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Reb Rebele is a researcher for Wharton People Analytics and teaches in the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Reb Rebele is a researcher for Wharton People Analytics and teaches in the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. His research and consulting projects bring behavioral science and research into the world of work to drive better employee experiences and organizational outcomes, most recently at Google, JetBlue, Acumen, Warby Parker, and Teach for America. In many of these and other projects, he has been a frequent collaborator with Dr. Adam Grant on efforts to extend and apply psychology research, particularly on the topics of giving and originality. Reb earned his own MAPP degree in 2010 after spending his early career with the United States Mint and Kaplan. Since MAPP, he has been part of a resilience training team working with the U.S. Army and groups of educators, and he has been a speaker on a number of applied psychology topics to groups as diverse as local veterinary and nursing students, national non-profits and conferences, and global companies and universities. His writing has appeared in books (Flourishing in Work, Life, and Careers), magazines (Harvard Business Review), and online (Huffington Post, Psychology Today), and he has been an advisor to the International Positive Psychology.
The Four Roads to Meaningful Work
Much has been made lately about the importance of having meaningful work, both for our own well-being and for our organizations’ success. But what exactly do we mean when we talk about meaningful work? This talk unpacks that important buzzword to reveal the four roads to more fulfilling careers—Work is more meaningful when:
1. It leads to clear and tangible results, be they finished work products or people we have helped
2. It offers financial, social and psychological rewards that align with our values and goals
3. It fosters a sense of community and enables valuable relationships, both in the office and at home;
4. It resonates with our identity, our values and the people we would like to be
For general audiences, this framework is especially relevant for anyone interested in getting more from work than just a paycheck, whether they are just entering the workforce, considering a career change or trying to make the most of the job they have. Within organizations, this talk offers insights about how leaders can motivate employees, improve engagement and strengthen culture, and how employees can craft their work (and lives) to be more meaningful.
Working Together: Using Data and Analytics for Better Collaboration and Culture
Call it the paradox of the connected workforce: If it is easier than ever to connect with our colleagues, customers and collaborators, then why do we still find it so challenging to actually work together and get things done? Many of us spend the majority of our working hours in meetings, on the phone or responding to emails, yet if we crunch the numbers, we often have little return to show for that substantial time investment. That’s because collaboration is inefficient and culture is hard to get right. Data shows that in many organizations, the most helpful employees are suffering from collaborative overload, and so-called “star performers” often do little to help their colleagues. At the same time, despite leadership’s best efforts to be mission-driven and values-focused, developing a strong workplace culture is still more of a mystery than an established practice supported by analysis and insights. “Collaboration” and “culture” are big buzzwords for a reason—when done right, they can make work more productive and more meaningful. This talk shows how researchers and industry leaders are turning to data and analytics for insights about how organizations and communities can work together better.
Originality: Closing the Gap Between Great Ideas and Meaningful Change
What does it take to make your mark? Even if you don’t aspire to fame or fortune, most of us have some urge to create, some desire to make a difference, or at least some hope that when all is said and done, we will have made some unique contribution to the world that says we were here. So why do so few of us realize our creative potential? For some, there is no shortage of good ideas—but for some reason they never make it out of our heads. Others have plenty of motivation to make things happen—but they are never sure how or where to begin. It takes originality to close those gaps. Originality is the ability to find great ideas for improving the world around you and putting them into action. And in a helpful ironic twist, originality is much more common—and much more accessible—than we think. This talk shares the science of originality and the practical steps that individuals can take to bring their ideas to life and that leaders can use to build cultures of productive creativity.
Giving Ahead: How to Be More Generous and More Successful
In today’s competitive world, we are on a constant quest to get ahead. As individuals, we keep an eye out for any edge that will help us land a coveted job or promotion. As organizations, we can be so protective of our trade secrets and competitive advantages that we sometimes hide them even from our own employees. But what if the things that drive success are not those that set us apart, but those that bring us together? A growing body of research shows that how we interact with others, whether colleagues and clients or family and friends, has a huge impact on what we are able to achieve. And to borrow from John F. Kennedy, the key is not in what others can do for us, but in what we can do for them. This talk shows that our instincts for self-preservation are (mostly) misplaced and explains why givers rise to the top in many workplaces and industries. But it also cautions that the road to doing good and doing well is not always smooth, as sometimes our desire to help can backfire. To become sustainably and productively generous, individuals need to learn how to become more helpful and organizations need to create cultures and systems to support meaningful collaboration.