Episode 29

#029 - Nine Lies About Work: Series Overview

Published on: 22nd February, 2021

Today we're starting a brand new series where we will deep-dive on one of Igor's favorite books Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World.

In today's episode, we discuss the book, some of the impact it had on Igor's career, provide a brief overview of the lies, and discuss our initial reactions/roles moving forward.

  1. People care which company they work for
  2. The best plan wins
  3. The best companies cascade goals
  4. The best people are well-rounded
  5. People need feedback
  6. People can reliably rate other people
  7. People have potential
  8. Work-life balance matters most
  9. Leadership is a thing

If you are interested in following along, you can find Nine Lies About Work at any major bookseller. We're hoping to provide some color, experience, thoughts, and narrative about each Lie in order to inform our own thinking of our leadership style and hopefully share thoughts and ideas that are helpful to you as well.

This series is sure to create some healthy conflict and drama in the group so we're excited to go on this journey with you!

Thanks for joining us today and don't forget to hit the subscribe button or reach out at [email protected].


Robert Greiner 0:06

So Igor, today's a very exciting day.

Igor Geyfman 0:09

Oh, it is.

Robert Greiner 0:10

Today's the day we kick off our new series.

Igor Geyfman 0:13

Yeah, we we put a really lovely bow on the perma v series, Charles brought that to the group. And I personally got a lot out of it. So it was awesome.

Robert Greiner 0:24

Yeah, thank

you for that, Charles.

Charles Knight 0:26

Sure thing.

Robert Greiner 0:27

We've been talking about flourishing positive psychology for years, but I don't think we've ever gone so deep in it. So that was cool to have as a recurring theme at a time where I think at least for me, personally, it was really helpful to to revisit that concept. So thank you for that, man.

Charles Knight 0:42

You're welcome. Now, Igor, it's your time to shine to outshine me

with your series.

Igor Geyfman 0:48


Charles Knight 0:50

He has been waiting

Robert Greiner 0:50

This might kill our friendship. This might be the end of everything,

Igor Geyfman 0:55

I hope not, I hope one of the one of my real goals behind doing this particular series is that we are going to be talking about things that are, let's say, are debatable or controversial. And what I think everyone needs more in their life of is the ability to hold two disparate ideas in their head and see both the merits and the negative sides of those ideas, and, and not just have some sort of dogmatic adherence to a side. And we're going to be talking a lot about these concepts. But so what's the series, The series is about a book that I read, unsurprisingly, Charles brought the, the perma v book. And this is a book that I read a couple years ago, and it's called the nine lies about work.

Robert Greiner 1:47

Nine lies about work, a free thinking leaders guide to the real world.

Igor Geyfman 1:53

That's right. And what that might imply is that the people who believe these lies are not free thinkers,

Robert Greiner 2:00

or leaders

Igor Geyfman 2:01

or leaders, and

Robert Greiner 2:02

you're off on the wrong foot with me to start with that I

Charles Knight 2:05

was gonna say, so let's level set here, Igor, you've read the book?

Igor Geyfman 2:09

Yes. I love it.

Charles Knight 2:10

I have not read it. And we talked about me deliberately not reading it so that I can provide the personality traits take. Takes. Yeah. Robert, have you read the book now?

Robert Greiner 2:21

So I will be one chapter ahead. So I can't I've read the introduction. And right before, I'll be like, fresh on, gotta read, just having read the chapter. So I think what we're going to do is Igor will always take the position of the book, whether he believes it or not, I will take my, I guess, semi informed opinion, because I like I'll come into the conversation having some premeditated thoughts and feelings and notes about what we're talking about. And then Charles, you are just here to react, given your experience as a leader. So I think we'll get a good range of thoughts and opinions on this. But we all work for the same company, we have a lot of the same values. We do approach work differently, which we've talked about before, but I think this will help allow us to be a little bit more diverse in our thoughts and opinions here.

Charles Knight 3:15

And I like that. I'm excited about this setup, the way that we've got it set up. And Igor, I don't know if you know it, but you're quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald, the test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

Igor Geyfman 3:32

I did it before now I'm sure I have heard it. And I'm sure I'm plagiarizing it. But

Robert Greiner 3:36

you're in debate. Right. You got that from your debate days?

Igor Geyfman 3:39

I yeah, I was in debate, we covered a lot of philosophy. And also, have you ever taken The MBTI? You know, I'm talking about when I say that, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. Yeah. And mine is ENTP. they assign you four letters, basically. And there's 16 types. And if you go to 16personalities.com, you can look up all the types, and ENTP and I've taken this test now probably three or four times and I've always come up with the same result. And that personality type is called the debater. And on the site, they have a funny description of the debater personality type, and I'll just sort of read it here. An odd juxtaposition arises with debaters, as they are uncompromisingly honest, but will argue tirelessly for something they don't actually believe in.

