Archives For Business School Final Round

As you may have guessed, I have come to realize very clearly over time that there is a remarkable gap between what we learn in business school and what we need to be successful in the ever-evolving world of global business – as such over the past few weeks I have focused on some of the more critical items. Understand that I am the beneficiary of some of the finest universities and professors in the world (and respect and honor both greatly), but I am also a realist who has been out there long enough to know with certainty that there are certain skills just not taught in business school that are indeed critical to success, and often survival, in global business. I realize there are many I have not covered, but the goal is just to bring the challenge to the forefront so we can begin to proactively discuss the issues and identify ways to ensure the success of our global executives. Here is the last installment in this series with two final(for now) important aspects of global leadership that are not typically taught in business school:

1)   How to Acquire Talent That Drives Your Success

Why is it that leaders can not be instructed in business school as to how to hire to facilitate their own success? I come across more global leaders that were just not taught how to build strong teams through talent acquisition or development. Why aren’t leaders taught that it is actually detrimental to your success to hire people just like you? It would seem to be common sense that a leader would hire to fill his own gaps, thus making the leader, the team, and the organization much stronger…but it is not.

Here are a few high level tips:

  • Rule #1: Understand your own strengths and weaknesses – until you do, you will never build exceptional teams.
  • Rule #2: Have a vision. Set your goals. Know what you are trying to achieve. Then, and only then, hire for that impossible future – you will be far more likely to recruit those who will facilitate your success if you hire with the future in mind.
  • Rule # 3: Do not hire people just like you. If you hire good candidates that have the same strengths and weaknesses (yes, we all have them) you have, you will never fill in the gaps and create a sustainable model that drives your success. A well-rounded team that compliments your skills will take you much further, much faster.
  • Rule #4: Hire for diversity, not continuity . The more diverse the individuals, the bigger pool of knowledge and talent resides on the team and in the organization. Continuity will emerge naturally – through a much more interesting variety of people.
  • Rule #5: Hire for accountability & ability to execute. Make sure you have people who consistently deliver – great ideas and an enviable vision are useless if there is no accountability for results and an inability to execute.

2)   How To Incorporate Cultural Orientations

In today’s global marketplace, it is almost impossible to work within a single culture. The skill to work across cultures is such a critical need, yet it provokes little interest in a university setting. Because cultural orientations affect our assumptions and perspectives, it is important to understand what a cultural orientation is and how it affects worldviews. Everyone has specific orientations, or ways of perceiving the world around them, primarily derived from our cultural background and the way we were raised.  These orientations, or world-views, combine to determine who we are and how we see the world around us.

If global leaders were given the knowledge and opportunity to leverage orientations to better understand their own perceptions, as well as helping them to understand the complex network of cultures surrounding them, they could begin to leverage cultural orientations as a communication tool for discovering creative solutions to problems. This would highlight the unique potential of everyone involved, from every culture, and would provide significant leverage to achieve success on the journey toward high performance and fulfillment –  providing the opportunity to far exceed expectations.

If the concept of cultural orientation was taught in business school, leaders would have an enormous head start – allowing them to discover new options, shift perspectives, and quite possibly, to leverage differing orientations to move between and amongst different geographies, functions, and cultures to generate exceptional business results.

Those skills not taught in business schools are so deeply rooted in the day to day operations of global business, perhaps they are not well suited to traditional university teaching. If this is the case, where and how do we ensure our global leaders are learning these critical skills? We know that corporate training can often be ineffective and retention rates are low – especially for busy executives that make decisions and interact on various levels all day, every day. If we are to tool our executives with the skills to accelerate their organizations, we will need to better leverage non-traditional learning to provide reinforcement models so that learned skills become ingrained in everyday actions. We will need to look to effective, ongoing methods – often based in experience rather than theory – to facilitate organizational success on every level.

This week I would like to challenge you to get involved and make a difference in a young leader’s life – teach those skills, and develop those characteristics, that are not taught in business school. How are you going to engage in a young leaders life and make a difference on an ongoing basis?

I would love for you to engage the discussion, and let us know how you believe that current global business leaders can make a difference and fill the gaps that business school may leave. Please feel free to contact me at or by visiting our website at Check back next week for the next installment of Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.