where in the beginning, if you don't know what you're doing, being on a team is actually worse than being alone. And then there's this threshold where you're at your maximum loaner potential and you can only get better in a team. But unless the team is being optimized and you're working in the right way, you actually just get worse. So you have to have a good team because a bad team is worse than being alone, but a good team is much better than being alone. Is that kind of what we're saying here?
Shane Snow: [00:07:01] Exactly, yeah, it is. I mean it's the cliché of two heads are better than one just isn't true unless those heads are different, and unless those heads are fully bringing their different ways of thinking to the table, that's the only way that two heads can be better than one. It's kind of like improv comedy I think is a good example of when it works well. You have two people or five people on a stage doing an improv show, making up jokes as they go. And they feed off each other's work, they build off each other's work and the show is funnier than it potentially, right? Than one of them doing standup. But a bad intro of improv show is miserable to watch, you may as well watch someone, tell jokes, tell puns on a microphone by themselves, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:43] So listen to this show.
Shane Snow: [00:07:46] Yeah, exactly. So it's a real thing and yeah, you're right. I mean, the components of it are getting the right people together and then having them interact in the right ways because otherwise, yeah, you may as well do work on your own. And then instead of teamwork, do what someone like Einstein did, get a diverse array of inputs into your process. Go interview people, go read other people's stuff, build on the shoulders of giants, have a rival who kind of pushes you, and do all your work alone in a patent office. That's a way to do teamwork by yourself that is often much more optimal than sitting around the table being like, all right, guys, let's figure this out.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:26] So I've heard you've found research that debunks the Stanford Prison experiment. And I would love to hear about that because I have a special place in my heart for demolishing those sort of inaccurate studies that everyone relies on. Like, “Oh, you know, that 97 percent of your communication is nonverbal.” It's like, okay, that study didn't say that. The Stanford prison experiment is interesting. Tell us what that is and then a ruin it for everyone.
Shane Snow: [00:08:47] So that study, it came from the ‘60s or ‘70s, I believe. And what they did is some professors put a bunch of students in this scenario where they said, some of you are prisoners and some of you are jailers. And they assimilated these people being in jail and they monitored how the prison guards and jailers dealt with these fake prisoners. And what they found that they had to cancel the experiment way early because they found that the prison guards started really treating these prisoners badly. And one guard in particular was like a huge jerk and he started abusing the prisoners. And then all the other guards started doing it too. And they just became blind to the fact that these were still students and they got caught up in this scenario. And so the conclusion was that when we get together, we become horrible people basically. That like the mob mentality of someone says, “Hey, let's tar and feather this person,” that we just can't help ourselves when we jump in. And on the face of it, you're like, “Yeah, I've seen that happen on Twitter. I've seen people get riled up and gang up on people and it's awful.”
[00:09:52] The study basically, has been used as a proof point for that we lose our minds when we're in groups together and we make awful decisions. It turns out that, group think is real, right? Where a group all starts to think the same and that's not good. And there's all sorts of challenges to working in groups and to thinking in groups. But we don't turn into mob, we don't lose our minds and decided to get violent and evil. Like this experiment said, it turns out that, yeah, fairly recently the last couple of years they reanalyze the experiment and they saw that the experimenters did everything wrong to set it up as an experiment that actually was only this one guy who was being a jerk, and it turned out that he was like, this is crazy sociopath. And other scientists have done repeated experiments afterwards that show that there is not this, we turn evil together and form mobs and lose our minds effect that, that just isn't the case. But no one paid attention to these studies.
[00:10:54] To me, it's important for this discussion because it's a little bit heartening to know that fundamentally when humans come together, we are not monsters. And fundamentally human beings are pretty good if they pay attention at discerning good and bad behavior. And we’re not influenced as easily by evil people around us as long as we have sort of a working IQ and then don't have some sort of brain damage, it's very easy for the normal human to not get caught up in a mob. How we do get caught up in mobs is when we get our emotions triggered about something we actually do kind of feel about. So if you do hate someone or some group, then you can be triggered and do awful things. But that's one of those things around group dynamics that it's like for years and years and years, we created all these weird policies in government or in corporations or whatever to based on kind of the false conclusion that when humans come together, we turn into these evil mobs and we can't help it. And this is not true.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:01] If you want to look up that study, it's 1971. It was Phil Zimbardo. We'll link to that in the show notes if people want to really dig into that. That is heartening. That is good to know because otherwise it's like, oh well human nature, we're all terrible people if we're allowed to be. And it's just like actually no, no, no, we're not. Nice try. Phil Zimbardo, 1971. Think again.
[00:12:24] You talk about this concept cognitive flexibility and this sort of bridges your previous work, Smartcuts, which I interviewed you for, I don't know, five plus years ago or something like that—
Shane Snow: [00:12:34] A long time ago.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:35] Which is how we became friends initially. And this is an interesting concept in that this is kind of how you come up with different ideas when you're with other people. I know I'm butchering this, but that's why you're the expert. Tell us about cognitive flexibility.
Shane Snow: [00:12:49] So another one of those kind of obvious once you hear it sort of statements, is you can't make breakthroughs without breaking the way that you do something that you don't change the game by playing the same game. And Smartcuts, I wrote about lateral thinking, which is basically approaching problems from different angles than we're used to, or then we're told we're supposed to. And this is the way that computer hackers figure things out, this is the way that really smart people have changed the world. And it kind of brings up this paradox though, which is if the way that we make breakthroughs is by thinking differently. Am I looking at things differently? How do you think differently when you think a certain way? And the answer, the easiest way to get at that answer is to work with people who think differently than you.