Robert Greiner 4:27

That's totally you.

Igor Geyfman 4:30

That's a perfect description. Because I will write like, you give me a side and I'll be like, okay, and it's especially prevalent when everybody believes the other side if I'm surrounded by people, and they all just completely dogmatically believe in the same thing. I just, there's this urge inside of me to take a contrarian viewpoint. So that's why this is gonna go pretty well.

Robert Greiner 4:53

One letter off. I'm ENTJ, which is commander. That's right. Yeah. Which is kind of funny.

Igor Geyfman 4:59

Yeah, the J in your personality type usually unlocks the ability to be like a CEO and actually get things done. And the ENTP is usually more of like a visionary. Like they just that j lack of j prevents them from marshaling the troops. Yeah, they can inspire.

Robert Greiner 5:18

There you go. Charles,

do you know what you are? Off the top of your head?

Charles Knight 5:21

INTJ. So same as yours. Flip the E.

Robert Greiner 5:24

Albert Einstein was an INTJ. I really logistician?

Charles Knight 5:29

Yes, that makes sense. I like to think, I don't know

Robert Greiner 5:33

for it's better to be alone than in Bad Company. High accomplishment,

Charles Knight 5:38

present company excluded. I don't feel very introverted around y'all. But

Robert Greiner 5:43

anyway, there we go. Okay, so nine lines about work. My reaction to going through the intro, I'm a little bit skeptical. Yeah. Especially when you start to say, if you don't agree with me, you're not a free thinking person or a leader. You take delusions about the real world,

Igor Geyfman 6:00

you don't particularly have to take it that harsh. That's a reaction of anything else is, that's a very uncompromising reaction.

Robert Greiner 6:08

So why don't you give a little bit of an overview of the nine lies how the book is structured, I will say, this is either going to be a life changing book that informs the way I lead others, or dull waste of time, equivalent took a clickbait article. So it's going to be one of those two, I don't think it's going to sit in the middle anywhere.

Igor Geyfman 6:29

That's fair. That's fair. So the book is written by two gentlemen. And a lot of their experience and what they write about comes from their time working as, like pollsters, I think, working with Gallup, especially around like being a company engagement surveys. And so a lot of the data in a lot of the these, let's say, contrary in positions are these nine lies that they present, are really in light of their experience as employee engagement consultants. So that's where it's coming from.

Robert Greiner 6:58

So why don't you hit us up with the nine lies.

Igor Geyfman 7:00

The nine lies, and I do want to warn folks that the nine lies are a little click baity, and they're written very specifically. So like the words that they use in the lie matter a lot. And so here we go. line number one, Charles and Robert maybe can react to each lie, I'm grossed out or whatever it is. line number one. People care which company they work for. That would imply people don't care which company they work for.

Robert Greiner 7:31

I'm more interested in the people that I work with, and the kinds of things we're doing then the company specifically. So I could see that. Charles is smirking.

Charles Knight 7:40

I have no reaction.

Igor Geyfman 7:42


Charles Knight 7:44

How's Then have you other than I just want to dig in, right? Because I know that this is click baity, and you've caveated it to where the words matter. So it's okay. Well, I want to know what what underlies this lie and how they're gonna try to spin it on its head because that's what they're gonna do. They're gonna dispel the myths with some deeper truth. And so I don't know, reserving judges over judge reserving judgment,

Robert Greiner 8:08

instead of clickbait will use provocative to give them the benefit of the doubt. You know, I'm okay with that. Certainly captures attention use to back it up. Yeah, yeah.

Igor Geyfman 8:16

If somebody tells you, like, people don't care what company they work for it. That seems like a pretty contrarian sort of statement doesn't seem like a lie.

Robert Greiner 8:22

Seems contrarian Agreed. All right. What's the next one

Igor Geyfman 8:25

Lie number two, the best plan wins. I

Robert Greiner 8:29

completely agree. That's a lie.

Charles Knight 8:31

Yeah, same here. 100%.

Igor Geyfman 8:33

All right. line number three, the best companies cascade goals,

Robert Greiner 8:38

reserving judgment on that one. Yeah, we'll see.

Igor Geyfman 8:40

And in this case, that means the chief executive comes up with the big objective for a year. And then that objective gets sliced and diced to the executive team. And then that gets sliced to the VPS. And the directors and the middle managers and the employees and so on. So

Robert Greiner 8:55

we just talked about essential intent. So I'm sure there's some kind of argument here about vision, ambiguity, concreteness. When you say cascade goals, they probably have some kind of inspirational thing missing, that they're saying needs to be plugged back in, you know, but I don't know.

Igor Geyfman 9:11

Okay, go ahead. line number four. And then this has to kind of words in it that are interesting, is the line number four is the best people are well rounded.

