WorkLife with Adam Grant
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Arianna Huffington: So, April 2007 I actually collapsed.

Adam Grant: That's Arianna Huffington. Two years earlier, she had started "The Huffington Post." Now she was lying on the floor of her office in her New York apartment in a pool of her own blood.

AH: I had just gotten the news that I had been picked as one of "Time's" 100 most influential people and as I came to in my pool of blood having broken my cheekbone, I literally thought to myself, "Oh, so that's what success looks like."

(Laughter)

Because it was such a juxtaposition of how I was doing in terms of the world and how I was really doing.

AG: Her sister rushed her to the hospital.

AH: After I collapsed and went through the whole round of medical tests and MRIs and trying to find out what's wrong with me, did I have a brain tumor, did I have a problem with my heart, one of the doctors said to me, "I have diagnosed you with civilization's disease: burnout. And there's nothing the medical profession can do for you. You have to change your life."

AG: Preventing work from overtaking your life seems harder than ever. But it might actually be easier than you think.

(Music)

I'm Adam Grant and this is WorkLife, my podcast with TED. I'm an organizational psychologist. I study how to make work not suck. In this show, I'm inviting myself in to some truly unusual places, where they've mastered something I wish everyone knew about work. Today: setting boundaries so your work life doesn't become your whole life. Thanks to JPMorgan Chase for sponsoring this episode.

I like work. All right, I love work. In college, my roommates complained that I wasn't fully present for their parties because I was too busy writing my thesis. Before I met my wife, my idea of a fun Saturday was working from 7am to 9pm. And the thought of leaving an email unanswered causes me physical pain. I've been called a workaholic. Is that so bad? And if so, should I be setting more boundaries between work and life? For thousands of years, there were natural boundaries between these two modes. People farmed by daylight, not at night. But then the industrial revolution brought machines and electricity. Suddenly, there were fewer limits on efficiency and productivity. We could work more and more hours. Today, it's gone even further. We're constantly connected by text. Always on email. Which is a big reason why Arianna Huffington managed to work herself to exhaustion.

AH: The thing about machines and the same thing about software is that the goal is to minimize downtime. I mean, sales force has an ad out about a new product and they say 99.9 percent uptime. That's fantastic for software and it's fantastic for machinery but the human operating system is different. Downtime for the human operating system is not a bug, it's a feature.

(Laughter)

AG: Well, I guess, you know, it leaves me curious about whether you actually work less today. Because, Arianna, you're still the fastest responder of anyone I know to emails and calls.

AH: It's not like my life is less active or I've slowed down.

AG: She's been working this compulsively since she was a kid.

AH: My mother says that for my fifth birthday party I sent away all the children because they were interfering with my reading.

AG: No. At five?

(Laughter)

AH: At five, yes. I mean, I'm sure I was reading probably coloring books but whatever it was, I felt this was more important than socializing at that moment.

Nancy Rothbard: What we find is that those kind of unhappy workaholics we think of, people who are obsessed with their jobs but actually don't love them, those folks really are at higher risk.

AG: That's my colleague Nancy Rothbard, a leading expert on how people manage the boundary between work and life. Nancy finds that unhappy workaholics have higher risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. But she discovered another kind of workaholic — an engaged workaholic.

NR: People who do feel compulsion and some guilt when they're not working but who also absolutely love their jobs. Who are engaged in it, who are passionate about it, who find meaning in their jobs. And so for those folks who have both those kind of workaholic tendencies but also love their jobs, they're buffered from the negative risk of workaholics.

AG: Yes! That's exactly what I was hoping to hear.

NR: Yes, Adam, you are the classic engaged workaholic.

AG: Yeah, I guess only a workaholic would do a show about work.

NR: That's right.

(Laughter)

AG: I've never liked this idea of recovery. In part because I think it frames work as something stressful and I don't want to detach.

NR: You don't need recovery because you don't find the work upsetting. You find it joyous.