[00:13:35] This thing that I was talking about before, that two heads are only better than one if they think differently than each other is kind of what this is about. A group of people can become smarter than any individual member of that group if they have enough of this kind of cognitive diversity. But what you need in order to get at that is the flexibility in your own brain to think differently. You have to be able to step back and let go of your way of thinking which it's linked to some other concepts that hopefully we'll get to. But the idea that it doesn't matter how good someone's argument is for doing something differently. If you're not open to considering it, if your brain just can't go there, then what's the point? And so there are things that you can do, the more flexible you can make your brain essentially the better equipped you are to be a collaborator, but also the better equipped you are to do good work yourself. But again, how do you think in ways that you don't think of, and there's some hacks that you can do besides just working with people who are different than you. And you can actually kind of take this same idea and use it to become more creative yourself.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:53] Discharge. Hashtag discharge. This episode is also sponsored by Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. Rocket Mortgage is the company, the mortgage company that is that decided to ask why? I heard somebody on the radio saying why the other day very serious, sounded very serious. So I'm going to adopt that. Why can't clients get approved in minutes rather than weeks? Why can't they make adjustments to their rate and term in real time? And why can't there be a client focused technological mortgage revolution? See how serious that sounds now? Quicken Loans—
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:14] You didn't get any—
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:16] You didn't get one. Sorry about that.
Jason DeFillippo: [0.0:18:18] Damn.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:20] I would love to hear about how we can kind of hack our creativity because obviously you have to be curious about, actually let me give you a real life example of this. When I used to just have people come on the show years and years and years ago and just present their stuff while I check my email and go, “Uh-huh, okay.” That didn't really help make for a great show, of course. And it didn't help me get better at connecting concepts. No surprise there.
[00:18:46] But when I started to become really curious about the author's work, reading the book, going through their previous books, things like that, listening to other interviews and really doing the prep. And I became actively curious about their stuff, I was able to become more creative, and in many ways there are many shows and our listener actually pointed this out recently where a guest will go, “Oh, I hadn't thought about this like that because I’ll connect some random thing from book number one to a concept they have in book number two, or even just chapter one and chapter 12,” and they'll go, “Yeah, I actually, those things might be related. I haven't looked at that.” And the reason I was able to do that is because I actually started to become curious and care about this. And I started asking myself certain questions. Do you have a formula-ish for becoming more creative by asking yourself certain questions, ways to become more curious about the things you're looking at, et cetera?
Shane Snow: [00:19:36] Yeah, actually that's exactly the hack, is asking yourself questions that kick you out of your normal way of looking at a problem or thinking about something. So what you're getting at is something that has been pretty well established in that creativity is not about just inventing things from nothing and it's not like the music is just sort of bless you with an idea. Creativity is about making connections between things in our brains that haven't been connected before. And so it starts with if you don't have enough in your head to connect something or if you're just, so everything that you know that's in your head is just in one kind of category of things, then it's going to be really hard to be creative. But if you are very well read or widely read or you learn a lot of things across a lot of different industries or from a lot of different people, then you have basically this bank of knowledge that's waiting for you to connect dots.
[00:20:31] And so the consumption of information is really important to this. But then how do you connect those dots or how do you, you kick yourself out of a certain way of thinking? A lot of times, and in dream teams I go through this analogy of you could say that any problem that you are trying to solve or anything you're trying to make a breakthrough on, all the solutions could be represented by a mountain range, with different mountains of different heights. And the taller the mountain that you can climb up, the better the solution. And if you sort of visualize that as any problem you're working on, it's like hiking through this mountain range, trying to find the top. Everything that we're working on is generally sort of covered in fog. We're hiking around trying to guess where the best mountain peak is. We don't know when we're standing on top of a mountain peak. If there's a better one out there or if the world’s changed, there's an earthquake, there's a better thing out there. And so what you have to do is sort of sass out. Once you figured out, hey, I have the solution to a problem, it works up standing on the top of the mountain. Now what? And a lot of times that turns into kind of the accepted solution to the problem. And we have best practices where everyone's like, this is the way to do it. And so we all ended up standing on this mountain peak. I don’t know if the visualizing this analogy is working.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:48] I will admit that you lost me a little bit, but maybe we can try, do you have another example for people who are seeing the uptake like myself? Probably other people are better at visualizing, I'm not.
Shane Snow: [00:21:59] I'll just remove the analogy. What happens is our own success in being creative or solving a problem actually frustratingly holds us back from being creative later. So if you solve a problem or the world has solved a problem in a certain way and it works, we figured out plumbing, indoor plumbing, and we have a way that we make toilets, so we make showers and it works. Then what happens is we sit with that solution to the problem for long enough that we just can't actually come up with something better. Even if we have new technology, we have the world's changed in ways that we could maybe actually come up with a better shower or a better toilet or whatever. Sort of a weird example to use. We could do it, but everyone who works in plumbing is like, “Oh, but this is the best way to do it.” And so it's called cognitive entrenchment, actually.