Robert Greiner 9:20

I think that's just a silly thing to say about best and always and bad. Just, we'll see on that one. That seems like a very naive statement.

Charles Knight 9:30

I agree. I think you need both generalists and specialists in the world. And I equate generalist most closely with well rounded and so we need the Einsteins and the Ben Franklin's

Robert Greiner 9:41

and across what dimensions like what is well rounded mean?

Igor Geyfman 9:45

What is the best mean? Lie number five, people need feedback.

Robert Greiner 9:49

This one, I'm just going to lose it over. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. They're saying people don't need feedback. Yeah. And I think that's just stupid.

Igor Geyfman 9:58

People need feedback.

Charles Knight:

Yeah, I don't know.

Robert Greiner:

That that one thing right there would make me not read the book if we weren't doing this as a as an exercise, like a one star review. Yeah, what that kind of thing that's just really dumb.

Igor Geyfman:

Alright, so we're, we're more than halfway through line number six people can reliably rate other people. So think performance reviews and performance feedback, those sort of things.

Charles Knight:

I believe that is alive. I think it's very hard to rate other people.

Robert Greiner:

I'm on the fence on that one. I do agree that humans have biases, and it's hard to reliably and consistently rate other people that we deal with this every three months. At our firm, we do semi annual reviews. And so somebody's getting reviewed every three months. And man, it is really hard to go into have a discussion about one person at one level or another person at the exact same level, and try to suss out, like what needs to be worked on. And if one person is a better technologist, but the other one's a better relationship builder. How does that work out? They're on different clients doing different things like that's it's a hard thing to do. But I don't know that. I don't know that the conclusion should be don't rate people. So if they're talking about removing bias from a system or creating some kind of consistent framework to assess people or increase feedback loops, like I could very much get on board with that. But if they're going to go in a direction of people don't need to be, don't give anyone feedback, and then don't rate them at all. That's going to be tough.

Igor Geyfman:

I know you haven't read those chapters. But that is what they're saying. Like part of the argument for those for lie number five, and lie number six is around, you know, people don't need feedback, they need something else. And lie number six really challenges the idea of like, performance reviews.

Charles Knight:

That's not a that's not a new thing. But that's been around before I remember reading about people getting rid of performance reviews. But yeah, yeah.

Igor Geyfman:

What do you replace it with? Maybe we'll talk about that.

Robert Greiner:

Certainly not feedback.

Igor Geyfman:


not. So definitely not feedback.

Robert Greiner:

We're just winging it, man. I want to go work at this company, because I'll be able to get away with whatever I want. If I'm not getting performance reviews or feedback.

Charles Knight:

Just wait for lie number eight, Robert, and you're not gonna want to go work there.

Robert Greiner:

I purposely have not read into this. I've just read the intro.

Charles Knight:

Yeah. Just looked at the list of lies

Robert Greiner:

on your screen. Okay, cool.

Igor Geyfman:

Lie number seven. People have potential.

Robert Greiner:

They're saying people don't have potential.

Igor Geyfman:

They're not saying that. They're saying that people having potential is a lie.

Robert Greiner:

I think you've hit on an important point. Like you can't just take the opposite. That's right. A binary thing. Yeah. You shouldn't take the inverse. The conventional wisdom that people have potential is a lie.

Igor Geyfman:

That Yeah, they're not saying people don't have potential. They're just saying, but people having potential is a lie

Robert Greiner:

We'll see on that one.

Igor Geyfman:

All right.

Robert Greiner:

I need a good argument. Like if we are for wordsmithing, then

Igor Geyfman:

lie number eight. work life balance matters most.

Robert Greiner:


Charles Knight:

coming off of perma v. And

Robert Greiner:

I don't see how that can be a lie

Igor Geyfman:

Whoever these dudes consult, as far as employee engagement. Robert wants a list. So he can avoid those companies.

Robert Greiner:

So I can I don't see how that's true. Okay, good.

Igor Geyfman:

And then lie number nine, final lie. Leadership is a thing.

Robert Greiner:

So they want to put you out of business now too.

put you out of a job. So you don't need feedback. You don't need performance reviews. You don't need leaders. Are they saying leadership behavior?

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah. So I think that one does deserve some clarification. So when they dive into it, they really talk about that. Leadership behaviors or leadership traits are BS, and to tell somebody that to be a leader, you need to be more assertive. Or to be a leader, you need to be more extroverted, or to be a leader, you need to be more humble, or whatever adjective you want to use. All those things are BS, none of those like leadership traits, make a leader.

