Rule Breakers and Shift Stirrers with Francesca Gino Ph.D. and Aaron Digna

Original Air Date Wednesday, August 17, 2022 

Some people grimace when talking about their job in the corporate world. Common complaints are they must comply with orders, they feel their voice isn’t being heard, or they must conform to the status quo. And, then there are some who buck the system and break the rules to innovate and drive positive change. How can organizations change an employee’s experience to create constructive disruption? What new tools are available to retain creative, rebellionist talent?

To discover how we can regain personal agency and reduce the amount of control industry-focused cultures have over us, Positive Psychology Podcast Host Lisa Cypers Kamen speaks with two thought leaders about their books that can transform industries. Francesca Gino is the author of Rebel Talent: Why it Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life. She shares her findings about rule breakers and why rebellious people create more and have deeper relationships. Aaron Dignan describes the principles of his book, Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization? and shares how he guides notable Fortune 500 companies through leadership techniques that encourage heart-nourishing, human-focused decisions.

Francesca Gino — Rule Breakers:

  • The reasons we should become rebels go far beyond the amount of fun we have. [1:29]
  • How being rule breakers allows us to view conflict from a different angle and approach the world with curious eyes. [3:42]
  • Rebels are innovative and creative individuals who drive positive change. [7:23]
  • In her book Rebel Talent, Francesca highlights the deeper connections that are formed when we are our authentic selves. [17:40]
  • In her Harvard classroom, Francesca Gino talks about the concept of rebellion and constructive disruption. [20:40]

Francesca Gino Ph.D. with red shirt, guest of new podcast episode about rule breakers and shift stirrers with Aaron DignaFrancesca Gino PhD is the Tandon Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. She is the youngest woman to have achieved the rank of full professor at Harvard Business School. She has been honored as one of the world’s Top 40 Business Professors under 40 by Poets & Quants and one of the world’s 50 most influential management thinkers by Thinkers 50. She received her Ph.D. and MS in Economics and Management from the Santa Anna School of Advanced Studies in Italy and held postdoctoral positions at both HBS and Carnegie Mellon.

Book: Rebel Talent: Why it Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life


Francesca Gino
@FrancescaGino on Twitter


Aaron Dignan — Shift Stirrers:

  • Aaron Dignan describes his book, Brave New Work, a leadership book that touches on the sweet spot of humanity. [26:43]
  • As Founder of The Ready, Aaron helps companies change the way they work and keep their magic. [29:26]
  • When employees feel they have a voice in what goes on at work it pays dividends. [36:10]
  • Aaron highlights some of the teamwork tools available to organizations in the new, virtual workplace. [37:39]
  • Aaron Dignan shares an example of a company that created value by leading with the heart. [41:18]
  • How small businesses can apply Aaron’s operating system framework. [45:49]

Aaron Digna with black shirt, guest of new podcast episode about rule breakers and shift stirrers with Francesca Gino Ph.D.Aaron Dignan is the founder of The Ready, an organization design and transformation firm that helps institutions like Johnson & Johnson, Charles Schwab, and Microsoft change the way they work. He is a co-founder of, an investor in purpose-driven startups, and a friend to misfit toys.

Book: Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization?


Aaron Dignan Website & The Ready Website
@aarondignan on Twitter
Brave New Work on Facebook

This episode of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio about rule breakers and shift stirrers is sponsored by:

Better Help Online Therapy — Good mental health is essential for a happy life. There are times in our lives when difficult events happen and we just need someone to talk with to sort out our thoughts. Find a professional licensed therapist in 48 hours on their secure worldwide platform at Better Health Online Therapy. Financial aid is available. Harvesting Happiness listeners get 10% off their first month of online therapy at 

The Comeback — Is a story of an impossible love. Written by Lily Chu and performed by Phillipa Soo. Join the listening adventure only available through Audible. Not a member? Not a problem. Sign up for a free trial at and listen now.

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life A boot camp manual for greater emotional fitness. Happiness waits for no one and sometimes we all need support. What is getting in the way of your happiness right now? 

HFactor: Where is Your Heart? — Lisa’s documentary film explores the journey of human happiness. Emotions are contagious and happiness is a universally desired state. We tend to forget we all have the freedom to be happy or the liberty to be miserable each day.

“As humans, we are pretty aware of the value or worth of our job based upon what is required.” @LisaKamen on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“If you only give someone half the rules of the game you can't expect them to play the entire game perfectly because they don’t know what is expected of them.” @LisaKamen on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“When we are in a rebel state we feel young.” @LisaKamen on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“We should become rebels because we will find more joy in what we do.” @FrancescaGino on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“We can gain respect by making ourselves vulnerable.” @FrancescaGino on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Rebels are key individuals because they challenge the status quo in ways that drive positive change.” @FrancescaGino on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“By asking questions we shift the focus to what we can learn about other people and by doing so, we create tighter connections.” @FrancescaGino on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet “We are so obsessed with tuning the machine of industry we seldom talk about that it's made up entirely of people.” @aarondignan on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“One of the reasons we make bad decisions when we do is that we don’t have enough information.” @aarondignan on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet “An organization is a system so you can’t make one move without thinking about the others.” @aarondignan on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Information symmetry is a requirement if you want an organization to be stellar.” @aarondignan on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“We need to decentralize. The center’s job is to support the edge.” @aarondignan on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“I believe we should give up on the idea of perfection or a machine-like outcome and start thinking about ourselves as gardeners.” @aarondignan on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“No one ever comes in from the garden and says “I fixed the garden”. We manage it, we tune it, we nurture it.” @aarondignan on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet



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