[00:22:51] It's the opposite of cognitive flexibility because you're an expert, because you've succeeded in something or you've learned about how something has succeeded. You now can't think of any other way to do it. And so questions that you can ask yourself, can I actually kick you out of kind of, yeah, kick you out of the box or whatever to use the cliché, so that you can look at these kinds of problems differently. Some of my favorites are just really simple, how would X type of person look at this problem? And X type of person should be someone that's outside of the industry. So if you're doing plumbing, you'd say, how would a ballet dancer redesign a shower? Sort of weird, crazy question. Maybe that doesn't go anywhere. But if you asked that question enough, you say, well, how would a race car driver to it? Or how would a child do it? Maybe you ask a child, ask your grandma, that you'd be surprised at how often just that exercise leads to a better solution.
[00:23:46] So here's an example from my young life. I was 21 years old. I was an intern at this, a advertising company. I was writing ads on Google for pay per click management software. Like the biggest snore in the world.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:00] Sounds awesome. Yeah, exactly.
Shane Snow: [00:24:03] Horrible writing this ad copy for these ads. And what I would do is I'd look every day at everyone else's ads, all our competitors, and I try and make better ones than them. And we all just had these really boring, crappy ads that all kind of perform the same and one day for whatever reason, you could maybe guess why, but whatever reason, I don't know. I was looking at online dating sites and I got hit with some ads for different online dating sites, and I decided to crib the ad copy from these online dating ads and just insert paper click management instead of instead of find love, blah, blah, blah, I do looking for paper click management, blah, blah, blah. And it sounds stupid, but my ad suddenly outperformed everyone in the industry. And I was like, I double the success rate by sort of stealing the rhetorical or sort of copywriting tricks of this other industry. And then a week later, all of our competitors were copying my ads. And it's actually a pattern that you see a lot in the history of innovation. You have the biologist who invents something in automotive because they just applied their knowledge from one industry to another.
[00:25:19] My favorite is actually the guy who invented the Super Soaker. He was this dude at NASA who's in charge of jet propulsion and he's doing some housework at his house one day and he thought, “Huh, I could use the jet propulsion stuff from trying to put spaceships in the sky to make a water gun for my little daughter so she can win the water gun fight on Saturday.” And he did, and that's how we got the Super Soaker.
Jordan Harbinger: [0:25:46] And if you don't know what a Super Soaker is, your parents have failed you.
Shane Snow: [00:25:49] Exactly. It's actually, this warms my heart. The bestselling gun in history is a Super Soaker.
Jordan Harbinger: [0:25:56] The bestselling water gun.
Shane Snow: [0:25:58] No gun.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:00] So there are more Super Soakers than like hand guns.
Shane Snow: [00:26:03] Pistols.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:04] Oh that's good. That is nice. That is nice to hear.
Shane Snow: [00:26:07] It's heartwarming. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:09] [indiscernible] [00:26:09] plastic though.
Shane Snow: [0:26:11] You know what's worse? Plastic or pellets, yeah. Other questions you can ask though. What if this had to be 10 times better? Just asking that question forces you, because I feel like what if this had to be 10 percent better? You can kind of figure out how to do more of the same thing and maybe whatever you're working on is 10 percent better. But if whatever it is that you talking about has to be 10 times better. It forces you to reevaluate what you're working on and how you're working on it. You can't just do the same thing that everyone has been doing. So what if, I don't know, what if a shower had to be 10 times better? Super interesting question guarantee you'll have a much more productive and creative thought process when you ask that question versus how do we make a nicer shower?
[00:26:55] Another one that I liked that's along those lines is what if it had to be 10 times simpler or a hundred times cheaper? These kinds of questions sort of force you to sort of use this cognitive flexibility. And then if you don't have enough kind of knowledge to figure it out, then that's when you go and you get a diverse array of inputs. You learn all sorts of things or you include other people in your process. But I think it's a good excuse for giving ourselves the leeway to explore things outside of our industry or our lane, our own work. For me, it gives me an excuse to write about things that have nothing to do with business, and an excuse to watch TV shows about people that are not in, if all I did was watch business shows maybe I would have less in my bank for ideas then if I'm watching Stranger Things and Narcos, and everything else. So it's kind of nice. And science has proved this. Neuroscience has actually proved this, that the more widely learned we are, the more diverse our inputs. And you can see it again, if we're talking about Einstein, he played the violin. That was something that he actually could draw analogies from in his work in physics, which is sort of crazy, but it's true.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:18] I found it way too late in life that the best way to get smarter isn't to take classes about stuff. It's too, well one, getting coaching is the best way to acquire a skill. But to just read books about everything because I'm consistently shocked about somebody will bring up something like, “Oh yeah, this is this thing that's going on with a Europe right now.” And I'm like, “Oh that's interesting. I wonder if that has anything to do with this stuff that's going on in China, which has to do with this stuff that's going on in Russia.” And people are like, “What are you talking? How do you know that? You just watch a bunch of news?” And I'm like, “No, I read books about how Vladimir Putin came to power and they're like, “Wow!” And then it turns out to be related to petroleum and gas.
