“Why do people do stupid things in the workplace?” (Thomas Hoffman)

Thomas Hoffman, PhD. , PScience Associates

Steve Dorfman interviews Thomas Hoffman, PhD. Dr. Hoffman is a former NIH and FDA research scientist and author of over 100 biomedical and clinical research articles.

Here’s what we asked Dr. Hoffman:

  1. When we talk about “stupid” things in the workplace, can you give us some examples of what that might look like?
  2. You say that when it comes to neuroscience and psychology, we actually know very little about what causes these stupid behaviors.
  3. From time to time, we ALL do “stupid” things. What steps can we take to avoid this?
  4. How can we help our coworkers and employees be less “stupid?” Think/act intelligently?
  5. As a customer service trainer, I see this kind of thing all the time. Seemingly intelligent people acting unintelligently. (A server brews a fresh pot of coffee, bring you a cup several minutes later, and then you have to remind him that you’ll need cream, sugar and a spoon – why didn’t he bring those things to the table while the coffee was brewing?!)
  6. Here’s something else I tend to notice more than I wish I did: You’re a passenger in someone’s car, they do something “stupid” and then blame it on the driver of the other car. What the heck is that about?
  7. I think it’s fair to say that procrastination is stupid. How does procrastination fit into all of this?
  8. How does our MOOD affect all of this?
  9. For the first time ever, we have four generations in the workplace. What observations or findings can you share about generational differences?
  10. Sometimes an employee can have a brilliant idea/plan for their company but not be able to express it intelligently. What’s at play here?
  11. What about working in groups/teams? Do we become smarter or stupider?
  12. What should an employer do when their employee seems to be a repeat offender when it comes to stupidity? What steps should they take?
  13. We have 1/20th the number of daily human interactions as compared to just 25 years ago. Is this time of technology-overdose making us more stupid?
  14. You say bartenders shouldn’t take away empty glasses…
  15. Tell us about your work with “High Performance Teams.”
  16. Tips on attracting and retaining a remarkable staff?

“Are You Comfortable Hiring Leaders … and Not Managers?” (Catherine Meloy)

Catherine Meloy, President & CEO, Goodwill of Greater Washington


Here’s what we asked Catherine:

  1. Some might say they’re confused by the question, “Are you comfortable hiring leaders … not managers.” – can you explain?
  2. How do good leaders bring out the best in their employees?
  3. The manager administers; the leader innovates.
  4. The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
  5. The manager maintains; the leader develops.
  6. The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
  7. The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
  8. The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.
  9. The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
  10. The manager has his eye always on the bottom line; the leader has his eye on the horizon.
  11. The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
  12. The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his own person.
  13. In the New York Times bestselling book, Fierce Leadership, by Susan Scott there is a quote you used when introducing the Leadership Breakfast…

“You will not single handedly cause or prevent success. Surround yourself with people who model accountability, ferocious integrity, personal authenticity, the capacity to connect with others at a deep level, sheer courage, and a commitment to champion the common good over narrow self-interest.”


Tips on attracting and retaining a remarkable staff?