AG: Yeah, it's like saying, you know, "I'm going to go to the movies and then I need to recover afterward." Why would you do that? You went to the movies because you were excited about it, it was fun.

NR: Sometimes it's a bad movie.

AG: Which is why I'm begrudgingly starting to wonder if even engaged workaholics need to disconnect from work. You can overdo it. And it will catch up to you eventually. After her wake-up call, Arianna decided she desperately needed more boundaries and more sleep.

AH: I get eight hours 95 percent of the time because that's my optimal time for me to wake up fully recharged. I prioritize little tiny breaks during the day and I'm very absolute about my end-of-day and beginning-of-day rituals. Turning off my phone, which for me is the ritual that declares an end to the day. And in the morning, never rush to my phone as the first thing I do. Even if it's just taking one or two minutes to set my intention for the day — what do I want from this day — before I go to my phone which is everybody's agenda for me.

AG: I have a could of colleagues who have been studying workaholics. There's a group of people that they call engaged workaholics. Is that you?

AH: Oh, I love it. I absolutely 100 percent love it. I don't really have a distinction between my work and my life. But I love it much more when I have taken time to recharge.

NR: I grew up listening to stories about work. I grew up thinking that it was really normal to talk about work, to have these workplace conversations at the dinner table.

AG: That's my colleague Nancy Rothbard again. Her family was in the furniture business.

NR: So when I worked in the business, I was working alongside my grandparents and my uncle and my cousin and my great aunt. And you know, I was around my family a lot. And so I knew about all sorts of issues of work motivation and you know, problems with the warehouse and issues with the drivers and accounting issues. That was all part of our everyday conversation and it was really as natural to me as breathing.

AG: When Nancy was in grad school, she started doing research on the spillover between work and life. And she found that people had different ideas about whether work should bleed into life.

NR: The way that people navigate that boundary between work and personal life really varied quite a bit.

AG: If you like to blend work and life, you're an integrator. Like Arianna and Nancy's family.

NR: People who really, really have a very strong desire to integrate the two, to keep them more blurred and to have a lot of easy transitions between the two domains.

AG: On the other end of the spectrum, there are segmentors.

NR: Thinking about work and their non-work lives as being this very separate space where you couldn't really cross and if you did, it was inappropriate. Or distracting.

AG: If you're a segmentor, you prefer very clear boundaries between work and life.

NR: I've met some segmentors who — what they do is they keep their key chains separate, so they have a work key chain and a home key chain.

AG: No!

NR: Separate key chains for home and work.

AG: That's crazy. I love it.

NR: Yeah. People who are extreme segmentors will also not have pictures of their family in their office. They won't bring their family to the company party.

AG: During one project, Nancy met a firefighter who was a strong segmentor.

NR: When he would go home after his shift, he would wear flip-flops because he didn't want to wear his firefighting boots and take them into his house. And what he also said is, when he would get home he wouldn't touch or hug his kids or his wife until he had taken a shower and changed his clothes. So he physically wanted to detach from work before he felt like he was literally clean to enter the home.

AG: Was that just a germ thing or was there something also more symbolic about it?

NR: No, it was not a germ thing at all. It was totally symbolic. So it was a completely symbolic recognition that he was shedding ... the difficulty of his job before he would enter the sanctity of his home.

(Music)

AG: If you're more of an integrator, you're perfectly happy to mix work and home. In one study, Nancy found that integrators were more satisfied and committed when their organizations offered on-site child care. But segmentors had a strikingly different reaction.

NR: The menu of options didn't really help for segmentors. So if they have access to on-site child care, that actually bothered them. Even if they weren’t using it themselves, just the fact that other people ...

AG: Why?

NR: Because I think it was a representation of the company's values. The fact that other people were using this and bringing their children to work seemed to them to be a violation of what they wanted and what they thought was appropriate. And so it was a signal that the company's culture was not congruent with their beliefs and values.

AG: So even if I have kids, if I'm a segmentor, I don't want other people's kids around?