[00:29:59] And it's really, really a good way to not just know a bunch of factors, see interconnections between current events, but you'll go, “Oh well, this thing happened in World War II.” So this is maybe the pattern that's happening now because it was a global phenomenon and it says a lot about human nature. You really do have enough stuff in your head. And I remember when I was young, I had a reputation of being kind of a funny, not necessarily a class clown, but a funny quick on my feet speaker. And I know that that came from being an only child and watching a ton of TV, because I was watching Perfect Strangers and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And I had similar sense of humor as Will Smith, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air type stuff, and the comedic timing was very similar. And just all of these different types of inputs from watching Mr. Belvedere and all these different strokes, all these different sitcoms as a kid, all of that stuff came through when I was a teenager and a young adult into all of my stupid sense of humor and like I said, comedic timing and everything.
[00:31:02] It's just that now I'm able to continue with that, with current input. But I built that skill from watching television. I hate to give television a thumbs up in any way and I think that the drawbacks far outweighed any advantage I got. But I think that there's a lot that I did gain from and, or maybe I'm just rationalizing it, that I gained from sitting in front of the TV.
Shane Snow: [00:31:22] No, there's something to that. There's something really to that. Actually, I mean there's a couple of things I have to say there. The guy who runs the runs content for Netflix, so the guy who's in charge of acquiring movies and figuring out what TV shows they should make. This comes from a, from research from a friend of mine named Allen Gannett, who has a book coming out pretty soon called The Creative Curve. But my favorite thing from his research is the guy from Netflix, his summer job when he was a teenager for years and years, was being the guy running the little local movie store. And he decided to watch every movie in the movie store, so we could recommend people what they should watch next. And in watching thousands of movies in the movie store, he basically gained this encyclopedic knowledge of trends in filmmaking and what people like and what's going to be coming up.
[00:32:14] And that's the reason that years later, decades later, he's the guy at Netflix, who decides what people are going to like next and he's the guy who built, or kind of did the inputs for the algorithm of what you should watch next based on what you've liked. And that he would not have this job, Netflix would not be what it was if he had not taken in all of that content. And there's something TV, there's a lot of downsides to having our brains eaten by TV, but there's one interesting upside. I did a study for dream teams about essentially open-mindedness because we can now kind of measure open-mindedness, which we hadn't been able to do until literally 2017.
[00:32:59] Turns out that the more television you watch up to a certain point, I think it's like eight hours a week. If you watch between two and eight hours of television a week, fictional, not news, but like TV shows. You tend to rank higher on open-mindedness tests. And the conclusion or the theory and the neuroscientists that I interviewed about this, how this could be, is that stories are something that activate our brains and really interesting ways as humans. When you hear a story, your brain fills in all of this stuff with your imagination. More of your brain is active, but also a little chemical gets generated called oxytocin. When you experience a story that's emotional or that's about humans, that it makes you basically have empathy for them and care about them. And the theory is that if you watch lots of television and not too much that you've got some other problems. But if you watch television, you're taking in stories of people who are not like you and generating empathy at this subconscious level for people who are not like you and training your brain to be okay, more okay with people living differently than you, and thinking differently than you.
[00:34:11] So there's actually something pretty cool. Another excuse to watch TV or to have your kids watch a little bit of TV, is those stories actually help us to be better people to a point. Now there's of course all the stuff with like violence and other bad things in TV that may be negate some of this effect. But that I found really interesting and kind of encouraging the power of entertainment to make us better people as long as their stories about people.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:42] Cognitive friction is another concept that I enjoy because I think it's a little counterintuitive. We always have problems when, “Oh, you know, I don't get along with this person. I hate working with this person.” But your research is showing that it's not about how well you get along with people in your group. It's how well you fight with people in your group. So the debates that dissents the war of ideas, making sure that you're not just like, “Oh yeah, well you're a fat POS.” Right? You're fighting about the right things in the right way actually increases creativity.
Shane Snow: [00:35:17] Yeah. So this is the secret ingredient between teams that have potential and don't reach it. And teams that exceed our wildest expectations, is this idea of cognitive friction that you can have two heads that are different and so they could be better than one, but if they don't fully engage, if they don't smash together, then they're not going to come up with something better. And there's some really juicy stories from history that show this. How we got hip hop is kind of my favorite one. Hip hop was born out of the DJ battles and then the battles of lyrics every week at this party that got started in the Bronx. That fight, that war actually helped develop all sorts of technology and music, but also the genre and as huge impact on culture.
[00:36:03] But you see this in really, really productive teams that they don't shy away from the conflict, but they managed to be either everyone on the team or the leaders managed to make sure that the conflict stays about ideas and doesn't get personal. So I think the coolest combination that you can have in a relationship is full personal and emotional support. If you sort of said that the two options are, or the spectrum is full emotional and personal support and they have the other side is just complete independence, you're on your own and no support. If you have the full support of someone but then you also have fully engaged kind of ideological antagonism almost, then that's a really interesting combination. If you can fight about ideas, if you can really debate things and really turn things around together with people. But you also feel safe enough to do that and like your cool.
0[0:37:06] So for example, my dad and I are very politically opposed in terms of our political opinions on a lot of things. And he's a really smart guy, but I know that he loves me. So we can have the debates without getting nasty and the way that you see it on Facebook, we can actually push the conversation further and find options that neither of us would have thought of because we're having those ideas go to war. And because we love each other, it doesn't spill over into this thing where I'm just trying to be right or I'm trying to take him out, which is what often happens.