Robert Greiner:

I'm going to disagree with that. On the surface. I think that any strength applied in the wrong situation is a weakness. So I'm hyper assertive. But there has been times where I've wielded that sword in the complete wrong situation. And it's gone poorly. And I got feedback around that, which helped me adjust. But I look at any sports team has a captain has a coach, like any great thing that's been done in history. It's been because of a great team, and great leadership on that team to avoid inoculate against dysfunction. So I don't see how you can go and throw out all of the greatness that's happened in history due to really well known good leaders and the teams that they're able to mobilize. So we'll see I'm disagreeing violently on the surface, but I am open minded to discussing.

Igor Geyfman:

their asserting that leaders don't exist or leadership doesn't exist.

Charles Knight:

It's just an innate trait. It's a skill.

Igor Geyfman:

It's just not an innate trait, or learn trait.

Robert Greiner:

It's a learned trait. Leadership is a see as a sequence of behaviors that are learnable and improvable.

Charles Knight:

Yeah, that's what I call skill as I reflect on these. It even though I said, Hey, I'm gonna reserve judgment, I totally didn't. Like I judged every single one of these, I just didn't say anything. And that that in of itself is very fascinating because it just points to how quick we are to jump to conclusions with having no facts whatsoever. And

Robert Greiner:

Yep, even when people call you not a free thinker or a leader and make these specific assertions, I think you can help it, like this book is meant to be reacted to.

Charles Knight:


want to get a rise out of you, for whatever reason, I don't know if I how effective that tactic is. Because I think I would like to think that I'd be more open and receptive to just a straightforward logical argument, as opposed to a slap in the face, and then a scolding, because I'm believing these lies. But I just do think it's interesting, like I've reacted and judge the work life balance thing, because we just got finished talking about perma V, which is an important part of my life and learning. And, Robert, you reacted very strongly to the people need feedback. And people can reliably rate other people, even though these are provocative titles, and they're going to turn around and explain some nuance that is probably more true and agreed upon by you than not. And yet, we still have these very strong reactions. And that's, that's just really interesting. That happens all the time.

Robert Greiner:

You say people need feedback is a lie. And then you do some kind of magic with the English language to somehow call it something different. And it's still feedback, like, I'm going to be really disappointed. There should be a feedback is flawed, go this other direction. And if that's the case, then let's talk about it. I think they're wrong, like at least on three of these, but we'll see I have a fear here. So I think they're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. They say in the intro, there's a statistic, right, only 20% of workers are fully engaged. And even if they're half wrong, like that there's a systemic issue here that we're not getting the best in aggregate from our people. They're pointing their brainpower at the right problem, then they go on, and they say, hey, organizations like they've been doing these things wrong, we've come to the end of traditional management, it's been fully implemented, we can no longer get gains from that. And here's all these examples that and data and information we have that show how people are doing it wrong. And so what I think might be more effective is they've seen some bad practice some anti patterns, suggesting that to correct, those might be more effective than saying, let's just do away with these things and reinvent this landscape of leadership, or work that now we have to go and reconstruct all the nuance around it. So I'm wondering if that's the case here. And and I'm interested in digging into the nine lies, but I do think they're pointing at a very real problem. These two authors, Marcus Buckingham, Ashley Goodall, they have deep experience. So one fear I have is so you see this all the time on when you see YouTube videos, or articles about like interviewing for a job? It's not only have you not been in the position as the author to have interviewed someone before, you've barely interviewed yourself, like how are you going to give people advice in good faith, Marcus and Ashley have decades of leadership experience Deloitte, Cisco ADP Research Institute, Senior Vice President type titles, they've played in these big time leadership roles at large organizations in the past, and they've looked at the data. Well, we have our anecdotes, and experiences, we don't have data to back that up. And so I do think that they have some things going for them for this book. My expectations are high, though, because of their titles because of their experience. Because of their data background, they would be really disappointed that this was just a dull sort of rehash of conventional wisdom, or some kind of wordplay games to get you to read the chapter. But there's really nothing new in there. So we'll see. But I am cautiously optimistic about some of the arguments they're going to make because of the experience and data and preparation that was put into this book. You,

Charles Knight:

