Innovation Expert Stephen Shapiro – Want a High Performance Organization? Hire People You Don’t Like

Opposites don’t attract. In fact, they usually repel, leading managers to partner with like-minded proteges. The result – chronic “sameness”; a lack of creativity and innovation.

Boston, MA – March 16, 2011 (via — Contrary to conventional wisdom, opposites do not attract. In fact, they most often repel. This counter-intuitive phenomenon has bled into hiring practices worldwide, causing chronic sameness within organizations. Managers are partnering with like-minded proteges and are preventing the full expression of creativity and innovation from emerging.

“Organizations are cults,” says Stephen Shapiro, innovation leader and author of Personality Poker. “While this penchant for working with like-minded peers makes for smoother operational efficiency, it is stunting organizations’ ability to effectively innovate. Instead, I encourage hiring people you do not like. The breakthroughs come faster. The results more valuable.”

Stephen Shapiro’s recent book and personality tool, Personality Poker, ( ) demonstrates how participants can quickly identify their own personal strengths. As important, it clarifies why and with whom they should partner to generate creative tension and high performing teams.

“Personality Poker is a simple yet extremely effective tool for understanding personality mixes and their impact on driving or blocking innovation,” says Andrew Bushell, former Head of Innovation at Novartis Consumer Health.

“The person you like the least, is the person you need the most,” says Shapiro. “When we’re working on a problem we tend to go to the person we easily communicate with – somebody who ‘gets’ us. While it is comfortable, that doesn’t always lead to the tensions necessary to generate break-through ideas. Instead, consider hiring and partnering with individuals who are your stylistic opposite. These individuals will help to balance out your perspective, and produce the creative tension necessary for generating unprecedented ideas.”

Shapiro describes this principle, from his book Personality Poker, in a YouTube video which can be seen at

About Stephen Shapiro:
Stephen Shapiro is one of the foremost authorities on innovation and collaboration, and has personally touched hundreds of thousands of lives in over 40 countries. While Stephen’s insights apply to virtually any organization, big or small, he has contributed to shifting the innovation culture for such Fortune 500 organization as Staples, GE, BP, Johnson & Johnson, Fidelity Investments, Pearson Education, Nestle, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. As the founder and creator of a 20,000 person internal innovation practice within Accenture, and advisor to hundreds of organizations worldwide, Stephen possesses a rare and extensive arsenal of tools allowing him to arm any organization with the knowledge they need, to shift their most threatening challenges. His most recent project, Personality Poker, ( ) released by Penguin Portfolio in October 2010, is a card game that has been played by over 25,000 people in boardrooms and living rooms around the world.

Stephen can be reached at 617-379-1177 or online at

Press Contact:
Stephen Shapiro
24/7 Innovation
2001 Marina Drive
Suite 807
Quincy, MA


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