[00:37:37] So the biggest leading indicator that a relationship is going to fail is the same thing that indicates that a company merger is going to fail. Or that a new hire that you make in your company is going to fail, and that is not fighting. It turns out that is stopping the fight and ignoring each other. When you stop talking about the things that are important, that's when you know things are going to fall apart. The fight itself is actually, if it keeps going at some point, someone's going to die, someone's going to get killed or you're going to work things out and hopefully find better options. And so the idea is to actually have that fight, but do it in a way that no one feels like they're going to die or it doesn't turn into, trying to destroy each other.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:27] I feel like you need a certain level of maybe not just open-mindedness but almost humility because you have to be willing to go, okay, this is a good point that you have. This is a bad point, you're right, my argument is less well rounded or whatever. You have to have some sort of open-mindedness in intellectual humility. Is that something that you've explored at all?
Shane Snow: [00:38:47] Yeah, so I love that term. It's kind of becoming a hot topic and psychology and philosophy. Intellectual humility is basically if humility is knowing that you're fallible, knowing that you're not perfect, then intellectual humility is knowing that your ideas are not perfect and that you could be wrong about things. So this is actually when I talked about open-mindedness finally being something we can measure. Intellectual humility is like four-fifths of what it means to be minded. So there's actually four sort of components that they break down in psychology, which is respecting other people's viewpoints. If you can't do that, and if you're having an argument about something important or you're having cognitive friction, if you can't respect each other's viewpoints, then you're not probably going to get very far. It's not being overconfident intellectually. So knowing that you're not going to be right about everything.
[00:39:44] Separating your ego from your intellect. So not having a personal stake in the ideas that you talk about with people. And then being able to revise your viewpoint in light of new information. If you can do that, that means you're intellectually humble. If you add that to, you're also willing to try new things, then that's basically what the psychology community would call open-mindedness. And so yeah, if you have that in a group, I mean that's the equation, right? Cognitive friction, this war of ideas and then the humility to adapt, to change, to respect and to not take it personal, that's the dream. There's actually I put together on my website an assessment based on these newly published studies for intellectual humility and open-mindedness. You can actually take it, you can I don’t know if, did I send you the link to that?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:40] Yeah, yeah, we can link to that in the show notes as well. The intellectual humility test so to speak.
Shane Snow: [0:40:48] And so what it does is we can actually, most people think that they're pretty open minded. Most people think they're more open minded than average, which some people are not, and even though we all think we are. And so actually being able to see along which dimensions are you less intellectually humble can actually be really helpful for you as not just a collaborator but just as a human. So when I took this test, I found that I have a particular problem with separating my ego from my intellect. So if you and I have a discussion, a debate about something, I might actually be pretty good at respecting your viewpoint, of changing my mind if necessary, but it's going to hurt my ego a lot and that will cause me to resist often, or just to feel terrible about, and that's not good in a collaboration environment, it's not good for progress.
[00:41:37] So my latest kick is actually digging into what are the ways that we can improve these scores of intellectual humility. And the first one that I've been working on is separating your ego from your intellect. But I think this is, this is the missing virtue that can change everything about the way that we interact and work. If I can share my favorite saying that I've learned recently on this is, is a trick that Ben Franklin, so you said something that reminds me of this. Ben Franklin had this trick when he was dealing with people that is kind of the epitome of overcoming our stubborn nature and the epitome of intellectual humility. It was that he recognized that he was smarter than most of the people that he was dealing with. He knew that he was smart enough to know that he was really smart. Unlike me, which I think I'm dumb enough to think I'm smart.
[00:42:34] But Ben Franklin, he knew he’s smart, he knew his right about a lot of things, but he also knew that he was fallible, that he was going to be wrong about a lot of things. And he wanted to kind of a buffer himself against the stubbornness and his own ego. He knew that he had an ego. So what he would do is any time he was going to express a really strong opinion or try to be persuasive about something, or to debate someone, he would always preface the whatever he was about to say with, I could be wrong, but here's what I think. And then he could really hit you hard with whatever he thought. But the clever thing that he said was, if someone did prove him wrong, he didn't feel bad about it because he was technically right. Because he said in the beginning I could be wrong. So it's like one of those, it sounds like some dirty politicians trick on cable news. But it actually a really good way to prime your own brain to not take shit personal when you need to change your mind.
[00:43:39] And so there's little rhetorical things that you can actually do, and those are some of the things I'm exploring. But I love that Ben Franklin recognizes like I've got an ego, I'm smart, but I'm going to overcome that by just telling people I could be wrong. And the other thing it does too is when someone says, I could be wrong, but here's what I think. If you don't like what they think, you're not going to be on your heels as much. You're not going to be as defensive because they acknowledged their fallibility upfront. And so you're going to feel a little bit more free to make the idea, the debate about ideas and to poke holes in their ideas and not to see it as something that's about me versus you, which is super cool.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:14] Right. So you sort of deflate any, you deflate your own ego bubble by admitting that you could be wrong. But also you're protecting your ego by saying because if you are wrong and you're like, well, I was right about being wrong, that's pretty good. Pretty good to know that I'm wrong. And other will then feel more free to maybe prove you wrong instead of going, “Oh, he's going to get mad now.” We're going to have to deal with that because you started with, I could be wrong. So you're open to that possibility. I like that hack, not bad.
Shane Snow: [00:44:41] Imagine that your boss came to you and said that. You would feel more free to speak up to your boss about what you really think, which the boss should appreciate. I think often when there's power dynamics, the person in power says what they think and maybe they're open to being convinced that they're wrong, but they don't give you the opening where you feel like it’s safe to talk, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [0:45:01] Right.
