Wednesday 14 October 2009

Professor Lynda Gratton

Glow: How you and your team can radiate with energy, innovation and success

Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London

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Dressed glamorously on-brand in purple, Professor Lynda Gratton took to the stage to show the London Business Forum how to ‘Glow’. A more personal take on her bestseller Hotspots, Glow is, Gratton explained, her first in-depth study into personal development.

In her last address to the London Business Forum, Gratton demonstrated how companies should and can form teams that buzz with energy and inspiration (you can read the review at This time the focus was on the individual role in the work place, what you can do “to feel more energised and more innovative.”

Central to the concept is ‘The Story of Fred and Frank’, both are given the same project but both approach their task entirely differently. When Fred found out that he had been given this mammoth project to do “his anxiety increased” and immediately he set to work and told everyone that he must not be disturbed. “Fred laboured away for weeks and weeks,” Gratton told the London Business Forum. Yet, when he had finished, what he produced was “fine, it was adequate but it wasn’t great.”

By contrast, Frank’s first reaction was to think “who do I know that has done something similar?” He rang colleagues and contacts for advice and ideas. This collaborative spirit meant that his completed project was much more successful and insightful than Fred’s. Although Fred does have a high IQ and also EQ (Emotional Quotient) what distinguishes Frank from Fred is Frank’s SQ or Social Quotient. Frank recognises the value of his networks.

To ‘Glow’, argues Gratton, you must recognise the value of your networks, “those around you are your resources not your competitors.” This is the positive message that both Gratton’s Hotspots Movement and Glow push. For innovation to happen individuals must see the potential of collaboration which is much more in line with the changing world.

There was also a warning for the London Business Forum. Gratton explained that she is often asked what someone should do if they are unhappy in their job. “Leave!” she exclaimed, “Because the opposite of glowing is freezing.” From a personal development perspective it is essential to avoid “the big freeze,” as in this state there is no cooperative mindset and subsequently innovation cannot happen.

To Glow at work, Gratton concluded, individuals must recognise that they cannot succeed on their own. It is crucial that you reflect on your own knowledge and skills base and search out ways to build social and business networks that provide a way to tap into the knowledge and expertise of others. This knowledge share breeds innovation and means that you can offer greater value in your own work.