Dr. Margaret Heffernan at Future Talent 2018

Written by
Sarah Wild

02 Jul 2018

02 Jul 2018 • by Sarah Wild

We all need friends at work or do we?

Speaking from the heart, author and entrepreneur Dr Margaret Heffernan paid tribute to the value of friendship.

“We’re not brought up to think that work is a place where we’re going to make friends,” she acknowledged. “Work is the place where we’re going to compete.”

But she stressed that friendship is the social capital underpinning individual and organisational creativity, resilience and, ultimately, success.

“This is not about networking. I’m talking about soul mates, people who can see your qualities; who may be competitive, but not with you, only for excellence,” she explained.

Referencing a paper by scientist Professor Uri Alon, entitled How to run a motivated research team, she outlined how Alon’s experience of “hitting the buffers of his own capability” showed him the importance of friendship in getting you through difficult times; and the benefits of  building human relationships at work.

She also spoke movingly of her need for friendship when “aged 30, and only two years married” her husband was killed in front of her.

“I was in a big, powerful job,” she said. “What got me through that, and through the court case, were my friends; the people I saw at work every day.

“I couldn’t do any of the things I’ve done if I didn’t have those people inside of me and outside of me. Not because of their contacts or know-how, but because they feed my sense of myself and hold me to incredibly high standards. They remind me that any time you’re going to do something really outstanding, you cannot do it alone.”

Margaret innovation

You can watch an exclusive Q&A, as well as Margaret's presentation from #ChangeboardFT by clicking here.