For decades, an MBA has been considered the gold standard in business and leadership education. Having an MBA is an important box to check on your path to a successful executive career. But when we look back at what can only be described as the absence of great leaders, what has happened to the process that has seen the world’s business schools produce hundreds of thousands of students? MBA graduates each year?
What an MBA can offer
There are many abilities and skills required to perform successfully at the executive level. An MBA degree can provide the perfect combination of ‘hard’ business skills needed to navigate the demands and complexities of the modern business environment.
We all start our careers in a particular discipline – law, marketing, engineering, geology, etc. – in which we develop deep skills and expertise. But as we move beyond the organizational levels, our view needs to shift to a broader focus. Just being an excellent management accountant, or even a CFO, is not enough. Executive life requires a combined knowledge of all areas to run a successful business.
The fundamentals of marketing, strategy, economics, finance, and business law are just a few of the elements that underpin the competence and judgment required of a competent executive. permission. This level of foundational knowledge can be gained from a high-quality MBA program.
What an MBA degree can’t give you
My business partner, Martin G. Moore, often says that his MBA simply gave him the ability to converse intelligently with experts in any particular field of business. . This perspective opened up his judgment and experience in a way that enhanced his decision-making and executive performance.
But the reality is, it did almost nothing to improve his leadership skills. Leadership skills cannot be learned in a crowded classroom environment. Certainly, there are good leadership principles that every leader needs to understand. But leadership is one of those things that most can only learn by doing.
Having the discipline to do the things that make you more comfortable in the face of conflict, the character to stay calm in stressful situations, the confidence to take decisive action in a very ambiguous setting and a commitment to complete excellence to set uncompromising standards of behavior and performance — these are achieved through self-mastery and repeated cycles of debugging and debugging.
Building competence and judgment should be a goal, no matter what level you are currently at. This supports any desirable leadership attributes you may develop. For example, there is a lot of focus on a leader’s need to demonstrate fallibility, an attribute that is extremely powerful when coupled with competence. But the lack of perseverance coupled with incompetence can be disastrous.
An MBA degree can provide a competent foundation for exceptional leadership development.
What Great Leadership Requires
Leadership is fundamentally about people, and great leadership requires connection. Have you heard the old cliché: People are our greatest asset? Well, it’s usually not true. Because of the benign neglect with which leaders display their teams, people are often the least used asset an organization possesses.
Understanding how to get the most out of people requires personal connection and a leadership willingness to do the hard work. This includes keeping people entertained…
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