NR: Yeah, because if I have kids and I'm a segmentor, then I've got a plan for how I'm dealing with my kids and it does not involve my company.

AG: Oh.

NR: And so my expectation is that that's what you would do, too.

AG: Does that mean that the segmentors feel like it's their place to force other people to segment?

NR: I don't think that they actively feel like that, but I think that it just bothers them. And it's really hard for them to get over that. Integrators were much more accepting of segmentors.

AG: So, when we think about technology, do you think that the advent of smartphones and email and all these devices that allow us to be connected 24/7 has made it harder to be a segmentor?

NR: I absolutely think that that is the case. The expectation that we be connected and that we don't detach has become much more the norm and the default. One of the benefits of segmentation is that people who are segmentors actually report higher levels of well-being than integrators.

(Music)

AG: Boundaries come naturally to segmentors. But integrators need them, too. Especially since the modern world of work is reinforcing their tendency to blur the lines. That's why Arianna Huffington started finding ways to disconnect from work. But she didn't stop at changing her own habits. After a trip to China, she realized this was a problem worldwide. So she ended up launching a whole new company — Thrive Global, to lower stress and enhance well-being. Meanwhile, governments are creating policies to make sure that people can disconnect from work. Like in France, which has legislated a 35-hour work week. Or in New York City, where a bill has been introduced to keep employers from punishing employees who unplug at night or during weekends.

AH: I think it's very hard to legislate these things. People are going to do what they're going to do. We need to change beliefs at the individual level and change beliefs at the corporate level and when we do that, we are going to make these changes organically and sustainably. Because you can have the laws but it's so easy to ignore them. Especially at the individual level.

AG: However you feel about your work, everyone needs boundaries. And there are some simple but surprisingly powerful steps that you can take to set them. More on that after the break.

(Music)

This is going to be a different kind of ad. I've played a personal role in selecting the sponsors for this podcast because they all have interesting cultures of their own. Today, we're going inside the workplace at JPMorgan Chase. When we think about work life, we don't spend enough time considering people who sometimes don't get the chance to go to work in the first place. Henry Dierds: Hello? Is this an appropriate volume for me to be talking? OK, cool. I'll try to maintain this level.

AG: That's Henry Dierds. He's a software developer at JPMorgan Chase.

HD: So it's like taking a big problem that's complicated and poorly defined and then breaking it down into a series of steps. And then breaking those steps down into a series of smaller steps until each of the individual components of your problem can be replaced with a line of computer code or a function that you could write. That's the thing that I'm best at.

AG: More than 80 percent of people on the autism spectrum are unemployed. But at JPMorgan Chase things are a little different. For the last three years, they've run an Autism at Work program actively recruiting employees on the autism spectrum like Henry. HD: I was diagnosed with autism when I was very young and that was kind of helpful because it meant that I could sort of build on my coping mechanisms for a very long time.

AG: Leaders at JPMorgan Chase realized they were missing out on a lot of talent. So they started placing less weight on interviews and more emphasis on job skills. HD: In the feedback that I got from the interview that I went to for my internship it was like, you struggled a little bit with some of the aspects of the group exercises, but we understand that the fact that you were able to do as well as you did is in of itself impressive given your condition. And that makes me really, really happy, because I'm really, really good at what I do.

AG: There were a few awkward moments.

HD: I ended up making sort of a social faux pas, having misunderstood something that was apparently very obvious. I used to sing "American Pie" by Don McLean at my desk all the time. And it would really, really grind the gears of my coworkers.

AG: So his boss, knowing Henry had autism, gently pointed out that he might want to sing someplace other than his desk. HD: Once everyone understood what I needed, it was just, "Oh, Henry, can you stop?" And I was like, "Yeah, cool, that's totally fine." Then it became something that I do outside on the campus while I was on break. It made me feel sort of safe and accepted, I guess.

AG: And with this kind of support, Henry and others with autism thrive at JPMorgan Chase.

