"Adam Grant is, plain and simple, one of the finest social scientists of his generation. He is the rare scholar whose work combines academic rigor with real-world practicality."
Dan Pink, Bestselling Author
- Corporate Culture
Audience & Industry
- Senior Management Groups
- The Professional Services Industry
- The Technology Industry
Organizational psychologist Adam Grant helps build innovative, collaborative work cultures by activating trailblazers to improve the status quo.
An organizational psychologist and Wharton’s top-rated professor, Adam Grant is a deeply original thinker, a popular TED speaker, and one of the most influential advisors to American business today.
Researching motivation and meaningful work, he has constructed pioneering studies on workplace dynamics. Applying his novel thinking, Grant has formulated unique, counterintuitive ideas that are backed by data-driven management science and case studies.
We spend a quarter of our lives at work. It's time to make all that time worth your time.
Grant’s insights have been developed into a quartet of blockbuster books: Give and Take, Originals, and Option B, and Power Moves. Together, they have sold more than two million copies, been translated into 35 languages, and been praised by J.J. Abrams, Richard Branson, Bill and Melinda Gates, Malcolm Gladwell, and Malala Yousafzai. Grant also writes an opinion column on work, motivation, and values for The New York Times. His management advice and daily work insights have earned him a prodigious following – with over three million followers on social media and more than 100,000 subscribers to GRANTED, his free monthly newsletter. His TED Talks have drawn over 20 million views.
In his chart-topping TED podcast, WorkLife with Adam Grant, he takes audiences inside the minds of some of the world’s most extraordinary and unusual professionals “to explore the science of making work not suck.” From learning how to love criticism to creating workplaces without jerks, he ensures listeners will never see their job the same way again.
“We spend a quarter of our lives at work,” Grant says. “It's time to make all that time worth your time,” he adds.
A wunderkind who finished his doctorate at the University of Michigan in less than three years, Grant – at age 29 – became the youngest tenured professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. For his distinct approach and perspective, he has been recognized as one of the world's 10 most influential management thinkers and was named in Fortune's 40 under 40 in 2016.
As a Harvard undergraduate, Grant was also a magician, Junior Olympic springboard diver, and an advertising director. As he progressed through various pursuits, he began to laser in on how people can follow their curiosity to find purpose and passion.
“I spent my whole job trying to master the people part of it,” he says. “I was hooked on the fact that so many of us spend so much of our waking hours at work, and very few of us find our jobs meaningful and motivating.” That early insight has become the cornerstone of his career.
Grant’s highly-rational, both-sides-of the coin approach resonates with organizations who want help figuring out whom to hire, how to keep employees motivated, and how to build a healthy workplace culture. His speaking and consulting clients have included some of the world’s top organizations, including Google, the NBA, the Gates Foundation, Disney Pixar, and the World Economic Forum, where he has been honored as a Young Global Leader. He currently serves on the U.S. Department of Defense Innovation Board.
No matter the forum, Grant proves himself a captivating showman who balances with ease the world of academia with popular culture. His engaging, dynamic sessions are peppered with humor and always backed by research and data.
With sage and also practical advice, Grant explores how individuals champion new ideas and leaders fight groupthink. He helps audiences reflect on and reframe the way they’ve organized their lives and businesses – to overcome complacency and drive forward meaningful change.
"First-mover advantage is largely a myth," believes Grant. “You don't have to be first. You just have to be different and better." Drawing on his unique research, and direct experience working with dozens of well-known brands, he says people and companies that come along later – and make substantial improvements – are often the ones that fare the best.
“When we look at our role models, we tend to see them at the top of their game, when they’ve already made it,” says Grant. “We don’t get to see all of the stumbles that were part of the journey along the way.” The best way to learn is to run experiments, which don’t always pan out. “You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones,” he explains.
Research shows that even if the rewards aren't immediately apparent, contributing to the success of others pays off in the long run. “Every time we interact with another person at work, we have a choice to make,” Grant says. “Do we try to claim as much value as we can, or contribute value without worrying about what we receive in return?” In giver cultures, helping others drives efficiencies and higher performance, he adds.
To shake up the status quo and overcome complacency, Grant says leaders should harness the creative power of their most frustrated employees. “Don’t discount the misfits,” he says. Listen to their frustrations and unleash them to attack the problems they see. Evidence shows they can be the best sources for out-of-the-box thinking.
TED: The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers
TED: Are You a Giver or a Taker?
Interactive Keynote: Adam Grant - SXSW 2017
Millenials, Motivation and the Changing World of Work
Talks at GS: The Psychology of Resilience
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
To survive and thrive, organizations need original thinking. Yet most individuals stay silent instead of voicing their best ideas – and many leaders stifle dissent rather than encouraging it. In his #1 New York Times bestselling book Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Grant set out to explore how to unleash original thinking.
“Originals are nonconformists, people who not only have new ideas, but take action to champion them,” says Grant. “They’re people who stand out and speak up. Originals drive creativity and change in the world.”
Many of Grant’s observations about how originals behave run counter to years of cultural canon in the business world. For example, he punctures the idea that failure is something to be feared or even avoided. “If you look across fields, the greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they are the ones who try the most,” Grant says.
In this talk, Grant reveals how to evaluate and pitch new ideas, how to create psychological safety, and and how friendly managers end up being the least supportive. He points out that businesses often listen to the person who is the most confident instead of the most competent. Grant also describes how the values that help organizations prosper early on are the same ones that thwart their growth later.
In an engaging and entertaining format, Grant helps audiences understand how to get better at recognizing and championing new ideas, and how to build cultures that welcome diverse perspectives and honest feedback.
