It was kind of the Asian School of Management to invite me for a motivational chat today with a batch of fresher’s as part of their induction program. I was delighted as the topic given was very special for me -‘Values’ and so I based my talk on a highly inspirational HBR article written by Prof. Clayton M. Christener. It was he who coined the term ‘disruptive technologies’ in his 1995 article Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave. The term is described further in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma and its sequel The Innovator’s Solution. Special thanks to my friend Manish Thakur (ex-student Tasmac) who so thoughtfully drew my attention to this article.
Diversity in action
I was thrilled to know that these wonderful young people come from so many different states of India – Haryana, Maharashtra, MP, UP, Punjab, Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal.
Prof. Clayton’s thoughts
The article is based on Prof. Clayton’s talk to the HBS graduating class of 2010 – not on their post-HBS careers but something much more profound. The students wanted to know how to apply his principles and values to their personal lives. The Prof. shared with them a set of values that have helped him find meaning in his own life – How will you measure your life?
I will touch upon Prof. Clayton’s three questions that I found most inspiring and meaningful.
“On the last day of class, I ask my students to turn those theoretical lenses on themselves, to find cogent answers to three questions: First, how can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career? Second, how can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness? Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail? Though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not. Two of the 32 people in my Rhodes Scholar class spent time in jail. Jeff Skilling of Enron fame was a classmate of mine at HBS. These were good guys—but something in their lives sent them off in the wrong direction.”
He believes more and more MBA students come to school thinking that a career in business means buying, selling, and investing in companies and that’s unfortunate. Doing deals doesn’t yield the deep rewards that come from building up people. “I want students to leave my classroom knowing that”. More and more of his HBS classmates from 1979 are unhappy, divorced and estranged from their children. The reason according to him was that they didn’t keep the purpose of their lives front and center as they decided how to spend their time, talents, and energy.
Clear purpose of life
For him having a clear purpose in life has been essential. But it was something he had to think long and hard about before understanding it. I am certain you will love Prof. Clayton’s article at – http://hbr.org/2010/07/how-will-you-measure-your-life/ar/1
It was rewarding to observe the keen interest and debate generated by the new students. The discussion today may provide the right context to them for their module on ’Organizational values and Ethics”. So guys walk cautiously with your values. Start today! I am glad that B Schools are now making this as the capstone course in MBA programs.
“Try not to become a man of success but a man of value” – Albert Einstein