Robert what you

just did. I bet the vast majority of people don't do when they approach reading a book or reading an article or watching a documentary is to assess the credibility of the source. That could be the source material that provided the data that they're using in this book, or the people the author's their experiences. Because what you did is just said, Hey, even though I've reacted strongly negatively towards some of these things at the surface level, I'm going to try to suspend that for now. Because I believe that these people are highly credible, and they have maybe something very valuable to say that I can learn from, and that's why even though we have these reactions, we have to suspend them. put them aside. So we can try to learn that that's the only way we can learn. And I think that's a really valuable skill. Something that I've been teaching internally is that people need to understand why are they reading something? Like, why are you reading it. And before you read it, you should assess the credibility. And, Robert, you just laid that out really nicely while we're doing this. And, you know, going back to that, F. Scott Fitzgerald, quote, we can hold two opposing ideas in our mind, even if we vehemently disagree with one and with our whole being agree with the other, and still function. But it takes work, it takes effort, and this is the work that we're doing in real time. So it's kind of cool.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah. And going back to playing golf, when I went to a golf coach, had a horrible posture, horrible swing, you correct three or four things, it feels really awkward at first, but you hit the ball better, you hit the ball more consistently, your score goes down, and then over time, it feels natural. And then you go and you just keep repeating that process until you haven't honed and I'm totally open to adjusting my style. Like we we are in a position in life, in the economy in the world, in our professional lives, where things moving forward over the next two decades are not all going to look like they looked in the last two stuff that worked in the past won't work in the future. So I'm open minded to talk about I still my hypothesis going in, though, is that this book, cherry picks, or finds trends of horrible management practices, horrible management behaviors, packages them up, and offers alternatives to that bad thing. And maybe a better approach would be to call out those anti patterns or bad practice in these areas, outline how it's supposed to work, and make recommendations there. But the problem is that's already been done. Our heroes that manager tools do that much better than anyone, Peter Drucker, all the best business thinkers in the past, that's a well trodden path. So they really can't, they really can't do that. So I'm interested to see those nuanced arguments get into the discussion, based on our experiences, what we've seen work and not work, still get a little lost, though, in their free thinking leader. So they just say a free thinking leader is someone who embraces a world which the weird uniqueness of each individual is seen not as a flaw to be ground down, but a mess worth engaging with.

Igor Geyfman: prise was written like in the:

Robert Greiner:

the pre knowledge worker

Igor Geyfman:

pre knowledge worker

Robert Greiner:

on the factory

line, which widgets per hour, that kind of thing.

Igor Geyfman:

That's right. And so when McGregor wrote human side of enterprise, he talked about theory, x versus Theory Y. And the Taylor's theory is really Theory X. And Theory X assumes that people that dislike work, and they'll avoid it if they can, and they require coercion and control to get anything out of them. It sounds familiar. And theory, why assumes that people are motivated to work under the right conditions, they seek responsibility, they're imaginative, they're creative problem solvers, and people like work. And that work is just as much part of the human experience as rest

and play.

Robert Greiner:

And oppressive organizations and crappy leaders have ground people down from behaving like why exactly x.

Igor Geyfman:

And so that theme really seems to continue in this book. And there's something else that you mentioned, Robert, it was like, hey, they're packaging, extreme behaviors. They're surfacing them here as lies, and then they're countering them with better ways to do it. I don't think that's how this book was written. To me, what they took was, quote, best practices, what's most common in most companies, and they refute those things. Most companies believe in the plan, and then they talk about it in the book, they say it when you first take on a role, the most likely thing that your boss is going to ask you for is your plan. What's your plan for your new role? What's your plan for your team? What's your plan for your first 90 days? And the book and the evidence that they present refuse that they say don't do that don't ask for the plan. And they don't say planning is useless. But they are saying that the best plan doesn't let you win, but that most companies act like it does

Robert Greiner:

And we may have a problem with essentialism here. Right. So the author's say, extreme conformity is counterproductive that's in this that's an intro. That's what you're getting into. I agree. I agree with that the solution that trying to craft one around The professional fashion preferences of our organization and all the individuals it like is that the solution, I'm skeptical that like this may be a pendulum overcorrection as a way to reject or refute, again, throwing the baby out with the bathwater here,

Igor Geyfman:

what what they're what they're implying is that companies want predictability. And they want fungible resources. I can pluck out Robert, and I can substitute Charles, and it all still works. And it's predictable. I'm not going to have to do a lot of work to undo that.

Robert Greiner:

But that's not a new idea, man. Are you saying that

Igor Geyfman:

they're saying it's really bad for the company to try to seek that level of predictability, that level of conformity and that level of fungibility of penis?

Robert Greiner:

That's old news, that's old hat.

Charles Knight:

But what I don't like is that they do take such extreme positions on these things. And within a company, yes, you need some fungible resources. And in some cases, in certain roles, depending upon the job, you can do that, and you need that, and it's good, quote, unquote, good for the company. But nobody would agree that you need a fungible CEO, or Board of Directors, I don't know, it's not that black and white, right? There's all these shades of grey. And it's hard to make, I rarely say such broad sweeping claims, as these, like, companies are trying to ground down people to conform, like, no, not every company is trying to go towards extreme conformity. And so it makes me wonder, it's like, why are they taking such extreme views? Is it because the vast majority of companies are really mediocre, and they're trying to shock the point 1% of leaders who read the book into being a little bit better? Okay. You know, maybe that's plausible. It's a very interesting tactic that I wouldn't have never come came up with. But maybe that's a sign of the times, you know, where, because of our attention is so consumed by 24, seven news cycles and social media and increasingly shocking things. That's what they need to get our attention.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah, hey, look, you've

got my attention, you better deliver, you've crumpled up nine pieces of paper, put them on the cover, you hand draw free thinking above leaders guide to the real world, like the cover alone is, it's in your face. And then the lies are provocative. Like you've got my attention. Now, there's three or four that I reacted to where I'm like, I just completely disagree with that. Good luck. I don't know like that they better deliver man, or we're going to be one star reviewing this thing.