HD: I think it's really important for people to believe that they can fit into the workforce. And I think, with autism, looking at the terrible statistics for employment for a lot of people on the spectrum, it's very easy to believe that it's just not something that you're cut out to do, and it could be the best thing you ever do.

AG: The Autism at Work program now spans six different countries with 80 employees. Here's James Mahoney, who leads it. James Mahoney: I think sometimes people think Autism at Work is entry-level work. But we're also at the associate level and we're at the vice president level, which is remarkable that we're hiring people to manage people and they themselves are on the autism spectrum.

AG: Because Autism at Work is also smart business.

HD: This is incredible. Sort of like, 10, 15 years ago, the notion of an Autism at Work program would have been mad, right? It's fiscally irresponsible not to work with people who have autism. And if we're not hiring them just because they're on the spectrum, then we're not getting the best people for the jobs.

AG: JPMorgan Chase is looking for people from all backgrounds to help create the next wave of products and solutions. They're helping millions of people and companies of all sizes achieve their financial goals every day. And you can be part of that at JPMorgan Chase. Explore career opportunities at jpmorganchase.com/careers. Technology doesn't just intrude on our home lives. It interferes with our work lives, too. Which means we need boundaries when we're at work. A couple of decades ago, this was the soundtrack to the life of anyone with a computer.

(Modem connecting)

(Computer voice) You've got mail.

AG: Now you get a whole symphony on your smartphone.

(App notifications)

It's easy to groan about how annoying it is or maybe even feel stressed. But recent studies show it's even worse than that. If you use an electronic device during a class or meeting you learn and contribute less. And so do the people sitting near you. And according to one experiment, just having your smartphone on your desk reduces you own working memory by 10 percent. Even if the phone is just in airplane mode. It also makes you perform five percent worse on an intelligence test. Just seeing your phone there is enough to send your mind wandering. And it makes you dumber. So we look for ways to avoid these distractions. Film director Christopher Nolan bans cell phones on sets. I run an unplugged classroom, except for students with disabilities. And you've probably seen some email autoreplies designed to keep the outside world from creeping in. Not long ago, I sent an email to Jon Haidt, a fellow psychologist and got this auto-response:

Jon Haidt: At the insistence of lawyers for Penguin Press Jonathan Haidt has entered a writers' protection program. He has encased himself in an electronic bubble and cannot emerge until he hands in the final draft of a manuscript for a book that is already being sold on Amazon. Email can enter the bubble and he will read your email but he is only permitted to send three emails out of the bubble each day. And any that express a willingness to read any attachment or talk to anyone will automatically be deleted by the program, unless you are a student at NYU or a first-degree relative.

AG: So, has Jon managed to limit himself to three email replies a day?

JH: No, certainly not. But basically what it does is it allows me to lower people's expectations and then it's very easy to exceed them with a quick response. I've done it a couple of times for overload. It's an obnoxious thing to do because everyone has too much email.

Jason Fried: "No" is such a liberating word.

AG: That's Jason Fried, the CEO of Basecamp a software company that makes project management and team communication easier.

JF: "No" is one of the few things that can actually buy you time. It's such a powerful word because whenever you say no to something, you gain time. And you know, everyone is always looking for more time. That's what everyone wants — more time.

AG: Basecamp has been profitable every year since they launched in 2004 and Jason works 40-hour weeks. Less in the summer. Almost everyone there works remotely. The company pays for their vacations and for a sabbatical every three years. They don't do meetings. Kind of funny if you think about it. They work on software that helps teams communicate, but not in the ways that we're so used to: fast, immediate, in your face.

JF: The idea that whatever I have to ask someone is more important than what they're working on is a flawed notion. And that's what happens in a lot of companies, where everyone's interrupting each other and their days get chunked up into small bits of 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there, so no one has any time to do any work anymore. So they do it late at night, they're working longer weeks and they do it on the weekends. It's not because there's more work to do, it's because people can't get work done at work anymore because of all these interruptions and distractions.

AG: So at Basecamp they want people to have space for deep work. To get into the zone that psychologists call flow — that state of total immersion where you're so absorbed in a task that you lose track of time, place, even yourself.

