Superbosses

This morning, I’ve made a cup of tea ☕ and will re-read Sydney Finkelstein’s remarkable book “Superbosses.” And so, I thought I’d share a story about the book 📘 itself.

“Superbosses” starts with a counter-intuitive observation: Conventional wisdom says that high employee turnover is bad. Something to be avoided at all costs. But Syd made an observation.

There some famous leaders who have exceptionally high turnover. And yet they still manage to always have great talent:

🎭 Lorne Michaels, producer of Saturday Night Live
🌎 Jon Stewart, then-host of “The Daily Show”
👩‍🍳 Alice Waters, chef at Chez Panisse
💻 Larry Ellison, co-founder and CEO of Oracle

All of these leaders had high turnover.

Great people worked with them for a while.
Then these “stars” left to do other really cool things.
But the business continued to thrive.
New hires turned out to be great.

These leaders seemed to have an endless supply of great talent.

What was going on?

Was there something different about them as leaders?

Syd is a professor at The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

And so he shaped this observation into a research question.

📃 He made a list of leaders who had very high turnover *and* consistently great talent pool.
💬 He interviewed people who had worked for these leaders.
🔎 He looked for patterns among these leaders.
🧩 And he found patterns.

For those insights, go read the book itself.

It’s well worth your time.

What I want to call out is Syd’s counter-intuitive observation.

His big “aha!”

His insights began when he realized there was a pattern that didn’t fit the conventional wisdom about turnover.

That insight sparked ✨ his thought leadership.

How can this apply to you and your field?

👀 Look for unusual patterns.
❓ Question results that don’t fit expectations.
🏃‍♀️ Go talk to the right people.

It’s a path to creating new thought leadership.