Charles Knight:

When we did the perma v series, I shared, hey, this book I read, and it was very impactful for me, Igor, I think you said something to that effect. Like you read this book. And it was maybe not, but I'm curious, like, how has this been impactful to you? Why do you think it's important that we unpack all of this controversy that we're uncovering here? Because that I just want to hear about what you learned and how you liked it, and why you think it's important to share, even though this is going to be painful for Robert. Robert smiles?

Igor Geyfman:

I didn't answer this, but I'll answer the question. Anyway, the lie that caused me the most discomfort and tension when I first read it was same as Robert, people need feedback. And I think part of that may be that Robert and I have been so indoctrinated by Mark, and Mike, and the feedback model that hearings, hearing the phrase, turning that around, we turn that around naturally, people don't need feedback. It sounds preposterous,

because it's not true for me,

Robert Greiner:

or any other peak performer.

Igor Geyfman:

Right? Like if somebody said, Igor doesn't need feedback, that makes me really uncomfortable personally, okay, because I don't need feedback.

Charles Knight:

I know that these are extreme. But there are times when you don't need feedback, whether you're not open to receiving it, because it's about time you got something going on. There are times though, when you don't need feedback. That's true for me at least. Once I've always sought out feedback, but

Robert Greiner:

well, then do you still need it though? You just don't want it right now.

Charles Knight:

And maybe that's the nuance here, right? It's like, Don't assume that you should just blindly give feedback.

Robert Greiner:

Oh, my gosh, if that? I hope not.

Charles Knight:

Igor's smirking over there.

Igor Geyfman:

As they wrote the nine lies they felt that they had to provide nine corresponding truths. And I don't want to I don't want to expose

Robert Greiner:

Don't ruin it. Don't ruin.

We're gonna we're going to talk about each truth as we talk about each lie. But yeah, the truth help illuminate. If you skip in the table of contents of the book and read the truths. You it. it eases the click bait feeling a bit, right because you start to better understand their CounterPoint. Because their counterpoint isn't. People don't need feedback. It's a little bit more nuanced. Most of the time, it's we're not going to talk about

we're not today. Okay, fine. We'll handle them one at a time. You gotta react fresh man. We've already gotten pretty much territory.

Charles Knight:

riddle me this then. Okay. So the CounterPoint that they offer? Did you agree with all of them? Or did you disagree with any of them?

Igor Geyfman:

It's a little bit it's a little bit more nuanced than that. Yeah, it's a little bit more nuanced than that.

Which, which I'm glad you won spoiler, Robert, or do we not no, I don't

Robert Greiner:

No. But I will say though, you've just set this thing up, you're so anchored to what's provocative, and then you're going to go try to put a nuance like, I really hope that they did that. Well, they say, there's a quote, the technological advances and management strategies that work to propel productivity in the past have been fully implemented, and are no longer contributing to productivity. In other words, whatever our current practices may be, they are no longer giving us much lift. That's a heck of a statement to be making right now. And my hypothesis, again, is we just do this stuff poorly. Like we can't treat knowledge workers like factory workers on an assembly line. Obviously, we've known that there is a human side to leadership. Obviously, we've known that. I think, though, that the issue here is dysfunction, lack of trust, and doing management and leadership poorly, because it's hard. Not, we need a whole new system and landscape to replace the hard work that's been done in the past. So that that's I'm

still hung up on,

Igor Geyfman:

but sometimes they go for the throat, because like lie number two, which is the best plan always wins. They very directly go after Peter Drucker, they say, hey, Peter Drucker wrote about management by objectives MBO. For a long time, that was super standard as a way to run the company MBOs are all about goal setting, and plans and so on. And they're like,


Charles Knight:

I don't see, I don't know, I don't know enough about Peter Drucker to know have they constructed a straw man argument of what Peter Drucker is saying, and if we went back to this goes back to the source, we were to read true, Peter Drucker, who does that these days? I don't, I haven't.

