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  • Published: 15 February 2024
  • ISBN: 9780241594889
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

The Friction Project

How Smart Leaders Make the Right Things Easier and the Wrong Things Harder




The essential roadmap for coping with friction at work, by the authors of Scaling Up Excellence

All too often, getting important things done at work is hard, soul crushing and convoluted. Too much precious time is spent wading through corporate gunk.

Friction eats away at our energy, creativity and productivity and makes business slow and unproductive. And yet so frequently, organisations make the wrong things easier to do, taking down guardrails when they should in fact hit the brakes. Over the past decade, Stanford professors Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao have made it their mission to understand this phenomenon.

Now, in this no-nonsense guide, they have assembled the very best of their collective wisdom. They show how to cut down unnecessary bureaucracy, overcome obstacles and banish the unhelpful systems that avert real progress. The Friction Project is essential reading, whether you're the CEO of a multinational, an employee dealing with difficult colleagues, or a freelancer seeking to streamline the way you operate.

  • Published: 15 February 2024
  • ISBN: 9780241594889
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

Praise for The Friction Project

Sutton and Rao take us on a delightful tour of bad emails, infuriating subscriptions and labyrinthine hiring processes - and they show us how to fix it all. Hard to put down and easy to like, this is a business book to savour.

Tim Harford, author of The Data Detective

This is the ultimate guide to diagnosing and fixing the problems in your organization. No one knows more about making work better than this pair of experts, and they've produced a remarkably insightful, engrossing, evidence-based, and actionable read. If every leader took the ideas in this book seriously, the world would be a less miserable, more productive place.

Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

A spectacular achievement. Sutton and Rao show that friction is the secret source of organizational failure -- and success. Full of practical advice, this book will make the world a better place.

Cass R. Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard University, and author, Sludge

Sutton and Rao show how leaders who pay attention to friction - which kinds are helpful and which are not - can equip these people with the right tools, build their trust, and make incredible progress as a result.

Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, former President of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, and author of Creativity Inc

Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao have spent the last decade studying the causes and remedies for friction troubles at a wide range of companies. They've distilled their lessons to help you and your team make the right things easier and the wrong things harder in your company. Every executive, investor, board member, and leader should buy The Friction Project.

Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn and Partner at Greylock Partners

Sutton and Rao have given us a thousand gems, each an invaluable insight on its own ... I guarantee that their profoundly humane arguments will win your hearts, change your behavior, and transform your companies.

Amy C. Edmondson, Professor, Harvard Business School, Author of Right kind of wrong: The science of failing well

The idea of leaders as friction fixers is dynamite ... Sutton's and Rao's insights in The Friction Project offer leaders at all levels important tools and real-world examples to recognize the role that both kinds of friction can play in their organization's success.

Shantanu Narayan, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Adobe

If you dream of freeing your people and organization to focus their time on what really matters, The Friction Project is the book for you. More than ever today we need more nimble, innovative, customer centric, and human organizations. Eliminating needless friction is at the heart of that quest, as Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao show in their wonderful new book.

Herminia Ibarra, The Charles Handy Professor of Organisational Behaviour, London Business School and author of Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, and Working Identity

A great and provocative read. As a business leader I never thought of leaders as 'friction fixers.' The Friction Project identifies when friction is and is not desirable. It's packed with real-world examples from varied organizations, their frictions, and above all, how the people who make repairs practice their craft.

Carlos Brito, CEO of Belron and former CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev

As I read this groundbreaking book, I imagined a future where every leader eliminates bad friction and harnesses good friction to build better organizations. Every manager MUST read The Friction Project to learn how, by leading through a friction lens, and using the practical solutions Sutton and Rao provide, they can create productive, innovative, and caring workplaces.

Tsedal Neeley, Harvard Business School; author of Remote Work Revolution and co-author of The Digital Mindset

Subtract friction and an organization will move faster, become more innovative and drive productivity gains. The Friction Project is a 'how-to' guide in a period of workforce transformation across sectors.

Donna Morris, Executive Vice President, Chief People Officer, Walmart Inc.

An entertaining and eminently practical guide by two Stanford professors about how to simplify, streamline and subtract the bad stuff that clogs up work and stifles productivity.

Financial Times