#EDU16 – Quiet: How to Harness the Strengths of Introverts to Change How We Work, Lead, and Innovate

img_0970Session Description: One of the central challenges of any business is to bring out the best in its employees. Yet when it comes to introverts—who make up a third to a half of the workforce—our leadership strategy mainly consists of asking them to act like extroverts. This is a serious waste of talent and energy. In an enlightening, relatable, and practical talk, Susan Cain will show us that introverts think and work in ways that are crucial to the survival of today’s organizations. How can you structure your organization so that the best ideas—rather than those of the most vocal and assertive people—dominate? How do introverts’ and extroverts’ different personalities cause them to solve problems and evaluate risk differently? What do introverts know about creativity that the rest of us should learn? Drawing on her original research and the latest in neuroscience and psychology, Cain will radically change your view of the best way to develop leaders, manage teams, make smart hires, and stimulate innovation.

Outcome: Increase awareness of and make better choices about how you manage the talent on your team in three areas: engagement, innovation, and leadership


Susan Cain @susancain
Chief Revolutionary and Co-Founder, Palomar Institute of Cosmetology

The Quiet Revolution

The Power of Introverts TED Talk



  • Temperament matters = we need both introverts and extroverts and that leads to the quiet revolution.
  • Rethink Personality – Harness the power of the introverted 3rd of the population
  • Rethink Creativity – Solitude matters
  • Rethink Leadership – The most charismatic person in not necessary the best leader
  • How do you feel after 2 hours at a fun party? Introducing the metaphor of the battery, extroverts are charged by social situations and introverts are drained.  We are wired differently.
  • Introverts do better with less background noise based on research.  If we want people doing their best work we have to provide the opportunity to determine the extras that are coming at them.
  • Audience poll, introverts about 70% and extraverts at about 30%.
  • Introverts is not equal to shyness… shy is the fear of social judgement.
  • Introverts tend to do better in spotting the “5 differences” between 2 photos.
  • Introverts and extroverts pair well together – together they are greater than the sum of their 2 parts.
  • The New Groupthink – Creativity emerges and everything is a product of collaboration. Yet Susan calls for a greater balance in the area of collaboration and solitude.
  • A balance of extrovert… in the sharing of ideas, but introverted enough to withstand solitude to engage in creativity.
  • We are social beings and if we want to be original we have to spend time alone.
  • Individuals that brainstorm by themselves come up with more and better ideas. The best ideas is do individually brainstorm first and then come together to group brainstorm.
  • In a typical meeting 3 people do 70% of the talking.
  • The issue of conformity. We are all all conforming by nature.  The Asch Experiment:

  • If we want to get really good ideas and want to make good decisions we have to be willing to give ourselves the solitude we need to come up with our ideas.
  • How can we run meetings more effectively:
    • Introverts, speak up EARLY as the earlier suggestions often become an anchor.
    • Introverts, don’t curb your enthusiasm! Express this in an outward way.
    • Extroverts, you can curb your enthusiasm a little – be aware of how much you are talking in a meeting and allow others to speak up.
    • Extroverts, engage introverts 1 on 1 and give them advance notice to prep.
    • Take a look at the “Candor” http://usecandor.com/ app for brainstorming.
  • Rethink Leadership
    • Introverts by their nature dive deep into a smaller number of topics. They have a service in those passion areas, building networks and relationships, and by the nature of the work become leaders.
  • Rethink Networking
    • Can you really meet everyone at the conference?
    • Instead of networking find the kindred spirits. You will end up with people you really love, and these are the people you are going to serve and they will serve you.
  • Step outside of your comfort zone. But do it strategically. Extroverts, you need to lock yourself in a room in solitude to think. Introverts need to get out and engage. The goal is to advance relationships. It’s not about being uncomfortable in the service of an idea for short moments and then come back to your comfortable place.
  • Groom an “unlikely’ leader. Help them draw on their natural talents. Ask them where do you want to be in 3 years…
  • Quiet Ambassadors LinkedIn group was formed in 2016
  • Know what’s in YOUR suitcase. What do you take with you wherever you go. What are the things that really matter to you.

May you have the courage to speak softly.

One thought on “#EDU16 – Quiet: How to Harness the Strengths of Introverts to Change How We Work, Lead, and Innovate

  1. Pingback: EDUCAUSE 2016 Highlights | eLearning and Emerging Technologies @GVSU

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s