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The Power of Friction; Let’s hear it for those Jerks

That jerk on the other team, the one employees complain about, may actually be helping rather than hindering. This “friction” as it is called is necessary and helps increase success in organizations. Michael Arena explains how it increases agility.

For years we have been taught that new market opportunities exist wherever there is friction. Business solutions that reduce customer friction can be incredibly successful. Just think about how Netflix came into existence. They were able to solve the problem of DVD rental late fees by providing a direct mail delivery service. Many other famous examples exist, such as Airbnb, who reduced the friction for owners to list and manage their rental properties and UberPool, who overcame the logistical friction for carpooling.

Now here is the twist, when it comes to friction inside organizations, some degree of it is necessary. That is, without friction we are doomed for complacency. Enter that jerk on the team next to yours, who serves to introduce tension into the organizational network. Stanford professor’s Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao have been evaluating the benefits of friction in generating organizational agility. Their research suggests that organization’s need to have a proper balance of friction, removing destructive friction and injecting constructive friction.

Read the full article here: The Power of Friction; Let’s hear it for those Jerks

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