JF: Work requires uninterrupted stretches of time to get into the zone and get work done. I've always compared it to sleep. If you were to ask someone if they got a good night's sleep and then they describe their night as "I was woken up every 15 minutes," no one would ever think that that was a good night's sleep. I think of it as REM work and REM sleep are similar things where you really get into it and that's where the good stuff happens, but it takes you a while to get into that zone, you don't just jump into it immediately and if you're constantly being stopped from getting there, you have to start over again.

AG: There's a study that demonstrates the power of setting boundaries and the challenge. In a Fortune 500 software company, engineers were constantly behind because they were constantly interrupting each other. Finally, they set a quiet time policy: no interruptions Tuesday, Thursday or Friday before noon. Two-thirds of the engineers saw a spike in productivity. But over the course of the year, they started slipping into old habits. They found it really difficult to maintain the boundary. And when it comes to work-life balance, Jason knows it's not enough for individuals or teams to manage their own boundaries. Leaders need to think about the tone they set at the top.

JF: If people at the top are putting in crazy hours and they're always working, then of course people down below who want to move up are going to see that as an example and go, "This is how I have to do it, this is how they got there or what they want from other people." So, I think it's our responsibility to set that example and be just 40-hour week, eight hours a day, not responding on weekends, not chiming in late at night. If I happen to text you and you get back to me at 11 o'clock at night, that would be a problem. You're not drawing proper boundaries and you should recognize that you don't need to get back to me until the next morning.

AG: Other companies are catching on. Multiple banks have shut down badge access and email log ins on weekends. If you work at Daimler, there's a program called Holiday Mail. When you go on vacation and someone tries to email you, they get an autoreply saying the email has been deleted with the contact info for someone who is in the office. And a Dutch design firm encourages people to stop working at 6pm by having their actual office furniture rise to the ceiling on cables. If you're not done working, I guess you just have to climb on your desk and enjoy the ride. But these examples stand out because they're rare. If you're like most people, you end up getting pulled into work at all sorts of random hours.

Dan Calista: It felt like Sunday was a new Monday. You're basically never off.

AG: This is Dan Calista. He's the CEO of Vynamic, a health care consulting firm in Philadelphia with over 100 employees.

DC: I was on vacation, I was with my family. I went and checked my device, I saw an email from my colleague. The next thing I know, my kids are with me, saying, "Dad, hello, Dad! Earth to Dad!" My mood immediately changed, like, "What happened?" And you know, my colleague didn't mean to make that happen, but, you know, if you think, you're on a soccer field, you're spending time with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you're doing something else. Do you want that moment to be more connected and genuine? And wouldn't it be even more powerful if you weren't getting interrupted during different hours?

AG: To set boundaries on email outside work hours Dan created a pretty cool policy. I'm curious to hear about — I don't even know how to pronounce it. Is it Z-Mail? Z-Z-Z-Mail?

DC: Yeah, you got it, right.

(Laughter)

ZZ Top? ZzzMail, as in catch some Zs. And what it represents is this idea of being able to disconnect.

AG: Dan's employees have called zzzMail the number one benefit that the company offers.

DC: It doesn't require any cost or any special technology if you don't want it to. It's simply this idea that you set a boundary.

AG: The boundary is no emails on weekends. Don't send them on Saturdays or Sundays. And on weeknights, no emails between 10pm and 6am.

DC: The way that I rolled it out is I asked our key leaders to try it themselves. And at first when I explained the program, they thought I was crazy. They thought, "We're in a 24/7 world, we've got to be responding, we've got to be on things, I've got to work when I want to work." And then before you know it, by the end of the month, our team really liked the program.

AG: What if I don't want to disconnect? What if I really like my work? And I have colleagues who do, too, and we want to work at night or weekend?

DC: That's so important, you're right. When the inspiration comes, I think the more you follow zzzMail, the more you'll get those creative bursts. The concept of zzzMail is not a work curfew, it's not something that says, "You can no longer work." The idea here though is, don't put your work or your to-do list on me or on somebody else.

