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#93—Rob Cross: Reducing the Effects of Microstress through Organizational Networks

#93—Rob Cross: Reducing the Effects of Microstress through Organizational Networks

Rob Cross has studied the underlying network dynamics of effective organizations and the collaborative practices of high performers for more than 20 years. Through research and writing, speaking and consulting, and courses and tools, Rob’s network insights are transforming the way people lead, work and live in a hyper-connected world.

He is the Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Leadership, Babson College and co-founder and current research director of the Connected Commons, a consortium of over 100 leading organizations accelerating network research and practice.

In his latest book, The Microstress Effect, co-authored with Karen Dillon, Rob delves into findings that show that our interactions with other people – even those we care most about – trigger an avalanche of small stresses that snowball to the point where it affects our personal well-being. This is a growing issue as companies move toward smaller teams and greater collaboration across teams.

In this episode, he shares:

  • What microstresses are and how they can impact the workplace and collaboration within teams

  • The surprising effects that microstresses have on our health, mental state, and organizations’ effectiveness

  • Why managers accidentally create microstresses by encouraging more collaboration … and what we can do about it

  • Some specific tips we can all follow to reduce the negative effects of microstresses


Episode Timeline:

00:00—Highlight from today's episode

00:49—Introducing Rob + The topic of today’s episode

2:30—If you really know me, you know that...

3:21—What is your definition of strategy?

3:47—Can you start by defining a microstress to us?

5:54—Why do microstresses have such a lasting impact?

7:55—Could you break down the different types of microstresses outlined in your book?

11:16—What can an individual do to reduce the impact of microstresses?

13:12—What do high-performing happy people do differently?

14:51—Should we as leaders be looking to create moments of connection in org structure?

18:45—Does mission or purpose allow us to coordinate behavior without requiring as much interaction between people?

20:27—What do people get wrong about understanding microstresses?

21:49—How can people follow you and connect with you to continue learning from you?


Additional Resources:

Personal page:

Newest Book:



The 4th Option Junto
The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.