Robert Greiner:

Oh, I do,

Charles Knight:

would we find? Well, yeah, but that's my point is, are they just mischaracterizing Peter Drucker, and maybe the vast majority people are too, and they're trying to bring that to light. I'm open to this, because I think there, if you think about science, but let's get out of leadership, which is, I don't know, some people would say it's a science, other people would not. But if we just get into science, there has to be researchers, who are purely looking to advance general knowledge in the space, like to innovate in that regard. And oftentimes, those people by design will take contrary positions. And, and if they find something, they have to be provocative in order to get attention in order to shift the thinking of the conformists of the current body of knowledge. And I think the more we talk about it, I'm kudos to them, if that's what they're trying to do. And that's why they're taking this literary tactic to try to capture attention because they truly believe that they have something that is fundamentally different. That can I agree with you, Robert, like, you know, there's a lot of great stuff out there that we don't implement, or we implement poorly, and we need help. I'm open to hearing what they have to say. And I'm also open, I'm also open to being disappointed too. But that's okay.

Robert Greiner: s:

Igor Geyfman:

I'm gonna counter that with a quote from the beginning of the book. And it's a quote from Mark Twain

Robert Greiner:

do it.

Igor Geyfman:

And I'm gonna read it and Mark Twain's voice. It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know, for sure. That just ain't so

good thing. I'm proactively and preemptively siding with the demonstrated long term success of running exceptional organizations by the management practices espoused by created by socialized by Peter Drucker. So he's got time and success and, you know, increase of wealth across the world as wind in his sails for this argument. So like good luck if you're trying to undermine that.

Charles Knight:

Yeah, Robert, I don't know if you intend to be this way. You clearly sound like you're in the camp of Peter Drucker are you going into this assuming that the People are wrong and misinterpreting Peter Drucker or do you think there's a chance that they can point out a flaw or point out some sort of innovation that could build on top of what Peter Drucker has like, what's your

Robert Greiner:

I'm kind of reacting to these things individually. And I did say earlier, I still believe that they're pointed out the right problem. For whatever reason, only 20% of workers today are fully engaged. So obviously, those that came before us have not solved that problem to come in so hot and heavy, though. I'm skeptical. And then the more click baity and provocative these statements, or position get hey, you're not a free thinker. These are lies, there's, there's no dichotomy or balance in the language like that. Those are ticks against that, put them behind upfront, basically, how they're presenting it, we'll get into each one, I have a feeling I'll be pretty 50/50 with it. Like I think the feedback one's really going to be silly. But the other ones I'm fairly open to it. And one question I'll have that I want the book to answer. Maybe this will help. If I have someone on my team, who's late to every single meeting, that they have a key role to play in? How do I according to these authors, according to his book, How do I address that? And if I go talk to them about it, which apparently they don't need, what if they just say, Hey, I am who I am, I'm late to everything. That's how I stay creative. That's how I stay on the top of my game. So that's just me. Like, how is that supposed to work? I'm really skeptical along like, at some point, this has to be implemented and practical. We can talk about we can complain about, we can pontificate about why things go poorly in organizations, and what might be a way to fix a specific situation. But like these things have to work at scale, for them to be worth our time to go and implement. And so that's where I'm like, the more you sort of go at the throat of these established, well documented, well trodden paths, because some people implemented them poorly at one point in time, that's where my skepticism comes in.

Igor Geyfman:


I'm going to tell you that I think they're not going to tell you to not to go talk to them about it. But they are going to tell you to not give them feedback,

Robert Greiner:

which lies that that's what we'll be deep into the series by then

Igor Geyfman:

we'll be deep

into it, man

Charles Knight:

I don't kow if Robert is gonna make it through the series

Robert Greiner:

may not. So Igor, you've read the book, you're always taking the position of the bum.

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah, whether whether I agree with it or not. And I'm gonna do my best to present the case. And the evidence is laid out by Ashley and Marcus, for the audience and

for our group.

Robert Greiner:

Cool. Just love to know at the end, though, right, before we wrap on each one. Hey, did you just do you agree or disagree with the position you've taken? And why? So we'll give you a little bit of free time at the end there.

Charles Knight:

I've been thinking about this, Robert, because you said this a couple of times, you think they are pointing at the right problem of engagement.


Robert Greiner:

They're pointing out a very real and great problem that needs solving? Yeah, I do. I do think that's true.

Charles Knight:

Maybe that's a topic for another day. Because I think the way that we think about employee engagement, and these people might be behind how we think about employee engagement, because we do employee engagement surveys annually. And we have tools that allow us to gather feedback on a continual basis from all of our folks about engagement. And yet, all three of us know that a lot of those surveys and answers and even qualitative feedback that is received doesn't really seem to match reality. And if you really sit down and talk to somebody one on one, they're having a hard time and yet it doesn't reflect in the survey metrics, for example, and I don't know if

Robert Greiner:


Charles Knight:

engagement is the right, of all the problems out there within the world of business and leadership. I'm not sure I would agree that this is the you know, I'm not saying that you said this, right? Because you clearly didn't. But I wonder if there's a more important problem to go try to solve than employee engagement, because I think we do a crap job of defining engagement. And I don't know, what do you all think about that? Do you think employee engagement is a good proxy for what productivity are like I think that's part of the problem is defined through the lens of business, and outputs as opposed to something else, which is more human. I don't know. Just spitballing stuff. Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't do the series. We should still do the series. You just made me think, Robert, because you brought it up a couple times, like the problem of employee engagement, that might be a red herring

of some sort.

