February 9, 2013

Having a Tony Stark at the office is fine as long as you hire a Pepper Potts

New business research explains how powerful are blind to risk

Not every company has an Iron Man, but many have a Tony Stark – a highly powerful, intensely-focused individual who often ignores risk in order to achieve his or her goals.

That’s usually a good thing – as long as companies make sure to also hire a Pepper Potts to keep their powerful leaders grounded, according to new research co-authored by a BYU business professor.

“Organizations need to anticipate the tendency of their most powerful members to leap without looking,” said study co-author Katie Liljenquist, a professor of organizational leadership at BYU's Marriott School of Management. “The remedy is to surround them with people who can see other angles, or can play a devil’s advocate role to point out risk. Interestingly, it is the low-power members of the organization who are best equipped to do this.”