Michele Gelfand on Rules

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Michele Gelfand’s video on Edge, which resulted in me purchasing her book, and finding these 2 pieces below.

Tight company cultures value consistency and routine. They have little tolerance for rebellious behavior, and use strict rules and processes to uphold cultural traditions. Loose cultures are much more fluid. They generally eschew rules, encourage new ideas, and value discretion. Tight cultures have an efficient orderliness and reassuring predictability, but are less adaptable.
Loose cultures tend to be open and creative, but are more disorganized. People in loose cultures prefer visionary, collaborative leaders: those who advocate for change and empower their workers, like Whole Foods’ Mackey.
People in tight cultures desire leaders who embody independence, extreme confidence, and top-down decision making. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is known to expect unwavering discipline from his workers, personifies this leadership style.


[…] tight-loose produces a pretty predictable trade-off. In other words, it has similar liabilities and strengths depending on your vantage point for groups.

Tight cultures have more order—they are more coordinated, uniform, and have people who have more self-control—after all, they have to regulate their behavior a lot to avoid punishment.

Loose cultures are comparatively more disorganized and have a lot more problems with self-control since this muscle doesn’t get as much practice.
But loose cultures, from our data, are much more open—they’re open to new ideas (more creative), to new people (they’re less ethnocentric), and they’re more open to change. Tight cultures, on the flip side, tend to have much less openness—they’re less creative, more ethnocentric, and have much more cultural “inertia.” Even in our computer models, we can see that tight groups have a great resistance to change. After all, change threatens the social order, which tight groups cling to in the face of threat.


I am curious how does that marry with radical liminality in the context of future–proofing, self leadership and professional well–being.

Kurzweil on Forests

I often cite this analogy from Kurzweil’s how to create a mind, I find it useful when we need to travel across levels of abstraction

Let’s think about what it means to be complex. We might ask, is a forest complex? The answer depends on the perspective you choose to take. You could note that there are many thousands of trees in the forest and that each one is different. You could then go on to note that each tree has thousands of branches and that each branch is completely different. Then you could proceed to describe the convoluted vagaries of a single branch. Your conclusion might be that the forest has a complexity beyond our wildest imagination.

How to Create a Mind, by Ray Kurzweil