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Stanford Professors On the Counterintuitive Strategy That Helps Google Hire Top Talent We assume that the best processes are seamless, but a little friction can go a long way.

This story appears in the March 2024 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Pete Reynolds

Everyone knows the exasperation of unnecessary friction.

We've all navigated systems that create maddening ordeals rather than give us simple answers, services, or refunds. We've sat through endless meetings with blabbermouths and ill-defined agendas. We've pulled our hair out over rules, procedures, traditions, and technologies that once made sense, but are now antiquated, pointless, and inefficient. These are all soul-crushing forms of organizational friction that make it difficult to do simple things. And as professors at Stanford's School of Engineering and Graduate School of Business, we spent the last seven years researching the causes and cures for these problems.

But one of our biggest discoveries surprised us. It turns out that friction isn't always a problem. In fact, sometimes it can be a solution.

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