Shane Snow: [0:45:01] And so I like that for a variety of reasons, but I think especially in kind of a power, dynamic situation.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:07] So a lot of this stuff seems to work really well for business. And of course, I want to get into some brainstorming stuff towards the end of the show. But have you ever been able to apply this stuff to your personal life? Because I think a lot of folks are going, I don't really have groups. I'm a solo preneur or this is all fine and good, but I don't run my own business. Have you applied this in your personal life in any meaningful way?
Shane Snow: [00:45:30] So I have a story about that, I finally wrote about it a little bit ago. But after several years of not wanting to talk about it publicly, so I'll talk about it publicly. A few years ago I had this really crazy thing happened where I was just starting to, I was on the cusp of this amazing success in my career. Company was doing amazing. I just published my first book that was a lifelong dream. And there was this day where I had this crazy day, I went up to Columbia University where I'd been invited to give this speech and interview this billionaire in front of thousands of students. It's crazy opportunity and talk about my new book.
[00:46:12] And then I went downtown, I went to this thing called the influencers, which is a sort of this group of people who are smarter and more famous than me. And I got to give a talk about my book at Soho house, sort of my foot in the door into this world of kind of amazing people wanting to know my ideas about my work. And I met Bill Nye, and he shakes my hand and he's like, I want to read your book. I can't wait. And then I walk outside at like one in the morning and realize that I forgot to arrange a place to stay that night. And I was going through all of this stuff where everyone was saying, wow, your crews really taking off. Everything's amazing. I have this amazing day. But what was going on behind the scenes is I was homeless and—
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:57] Literally, wow.
Shane Snow: [00:46:59] Literally homeless.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:02] How did that happened actually?
Shane Snow: [00:47:06] So I'll tell you, yeah. So how it happened is I got married really young when I was 21, 22. And after six and a half years of marriage, my wife asked me for a divorce, and it was a big surprise and this was right after I got a cancer diagnosis where I freaking out, which it turns out that it was a misdiagnosis, which is like the happiest part of the story.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:35] Wow, also I’ll punch that doctor in the face. Although mistakes happen, I guess it’s better that a real diagnosis.
Shane Snow: [00:47:41] Yeah, right. It was like more tests and upon further scrutiny after a month of awful tests, they're like, “Oh nope, it's some other things that suck, but are not cancer.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:51] Jeez. Reminds me of that family guy where they're like, you're going to die when you see these new DVDs of Red Fox. Yikes.
Shane Snow: [00:47:59] Yeah. So it was this really horrible time of my life where, I think I have cancer and I think I'm going to die. And that changes your perspective on things. And I'm going through a divorce that I didn't see coming. And then just the way that the divorce played out is I ended up in the negotiations having no money and having to spend three months figuring out where I'm going to live. And until I can save up for a deposit and this is where it has to do with the teamwork thing is I have so many people in my life that would have let me crash with them. I could've gone back home to my family, and I had friends who did let me crash with them. But I had this for the first couple of weeks. I didn't want to tell anyone about this, because I was embarrassed and I was hurting. And that I'm so successful, but I'm broke and I can't afford an apartment. And oh, by the way, I'm getting divorced. No one knew about this for a bit.
[00:48:55] So I have at first like this flimsy cover story for why I need to say on people's couches for a little bit, going through some stuff they understand, but I didn't want to stay for too long. And then as I started telling some people, like my business partners, I didn't even told my family. They're wanting to help, but I'm kind of keeping the story at a minimum, and just being really depressing and kind of spiraling, and taking substances that I shouldn't be taking to kind of stave off the hurt. And so this night when I came out of Soho house after this like amazing day of my career, that's when I broke. So I started texting a friend of mine, “Hey, can I crash on your couch, I forgot to arrange a place to stay tonight?” And then my phone dies because it's a 1 percent and then it starts raining and it's like this movie, right? And then I just bawling on the side of the road with like my backpack that has all the stuff that I own right now, just thinking about I'm so alone. And it's this really horrible kind of thing and it was my fault in many ways for not asking for help and for just thinking I could power through this on my own. It's stuff like that as hard as it hopefully people understand, right? It's embarrassing and heart wrenching. And I've just spent all this time during the days just pacing around New York, walking around with my backpack and avoiding people and avoiding work. And then a couple of days after this day where I just really broke down, I had slept on park benches. I slept on the train when I was just didn't feel like asking someone for a place to stay, or I felt like I didn't know where to go or I was too drunk or something.
[00:50:38] And I get a phone call one day from a mentor of mine who's a New York Times columnist. Sadly, he's passed away now. New York Times columnist named David Carr who would helped me and my career, and he'd call me all the time to talk about stories he’s working on and he was late 50s, and just really gruff voice. He always say, “All right, I need a young person's perspective on this.” Tell me if you think of this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:02] As he chews on his unlit cigarillo in his office.
Shane Snow: [00:51:05] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:05] Right.
