How I Found Myself Riding In @KristianStill’s Car

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Photo by stvcr via CC (BY) license

Photo by stvcr via CC (BY) license

For weeks now, I’ve been driving to work with Kristian Still. I just didn’t know it.

It wasn’t in my car (I don’t own one).

It wasn’t in a carpool or in his car (He’s in the UK. I’m in San Francisco).

It was through my podcast, Curious Minds.

Turns out Kristian’s been listening to my podcast during his commute. He’s a school leader, and he wrote an inspiring blog post about episodes that jarred his thinking.

In a previous post, I talked about the value I place on peer-to-peer learning. I think it’s one of the fastest, most enjoyable ways to learn new skills, tools, and ideas. In fact, I consider it a social learning shortcut. It’s why I created Curious Minds

I think Kristian’s blog post is a great example of this kind of learning, which is why I wanted to share some of his reflections. In particular, he focuses on five recent interviews and ponders: 

  1. How Jonah Berger’s research on the hidden forces that shape our behavior offers alternatives for reporting student achievement.
  2. How Liz Wiseman’s discussion of Rookie Smarts can reassure anyone who’s leading.
  3. How Anders’ Ericsson’s research on peak performance emphasizes deliberate practice and expert teachers.
  4. What Dan Ariely’s research on dishonesty means for supporting young people in making good decisions.
  5. How Greg McKeown’s discussion of essentialism has led him to focus more and do less.

His reflections jarred my own thinking:

Jonah Berger’s insights on performance and proximal peers have changed the way I think about performance and growth. When I’m learning something new or working to get better at something, I compare myself to someone just a bit more accomplished than I. It feels more doable as I strengthen my skills and gives me some quick wins along the way.

Dan Ariely’s research on the influence of environment and peers is changing how I think about situations we put each other in. We hold such high expectations of performance and behavior and yet we rarely question environment and the triggers embedded in it. What if we designed work, home, and school environments with that information in mind?

Finally, Greg McKeown’s insight that it’s impossible to have more than one priority at a time has been life changing. While my behavior hasn’t yet caught up to my awareness, I’m certainly paying more attention to the fact that I’m still living in the plural.

Kristian, thanks for listening and for taking the time to share your thoughts!

Curious Minds’ listeners, keep your stories coming (and know that I won’t share them without your permission). As always, thanks for listening!

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  1. Kristian Still on July 26, 2016 at 4:25 am

    Without question – Curious Minds is a must listen for anyone leading, it is easy-listening-learning.

    Gayle (and the interviewees) thank you. I honestly believe the podcast will change and improve the way I lead moving forward.


  2. Meena Naik on August 4, 2016 at 5:05 am

    Invaluable-your insights