AG: So this feels easy for people who only email internally. But you have tons of clients who probably don't subscribe to these principles. Doesn't that just wreak havoc on your system?

DC: Well, I found, no offense to consultants out there, but sometimes our clients actually like to not hear from us during the most odd hours.

(Laughter)

But as far as missing things in business or some sort of downside business impact, it hasn't come up, it really hasn't.

AG: Really?

DC: Yeah, what do you think, why don't you do zzzMail? I actually received an email from you about two weeks ago. And it came out on a Saturday, I happened to be in front of my computer.

AG: Wait, why did you have your email open, Dan? You're breaking your own policy! What the hell.

(Laughter)

DC: I'd like to present you with a challenge. Take the zzzMail challenge, try it for a month amongst your team. Set a boundary. For you it might not be Saturdays and Sundays, it might not be 10pm to 6am. Come up with an hour, come up with one day and see what happens.

AG: I bet there's someone in your work life who doesn't respect your boundaries. A boss less enlightened than Dan, an entitled colleague, an overbearing client. They march over to your desk and barge into your inbox with demands. And somehow they hold you hostage. To find out what it takes to break free of these pressures, I went to someone with a job where setting boundaries is a matter of life and death.

Chris Voss: Hostage negotiation is really all about setting boundaries.

AG: Meet Chris Voss. He spent 24 years as an FBI hostage negotiator. He mastered the art of setting limits with people who made extreme demands.

CV: I was the FBI's lead international kidnapping negotiator, yeah, I was in charge of the negotiation strategy for every American kidnapped overseas for about seven years.

AG: Whatever kinds of boundaries you're trying to set, Chris says it involves three skills. The first is asking a question. Like, how am I supposed to do that?

CV: It engages in a process that we call forced empathy. And it forces the other side to take a look at you and your situation fairy. And, you know, our most common way to set a boundary is simply to say, "How am I supposed to do that?" You can't say, "How am I supposed to do that?!" Because the unspoken part of that is "You, idiot!" So if you say, "How am I supposed to do that?" like in an actual, sort of, inquiring way, it forces people to stop and look at your situation and forcing them to stop and think and look is a form of boundary setting.

AG: Let's say my boss asked me to work weekends. Or I've got a whole team of people who are totally fine with working nights and they're sort of imposing their schedule on me. I can see a starting the response with saying, "Well, how am I supposed to do that when I have a family, I have kids, when I have other commitments on nights and weekends, when I actually like to sleep seven or eight hours a night." But I can also see people saying, "You're not committed if you're not willing to burn the midnight oil." So what kind of advice would you give for that kind of situation?

CV: Start off by saying, "How am I supposed to do that?" Find out what the next answer is. You still met the initial objective when you made them stop and think and take a look at your position. You've actually begun to soften their position regardless of how they answer.

AG: The second skill is labeling. Restating what you think you heard to get the other person to either own it or reject it. Research shows that one of the differences between expert negotiators and their peers is that experts spend a lot more time labeling other people's behavior and then testing their understanding.

CV: If you go all the way through that and they still say you're not committed, then you say to them, "Well it seems like what I'm doing during the day doesn't demonstrate my commitment. It seems like you're more interested in how often I'm here as opposed to what I'm actually producing."

AG: Of course, labeling backfires if you're casting a negative judgment on someone. "You're being a jerk" probably won't get you very far.

CV: A really effective label is just like, "It seems like X." It seems like, it sounds like, it looks like, it feels like.

AG: Notice the language Chris uses. He's really careful about how he phrases it.

CV: There's a very small but huge difference in application between saying, "It seems like you're upset about this" to "What I'm hearing is you're upset." When I'm doing it properly, I'm intentionally not using the word "I." "I" is a self-centering word and "I" causes you to take a little more responsibility for the label in that moment. The other design of that, too, is if they come back and say, "I'm not upset, you're completely wrong," and I'll say, "I didn't say you were, I just said it sounds like you are."