Shane Snow: [00:51:05.5] Yeah, exactly. “How does this printer driver work?” So he calls me up and he starts talking about whatever story's working on and then he can tell something's wrong. And he's a good reporter, he manages to ask the questions to get me to spill my guts. And then this guy was amazing because he was a former crack addict. He had been through divorce or two, and he'd been to jail. He hit much harder situations than I was going through. And he gave me so much love and empathy, and he would call me to check in on me after that. So he's the first one that I really told everything to and he was so supportive and he called to check on me and became kind of like the first member of my team that helped me to kind of not want to die anymore, and to care about myself and to start taking care of myself. And there were other people that kind of join this team, and I finally let go of my need to do everything myself and my need to not be embarrassed and a group of people kind of help me put myself back together.
[00:52:10] And this story, when I finally wrote about this, years later, I got this immense outpouring of emails from not just people in my life who were like, “Hey man, I would've been there for you too.” But also people who are strangers who I didn't know saying, “Hey, I'm going through something similar in some way or another.” And just hearing you share your story makes me feel like I'm not alone and I can get through this too, and I'm going to ask for help too. And I think as horrible as that sort of thing happens and much worse things that happened to other people. To me, that's my big lesson that we need each other. And the hardest and most important things in our personal lives or in the world in general, are made easier and made possible with other people together and that humans want to help each other out and be there for each other and show love and get through things together.
[00:53:04] So there's the long answer to your question, but I think that to me that's something that I will obviously never forget and I hope that anyone who listens to this and sees themselves in this kind of situation or any kind of situation will know that, yeah, that the lesson of teamwork isn't just about work and it's about living and becoming better.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:32] Well this is not what I expected to come out with. That is extremely harrowing. I can't believe all those things happening to you at once. And luckily having you get through that like that. And what would you change about that situation? You would've reached out to people earlier, I assume?
Shane Snow: [00:53:49] Yeah, yeah, I would have, I would have swallowed my pride, reach out to people earlier and even the people that I did reach out to, I wouldn't have, like I would have opened up more. What I told them what's going on, told them what I'm going through rather than kind of acting like everything is more okay than it was.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:07] Yeah. I think it's tempting to do that because we don't want to show any sort of weakness, but we really can't get any help from others unless we are open about those sort of things. And then of course we get surprised by how willing people are to come to our aid, I think.
Shane Snow: [00:54:20] Yeah, and especially when you feel like people look up to you in some ways. I didn't want to tell anyone at work because they're like, wow, Shane is really successful. And I didn't want to sort of pop the balloon of the illusion there. And like with my family, I wanted them to be proud of me and it's stupid. Of course, they love me, right? But I wanted them to be proud of me, so I was like, I'm not going to tell them until I figured this out. It's crazy.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:50] Yeah, it's a very 20 something guy thing to do though.
Shane Snow: [00:54:54] You're right.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:55] I'm going to make sure everyone knows that I'm successful. And then I'll be like, hey, I was almost the whole time I did this. How amazing am I, right?
Shane Snow: [00:55:05] Right. Yeah, well, it's like James Bond I think he's a super fun character, but maybe one of the worst life lessons for all of us. James Bond is this picture of this ultimate man and what we've decided that the ultimate man means is you have everything handled at all times, no matter what. If it's playing poker or skiing or fighting or being a great shot or seducing someone or whatever, it's like you always know the answers. That's what it means to be a man that people respect and that's bullshit, no one's like that. I think what it means to be an adult is to recognize that you can't do it all and to ask people for help.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:49] Now, speaking of help and I'm total non-sequitur, I would love to wrap the show with this brainstorming technique because you have the best one, which I think anyone can try. Brainstorming usually involves, all right, let's sit everyone in the room and then write stuff down on a whiteboard. And I'm always pretty underwhelmed by the results of this particular exercise, doing it in a group, writing things down on a whiteboard. It's never really worked for me. You have a better way. You want to take us through that as we close.
Shane Snow: [00:56:17] Yeah. Tons and tons of research says that what you just described does not work very well. What's much better than that is brainstorming on your own and then debating your ideas. So I kind of have a process of what I do when I want to come up with ideas. My brainstorming process, which is start by yourself and go somewhere where there's a mild but not an enormous amount of distracting noise, so like a coffee shop. The reason to do this is because if your brain has little tiny kind of subconscious distractions, it will make connections better between things that your brain is trying not to connect because it thinks that they're wrong, they don't belong together. So a little bit of distraction is good, but not too much. Don't go to like a heavy metal bar, go to a coffee shop. So go there, and then start your brainstorm list of whatever you're trying to come up with, with an insane idea or two. So literally something awful that would never work, that would never fly.
[00:57:11] Force yourself to come up with a couple ideas that you won't use because they're too crazy or violent or horrible. You would never want anyone to see this idea. Start your list with that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:22] Right. Like heavy metal coffee shop that serves knives instead of beer.
Shane Snow: [00:57:26] Exactly. Yeah. That's perfect. Absolutely perfect. And one person per day gets stabbed and that's the risk you run and going to the coffee shop. Something awful like that, because what that'll do is you've now set a boundary on where this brainstorm can go, that anything that is shy of that awful violent coffee shop idea is something that you can consider now because you've already considered something worse. So that's just like a little trick to prime you, this is something you can do in a group ideation session too, even though I don't recommend it. Like starting off with a bad idea will help the group be a little better, but do it on your own.
