Robert Sutton is Professor of Management science at the Stanford Engineering School and researcher in the field of Evidence-based management. Sutton is also the best-selling author of “The No Asshole Rule.” What does it mean to live in a “no asshole environment”? It means to weed out the people who demean and make you and others feel horrible. He gives the science and craft behind how to deal with assholes, how to prune these people from your life and get out of negative situations.
But the question ever since that book has been:
“Help, I’m dealing with an asshole! What can I do?”
Sutton has heard that question asked in a thousand different ways. He answers the question in “The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt”. It shifts focus from building civilized workplaces to providing relief for anybody who feels plagued and pushed around by assholes.
The Asshole Survival Guide delivers a cogent and methodical game plan. Sutton starts with diagnosis—what kind of asshole problem, exactly, are you dealing with? From there, he provides field-tested, evidence-based, and sometimes surprising strategies for dealing with assholes—avoiding them, outwitting them, disarming them, sending them packing, and developing protective psychological armor.
Ultimately, this survival guide is about developing an outlook and personal plan that will help you preserve the sanity in your work life, and will prevent all those perfectly good days from being ruined by some jerk.
Chris Fussell starts the podcast explaining the process of becoming a Seal. The teams of the Special Forces do not select as much as they down select. Out of the 150 people who start a Seals class, maybe 25 will make it. The military uses rigorous training to sort out “who has it” and who doesn’t. People have to have special inherent skills and then they are nurtured to refine those skills. A good team is made up of individuals that complement each others shortcomings and are able to magnify each others strength.
Chris stresses that these men have all the same burdens that civilians have, they just have it coupled with combat stressors as well. They deploy for an amount of time and then come home to a wife, kids, and a stack of bills. Everyone, especially soldiers, need to have a cocktail of coping tools so there is a balance between work and personal life. You can’t be amazing at work and have your family falling apart. Things will start to unravel at work rapidly.
Chris was a young officer in 2004 when the conflict in Iraq started. This was his first full scale conflict. He had the misconception that there was a set plan going in, and that all they had to do was execute that plan. Chris quickly learned he wasn’t entering a stable environment. Everyone needed to be proactive and adaptive to the war zone.
Now that Chris is helping manage a company, he uses that experience to always adapt and readjust. He realizes he needs small teams with a rapid fire adaption mentality. People need to see a problem and intuitively react to it. While in the Navy Seals they re-strategized every 24 hours. There were 6,000-7,000 people around the world sharing a consciousness every 24 hours. The most seasoned teams were able to run with speed and autonomy without checking in because of this once a day communication. They were able to make decisions on their own and be highly effective.
Chris and Michael end the podcast discussing what makes a working relationship. Relationships are grounded in knowing other perspectives. We have to be willing to see things differently and know that both individuals, when there is a disagreement, could be right. When you are on a team and leading with the perspective that everyone is part of your family, it turns teams into a more giving and trusting environment.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
Nature vs. Nurture
Learning from failure
Synchronicity between data and leadership
Zealots and martyrs
“Treat everyone on the battlefield like they are your mother.”- Chris Fussell