Why Margaret Heffernan's TED Talk on Pecking Order is Giving Us Life

Productivity is a hot topic across every industry, and that’s not a recent development.

Allan Mogensen coined the phrase, “Work smarter, not harder” back in 1930, which evolved into the more modern concept of Business Process Reengineering. This shows that productivity, and working more efficiently is an age old topic.

International business woman, author, and speaker Margaret Heffernan brought productivity to life in her TED Talk entitled, “Forget the pecking order at work.”

In it, she shared a study performed by evolutionary biologist William Miur who quite literally used chickens to observe and measure productivity. He set out to find out what fosters great productivity. 

He found that the chickens who focused on individual productivity stifled the productivity of the rest of the group. To hear the whole story, you should listen to Margaret’s talk.

As a society, we’ve been told we need to compete in order to get ahead, but where’s the inspiration in that? Working alongside brilliant, creative people is its own reward. Plus, giving all of the resources to the “superstars” can discourage the rest of the team members, who may shy away from the limelight but are still putting in hard work.
 

The reason we are as successful as we are at Citro is because we have a team of brilliantly creative and collaboratively-minded people who work together to build up the business’ success.

Which brings up the whole point Margaret is trying to make. Why is it that some groups are more successful and productive than others? The answer is threefold:

  1. More successful groups have a higher degree of social sensitivity.
  2. They give equal time to each other, so that no voice dominates the conversation.
  3. They have more women.

Some speculate the last part is attributed to women having higher levels of empathy. It’s also believed that women contribute diverse perspective. Whatever the reason, it shows that productivity is less the result of intelligence and competitive drive, and more the product of a culture of helpfulness.

A culture of helpfulness is central to our success at Citro. Helpfulness is not to be confused with helplessness. What makes up a culture of helpfulness is collaborative thinking and doing, which ensures that no work is done in a silo. Just as the workload is shared, so is the success.

We want to not only share our success with each other, but with our clients! If you have a marketing problem you want to discuss with us, we’re here to help.