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The HFS OneOffice™ Digital Symposium featured several enterprise business and technology leaders, analysts, and service providers sharing their stories about grappling with market uncertainties and persistent business challenges in the pandemic economy. While all had astute advice and perspectives for our audience of over 1,100 professionals, award-winning Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino came to us with an “out of the box” topic about navigating change in our organizations. Francesca’s keynote session, Rebel Talent, based on her recent book with the same title, was a true highlight for Day 2 at the #HFSSymposium.
Francesca’s research team had been hearing through the last 15 months how people were experiencing work—some were truly thriving, but many were starting to feel burnt out and stressed. In fact, thousands of employees across organizations saw their experiences and job satisfaction decline. Francesca believes that one mindset potentially holds the key—the ability to undertake constructive rebelliousness.
Francesca argues that while you’d typically be put off by “troublemakers” in a company setting (who wants to work with that jerk?), they can be interesting. Rebels push the boundaries and can set themselves up for success by breaking the rules constructively. These are people who look at crises and see opportunities. During a very painful time in the pandemic, they thought, what could I be learning at this moment that will help me and others in the organization?
Rebels embrace vulnerability. They are happy to admit they don’t know. They don’t jump to decisions even if they feel expert—they keep the broad view. They remain curious and stay engaged. Curiosity turbocharges innovation. Rebels ask the why question, and that’s contagious. They embrace the unknown and accept the lack of comfort of living with ambiguity.
Here are Francesca’s top three takeaways for how to channel your and your team’s inner rebel talent for good:
We talk a lot about innovation, but Francesca’s talk of rebel talent shows us how to create the capacity for innovation. Being vulnerable and curious are leadership traits that will serve you far beyond expertise and experience. Test how well you are doing by asking yourself, “Am I the captain that my crew would choose as its leader today?”
You can read other POVs and a comprehensive ebook about the Symposium, plus watch video highlights of the two-day event, here.