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Why this Wharton wunderkind wants leaders to replace their intuition with evidence

It’s just hours before kickoff on Super Bowl Sunday, but Adam Grant is talking about baseball. More specifically, he’s talking about a psychology study that discovered the most frequent base stealers tend to be younger siblings.

“I hate this evidence as a card-carrying firstborn,” he told the crowd sipping cocktails at author Daniel Pink’s Cleveland Park home in Washington, there to mark the release of Grant’s book “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.” But the study shows it’s probably true, Grant says. “A younger sibling is more than 10 times as likely to try and succeed at stealing a base.”

This was hardly your average Super Bowl Sunday gathering. Instead the crowd — which included entrepreneurs, government executives and education leaders invited by Pink, himself the author of bestsellers such as “Drive” and “To Sell is Human” — were entertained by the 34-year-old Wharton School professor, who shared stories and research snippets from his latest book.

Research finds that hiring people for “cultural fit” is actually a bad strategy in the long run because it can crowd out fresh ideas. A psychology concept called “idiosyncrasy credits” helps explain why people should wait to share bold ideas until they have status first. And studies of creative children, Grant says, show that they have parents who favor values, not rules, something he admits he has to work on with his own three children: “I was bothered by this because every five minutes, when our 5-year-old does something wrong, I’m like, ‘New rule!’ ”

Read the rest of this article on The Washington Post

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