AG: That's an effective way to deal with people imposing on you. But what about when you're trying to initiate a request? Like for time off. Here's the third skill which is really counterintuitive. Instead of trying to get a yes, start off by asking a question that elicits a no.

CV: We always feel safe, secure and centered after we've said no. So, consequently, after somebody has said no, they're more persuadable. Trying to get anybody to say yes to anything, they instantly go into anxiety mode, like, "What am I not seeing, what's the trap, what's the trick here?" Switching away from "Do you agree with this?" to "Do you disagree?" makes all the difference in the world. So, most of your yes questions can be flipped just changing the first part of it, "Are you against, is this a bad idea, is this ridiculous, do you disagree?"

AG: This could be worth a try next time you want to ask a colleague to handle your email while you're on vacation. Rather than asking, "Would you be open to it?" You can gently ask, "Are you totally opposed to the idea?"

(Music)

You can build a successful organization without infringing on people's lives. And you can love your work and still have a life. That's clear. As an engaged workaholic, my boundary has been more of a goal. To do my work and respond to requests when our kids are at school or asleep. But sometimes, especially when working on a podcast, I fail to achieve that goal. And I've realized that the only way to make progress is to say no more often. So I set priorities. Who to help? Family first, students second, colleagues third, everyone else fourth. When to help? At designated times that didn't interfere with my goals. And how to help? In areas where I had a unique contribution to make. Now, when people reach out with requests that stretch beyond my wheelhouse or my calendar, I refer them to relevant resources: an article or an expert. But one guy just would not take no for an answer. So finally I wrote him an email. It said, "I'm so sorry to disappoint. One of my goals for this year is to improve my ability to say no. And you're a tough audience. Thanks for the practice." I think that's what improving our work and our lives is all about: practicing. Trying out new ways to work and setting boundaries for everything we hold dear beyond work.

(Music)

(Music)

WorkLife is hosted by me, Adam Grant. The show is produced by TED with Transmitter Media and Pineapple Street Media. Our team includes Colin Helms, Gretta Cohn, Gabrielle Lewis, Angela Cheng and Janet Lee. This episode was produced by Dan O'Donnell.

Thanks also this season to Max Linsky, Jenna Weiss-Berman, Maddy Sprung-Keyser, Ann Hepperman, Michelle Quint, Anna Phelan, Kim Nederveen, Maya Sariahmed, Casey Walter and Francisco Diez.

Our show is mixed by David Herman with help from Dan Dzula. Original music by Hahnsdale Hsu. Special thanks to our sponsors: JPMorgan Chase, Accenture, Bonobos and Warby Parker. Thanks for listening. If you liked what you heard, rate and review the show. It helps people find us. That's the official end of our first season of WorkLife. But we have two bonus episodes coming up. We're taping one on April 24th in New York at the 92nd Street Y. I'll be onstage with Malcolm Gladwell for a fireside chat about all things work. And we're going to answer questions from you. If there's something you're curious about, you can submit a question by email or voice mail. Check out the show description for details.

One more thing. When I was talking to Chris Voss about hostage negotiation, I kept wondering if getting someone to say no would be counterproductive. I asked him about some well-known research by a psychologist Robert Cialdini, who finds that when someone says no to a request, it can make them more likely to say no again. Do you ever worry though, that that gets them in a mode of consistency and commitment, like Bob Cialdini would talk about it, where you know, they say, "All right, I've said no to this person. So this is a person that I don't want to say yes to. And it's easier now to decline future requests."

CV: Are you trying to create a grudge match here between me and Robert Cialdini? You keep throwing Cialdini at me.

AG: No, no, I'm just trying to get your reaction to his research.

CV: So did you see what I just did to you?

AG: Oh, damn it, I just fell for it, didn't I?

(Laughter)

CV: You did. Now you tell me how you felt after that.

AG: I am so disappointed and simultaneously excited. I don't know which is stronger.

(Laughter)