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How do you Spread Success?

Feb 20 8am PST
A Maverick Hangout with Bob Sutton

Bob Sutton, author, Stanford professor, co-founder of the d. school, on scaling excellence

It’s the most universal and intractable challenge leaders in organizations of every stripe in every realm of endeavor face: how do you spread success? How do you take local victories—profound insights, clever inventions, powerful connections—and weave them into the broader fabric of an organization? How do you replicate the mindset and approaches of the most productive, compelling, and creative individuals across a whole system? How do you scale the best and leave the rest?

That’s a question that Bob Sutton and his Stanford colleague Huggy Rao, have pursued with relentless rigor and deep curiosity for nearly a decade. They dove headfirst into the ocean of behavioral science research, journeyed into a rich variety of organizations, and plunged into the trenches with leaders and teams confronting thorny scaling challenges. The result is a masterwork: Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less.

Scaling Up is Bob’s sixth important book in less than a decade. He’s written about closing the gap between knowledge and organizational action, evidence-based (rather than faith- or fear-based) management), and how the best organizations develop and implement creative ideas. His more recent books, The No Asshole Rule and Good Boss, Bad Boss, offer up fresh thinking and engagingly practical pathways forward when it comes to being a decent human being and revitalizing your relationships at work.

Bob Sutton is one of the most provocative, practical, and profoundly human thinkers and writers in the realm of management today. He’s also an absolute delight to talk to—I never leave a conversation with him without a notebook bristling with insights and my energy flying high.

This Maverick Hangout explores the profound principles Bob and Huggy developed around successful scaling, explore the universe of instructive stories they collected, and share the powerfully practical lessons from their years of study, including:

  • Why it’s crucial to subtract as well as to add
  • How to make the right trade-offs between Buddhism and Catholicism
  • What it means to spread mindset, not just footprint
  • How to use appropriate control and process to conquer “bad bureaucracy”
  • Why slower is usually faster—and better
  • What it is about the people who propel scale
  • And, how do you get started from where you are today?

Check out Bob’s new book, Scaling Excellence, here and, if you’re not already a fan, visit Bob’s addictive, instructive, and entertaining blog Work Matters.

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