Givers Take All: Creating a Culture of Productive Generosity
Culture is a key component of success, but many leaders struggle in managing the cultures of their teams and organizations.
Based on a decade of research and consulting with Fortune 500 companies – including recent projects at JetBlue, Goldman Sachs, Teach For America, and Warby Parker – Adam Grant argues that the highest-performing organizations are the ones that embrace an ethos of knowledge sharing, helping, and mentoring.
“The greatest untapped source of motivation is a sense of service to others; focusing on the contribution of our work to other people’s lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves,” he maintains.
In his New York Times bestselling book, Give and Take, Grant examines the way interpersonal behavior in the workplace can lead to success, depending on whether you’re a “giver” (generous, helpful), a “taker” (a me-first, dog-eat-dog type), or a “matcher” (trades favors evenly, quid pro quo).
“Givers succeed in a way that creates a ripple effect, enhancing the success of people around them,” he writes. “Giver success creates value, instead of just claiming it.”
In this dynamic presentation, Grant outlines the key strategies for building a culture of productive generosity. He urges companies to reward givers and get rid of takers, by making their reputation known to them and challenging them to new behavior. He also shares how leaders and organizations can improve practices around selection and hiring, recognition and rewards, and collaboration and coordination – to boost revenue, efficiency, and satisfaction.
Resilience at Work: A Moderated Conversation with Adam Grant
Every organization faces hard times – from external disruption and internal errors to customer complaints and employee conflicts. Similarly, everyone in the workforce experiences professional challenges – from failure and rejection to disappointment.
In this intimate conversation, Adam Grant fields questions about how to build resilience in our teams and ourselves.
“Resilience is the strength and speed of our response to adversity,” says Grant. “It’s a skill set that we work on throughout our lives,” he contends.
This conversation draws lessons from his #1 New York Times bestselling book Option B, co-authored with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, after the unexpected death of her husband. The book offers practical steps one can take to reimagine and rebuild their life when their first choice – Option A – is no longer on the table.
Business Consulting from Adam Grant: Corporate Culture and Competitive Advantage
Bringing in a business consultant can challenge you and your organization to think differently about your business. Whether you are a new leader seeking a renewed vision for your company or a seasoned C-Suite executive exploring new trends in the marketplace, they provide the deep, strategic insights and much-needed perspective to help you make confident and profitable decisions.
Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist and Wharton’s top-rated professor, is a deeply original thinker, a popular TED speaker, and one of the most influential advisors to American business today. He will help you to identify top talent and, in turn, to motivate your employees. An expert at developing teams and aligning them to achieve success, he’ll guide your organization’s executive leadership team and its people to excel at networking, collaborating, managing, and negotiating.
His advisory topics include:
- Improving Corporate Culture
- Leading Organizational Change
- Recruiting Top Talent
Adam Grant got our Annual Meeting off to a terrific start with such a great and provocative message for our members. Just truly fantastic! And, a great conversation starter for the rest of the meeting.American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)
Adam Grant is, plain and simple, one of the finest social scientists of his generation. But if that weren't enough, he is also one of the most accessible. He is the rare scholar whose work combines academic rigor with real-world practicality - which is why I read everything he writes and why an ever-growing audience is benefiting from his insights.Dan Pink, bestselling author of To Sell Is Human, Drive and A Whole New Mind
Our session was incredible! As you had promised, Adam was superb in every way. His generosity of time, energy, knowledge, and spirit was incredible. We could not have asked for more.Philadelphia Society of People & Strategy (PSPS)
Adam Grant was fantastic and response from the audience was also extremely positive. We had good engagement from the audience during the Q&A, and the majority who responded to our post-event survey rated Adam as Excellent. All in all, I'd say it was a success.Skillsoft
We received very positive feedback on Adam’s presentation and we are appreciative of the customization of his remarks to the financial services industry.PIMCO
Adam Grant was very well received by our audience. He was an absolute delight and we enjoyed hosting him. His presentation was energetic, informative and he built in enough humor into his presentation that it kept it light and entertaining. There were lots of questions from the audience so good audience interaction was/is always a good sign. In short, I believe that the learning was great and that everyone left with information that they could take away and apply.Presidents of Enterprising Organizations
One of the main reasons people fall short of their potential is they care more about looking good than getting better. Excellence is the product of high aspirations and low ego.
Cultures of silence form when people are punished for sharing bad news. You can't create psychological safety if you keep shooting the messenger. You have to praise and reward people for speaking up.
Gaining followers doesn't make you a leader. It just means you've captured attention. Leadership is the art of uniting individuals to achieve a collective goal. Great leadership is the art of elevating a group to achieve a worthy goal.
The one defining belief of successful people is the refusal to believe that there is one way to succeed. Complex systems are governed by a principle of equifinality—there are multiple paths to the same end. Don’t let other people’s paths define yours.
To gauge the culture of an organization, observe how the stars behave. If high performers treat others poorly, it signals that respect isn’t a core value—and that collaboration and motivation will suffer over time.
Mentors give advice and believe in our potential. Coaches get in the arena to help us realize our potential. Great managers are great coaches. They help us see our blind spots, work through our sore spots, and build on our strengths.
The best time to shake things up is not when you’re struggling. It’s when you’re doing well—that’s when you have the time, energy, and freedom to innovate.
Curiosity fuels creativity, reduces confirmation bias, and prevents stereotyping. But the more we emphasize efficiency, the less curious people become. To promote a culture of curiosity, make time to ask "What if?" and "How might we?"
WorkLife with Adam Grant, a TED original podcast (opens in a new tab)
Power Moves (opens in a new tab)
Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success (opens in a new tab)
Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World Forward (opens in a new tab)