Who You ‘Sit’ Next to Matters

Really? Never thought about it quite like that. Turns out propinquity affects your performance- at least for some of us. And, for others of us, it doesn't.

This brilliant HBR article, Want to Be More Productive? Sit Next to Someone Who Is, by Jason Corsello and Dylan Minor is more likely to excite OD specialists than TA professionals but it is applicable the more I think about it. I fell in love with their study on several levels.

  • The data collection protocols was explained. Their focus was to measure the influence of combinations of "productive workers, who completed tasks quickly but lacked quality; quality workers, who produced superior work but did so slowly; and generalists, who were average across both dimensions." The dependent variable was the distance from one another. "Toxic" workers were also identified and their influence assessed.
  • I know Jason (Cornerstone) and really admire his work.
  • The insights and results [may] go well beyond the physical setting when you consider who we are surrounding ourselves with virtually...from home.

There are implications here for how we ask prospects, candidates and newly hired employees about the people they worked closest with.

Surround yourself with people who push you and challenge you may be a meme we all have heard but this article offers details that make it more practical.

(Thanks Wayne Tarken for pointing me to this article)

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Gerry Crispin
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Gerry co-authored eight books on the evolution of staffing and has written 100s of articles and whitepapers on similar topics during a career in Human Resources that spans more than 40 years from HR leadership positions at Johnson and Johnson; to boutique Executive Search firms; a Career Services Director at the University where he received his Engineering and 2 advanced degrees in Organizational/Industrial Behavior; and, GM of a major recruitment advertising firm even as he launched CareerXroads 20 years ago.

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Who You ‘Sit’ Next to Matters

by Gerry Crispin time to read: 1 min