Igor Geyfman:

They might also be attracted to it because and this is one of the factors that they talk about in the book, as far as positive outcomes is lower voluntary termination.

Robert Greiner: gagement and they did this in:

Igor Geyfman:


Charles Knight:

That's helpful. That's good for me not not having read the book, right to know that these are meant to improve attracting and retaining high quality talent, which I think is a universal need across all human organizations. So I like it.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah. And I think they're saying to that, whatever metrics they've defined in that realm have been steadily decreasing every year.

Charles Knight:

Got it? Okay.

Igor Geyfman:

They use like an eight or 12 question, protocol to gauge employee engagement. So that's part of that tool. And then they do talk about it. And in the book that like the specific questions for that protocol.

Robert Greiner:

multicountry. Yeah, that kind of thing.

Igor Geyfman:

So next week, we're gonna tell people why nobody actually cares what company they work for.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah. And I think you'll find that as much as we like to think we're open minded. We're just really not. We're the most closed minded people we know, maybe, we'll see, Well, hey, this book got great reviews. It's

like 4.6 stars on Amazon.

Charles Knight:

Who trust reviews these days other topic, whatever, you pay people for that stuff.

Robert Greiner:

They're not robots. Gosh,

Charles Knight:

you hit a nerve. Somehow you didn't realize that.

Robert Greiner:

We should pay some. We should pay some people. We could review our podcast.

Charles Knight:

Maybe pay people this solicate questions, send them our way.

Robert Greiner:

Last thing, okay?

Charles Knight:

brush up on this concept of beginner's mind. Zen mind, beginner's mind. I don't know if y'all have heard that before. But it's this idea of there's a, it's a practice of suspending judgment. And we started the conversation talking about that. We've structured the series in a way where we can get different reactions from different levels of understanding of the material. And whether you've read it or not. And you're trying to take the book's position, or you're just being introduced to it like Robert, or you're ignorant like I am, we all have to work really hard to suspend judgment and just listen for the facts. And the argument, if there's any hope for us to have our minds changed or to learn something. Otherwise, it's just pointless. We should just not do this. And that,

Robert Greiner:

yeah. But when people said, Hey, Charles, the Earth is flat. Like when you saw that YouTube video pop up, you weren't like, oh, let me see their nuanced discussion about why they think the earth is flat. Like when you say people don't need feedback, like that's a flat earther level for me, professionally speaking. So I don't I can't I don't know that I can for that one. Like I agree on the best plan wins is a lie. Some of these I can get my head around.

Charles Knight:

You joke though, about us being closed minded. It's like this whole society is a bunch of closed minded groups of smaller and smaller people. And this is a skill that we're practicing here. And it is hard to suspend judgment and to listen and understand before jumping to conclusions and reacting and getting getting charged up. Like I feel charged up and emotionally energized and not super healthy way. It's not a bad way. But it's just this is exactly what happens when people see stuff.

Robert Greiner:

We're triggered professionally triggered, though,

Igor Geyfman:

I guess I was really hoping I could get at least Charles to the point of being belligerently opposed to all of these. And just be and be completely closed off to like any point of view other than the one that he's bringing in opposition.

Robert Greiner:

It's a long series, you might be able to,

Charles Knight:

I will do my best Igor will call that success.

Robert Greiner:

Hey, one other thing I want to make sure that we're demonstrating and practicing here is the ability to engage in healthy conflict in radical candor. We care deeply about each other. That's obvious. I want to get to the point in this series where we're regularly challenging directly. And what does a healthy, animated passionate conflict amongst colleagues Igor, I'm


Igor Geyfman:

I don't care what charts okay. Or I don't care what Robert says.

See ya.

Robert Greiner:

All right, y'all.

Igor Geyfman:

Let's do it. stoked, pumped.

Robert Greiner:


Thanks for kicking it off.

Igor Geyfman:


Robert Greiner:

Looking forward to it.

Charles Knight:

See ya later.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah, have a good week. Bye. That's it for today. Thanks for joining and don't forget to follow us on Twitter @wanna grab coffee or drop us a line at [email protected]

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About the Podcast

Wanna Grab Coffee?
Join us for weekly discussions about careers, leadership, and balancing work and life.
A podcast about all of the topics we discuss during our mid-day coffee breaks. We bring you stories, thoughts, and ideas around life as a professional, leadership concepts, and work/life balance. We view career and leadership development as a practice that spans decades and we are excited to go on this journey with you.