[00:58:05] So now write down your ideas, brainstorm, come up with ideas, but then go down the list as you're putting together these ideas and for everyone asks, what would kill this idea? Why will this not work? And be brutal about it. So you want to actually debate, not every idea is a good idea and you want to actually take that as literally and seriously as possible. And actually write that down, what would kill this idea and out of that will actually come more ideas. So then go back to your list and brainstorm some more and force yourself to keep going. And then what you should do is you're going to come up with hopefully some ideas that you think are good. And if you do, then take these to some people, one on one to get them to poke holes in it.
[00:58:48] So go to your best friend who you feel very safe and comfortable with. Go to them first because they'll make you feel good about yourself. Then go to your worst enemy and invite them to poke holes in this thing, which hopefully they'll say with pleasure. Go to your mom, go to an expert in your field, go to some genius in another field, and one-on-one, ask them to critique whatever it is that you're coming up with. So now that your brainstorm is turned actually into this sort of refiner's fire and then go back to your list and brutally reject what doesn't work and refine what you've got based on that input from these people. And this is a much more involved and time consuming process than sitting around a table with fun drinks and those bouncy ball chairs that everyone can sit on and being like, “We're so cool. Let's come up with ideas.” Like that's way funner but not going to yield nearly as good a results as this kind of process where you're deliberately setting yourself up in a situation where you're inviting the distraction and the dissent and the debate in your own process, and yeah, so that's basically the idea.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:59] Yeah. I like this because it might not be as cool as, all right, this is brainstorming beer pong where we toss a football around in the office or whatever, but it's more effective, right? So we're actually arguing against our own ideas, which in normal brainstorming sessions is a big no-no. Going over another idea and hammering it down, it's like, well, I've had people go, I'm not even going to write down these ideas for you guys if you're just going to crap on them right afterwards. And I was like, well, it sort of makes sense to go through and figure out what doesn't work, especially if it's like this really obvious thing and then also leads to more creative expression. But that's the whiteboard method, you end up with all of these useless ideas that it's almost like who can shout out random words faster, right? It doesn't actually generate anything for me.
Shane Snow: [001:00:45] And then you feel like you have to pick something that's on that, we just did all this work as a group and now we have this list, let's pick one of them. And you're probably going to end up with something suboptimal if you have to pick from that list. And you see this happen over and over again where it's like, well, I guess the decision is this, it's going to be blue.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:04] And everyone hates it because it was just someone's random idea and even they didn't like it.
Shane Snow: [01:01:08] Yeah. And the worst is when it's like, let's put sticky notes on the wall of everyone's ideas that we're talking about, and then everyone go and vote. And you see people just start to cast their votes on the things that are getting the most tick marks. And so then you have just this herd mentality and then no one's happy or some people aren't happy and you're not actually putting the ideas through a proper gauntlet to vet them.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:33] Perfect. That is super useful. I don't think I've ever done a brainstorm session like that, but I do like the idea of being able to do it alone and then going to the team. The research and dream teams is actually pretty novel. You did a great job with the book and I'm looking forward to seeing more from you in the future, man.
Shane Snow: [01:01:51] Hey, thanks. I really appreciate it. It was a lot of fun for me to learn all of this stuff. So hopefully that comes through and anyone who picks it up has some fun with it too.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:02] Jason, good show, man. I mean he went the extra mile. I can't believe, imagine finding out that you had fake cancer but you didn't know it was fake.
Jason DeFillippo: [01:02:10] Oh man.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:11] Dump buy your wife after six and a half years, and being homeless also kind of juggling. I'm at the peak of my career, but my real life is in shambles. I mean what a mess. I can only imagine how much you learned from that. What a giant tug of war that must've been emotionally.
Jason DeFillippo: [01:02:28] Oh absolutely. But I took so much away from this show. I am so excited about it. I love the Ben Franklin technique. I was glad that he didn't go back with the loan me a book one because I was just terrified. I'm like, Oh no, don't tell me to borrow a book. But he didn't, he brought a new one, which is fantastic. And the how to win an argument, the people that actually don't talk are the ones that aren't going to be like long-term relationships, and I that I can actually use my day to day life every day. So it's like keep communicating. I love that. I really, really love that.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:00] Yeah, I think he's got a lot of really good ideas. Of course, also based on science, which are the only ideas that I usually care about. So great big thank you to Shane Snow. The book title is Dream Teams. If you enjoyed this one, don't forget to thank Shane on Twitter. That'll all be linked up in the show notes for this episode, which can be found at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. Tweet at me your number one takeaway from Shane. I’m @jordanharbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, and don't forget those worksheets. If you want to learn how to apply everything you heard today from Shane, make sure you grab those worksheets. Also in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast.
[01:03:35] I've got our Alexa Skill. If you've got an Amazon Echo, and you'll get a little bit of a refresher from some clips on episodes you've already heard or maybe a little peak at an episode you haven't heard yet and you can install that into your daily briefing, either through the iPhone app or by going to jordanharbinger.com/alexa, and you can log in and install it right there.
[01:03:54] This episode was produced and edited by Jason DeFillipo. Show notes by Robert Fogarty. Booking back-office and last minute miracles by Jen Harbinger. And I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. Throw us an iTunes review. If you've got an iTunes account, you know you got one somewhere. Those help as we rebuild, and instructions for how to do that are all at jordanharbinger.com/subscribe. I do share those with the team by the way. So is throw something nice in there and it'll get around.
[01:04:20] Don't forget to pay that fee and share the show with those you love and even those you don't. We've got lots of more like this in the pipeline. Very excited to bring it to you. And in the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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