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8 Responses to “Let's Pretend”

  1. Dave Thom says:

    Mike, I can’t believe you don’t have any replies – yet. You’re provocatively excellent as usual. My guess is that you’ve suggested a paradigm so far removed from the present that anyone up to their eye-balls in B-school participation can’t humor you because even though your suggestion has merit of some kind, it’s far, far from the present course – unless we’re really talking about business psychology, which is not the same as MBA science. Did I just say an MBA is a science? Freudian slip? I think I’ve been indoctrinated to think that way.

  2. Mike Metzger says:

    Ha! Well said, Dave. Yes, I am afraid this column is so far removed from present-day reality and experience that it is, to quote Fezzini, “Inconceivable!” Most of my MBA friends have close to no idea about the origins and (failed) aims of their esteemed schools. Yet this does explain the glazed looks I get when there is a shift in the conversation from accounting to culture. The first is hard and touchable – the second feels soft and touchy-feely. Houston, we do have a problem. But I did want to also point out that B-Schools have not been around since the dawn of time (they are rather recent in history, in fact) and that we can perhaps do better. Perhaps there is a new type of B-School on the horizon that would teach a unified knowledge. I’m tired of MBA graduates who lack any deep knowledge of business beyond number-crunching, efficiency, and expediency.

  3. Dave Thom says:

    Mike, you say, “I’m tired of MBA graduates who lack any deep knowledge of business beyond number-crunching, efficiency, and expediency.” You remind me of MDivs who lack any thin or deep knowledge of people skills. If you have a moment, love to have your response to my thoughts as I head into an apptmt with an MIT philosophy prof. I’ll re-send it to your email account.

  4. Chris Harness says:

    When you start treating people like they are nothing but another resource, you are going to have a very bad problem.

    It really is a simple game…

  5. Mike Metzger says:

    True, Chris. A great many believe “human resources” is an oxymoron.

  6. Scott Hamilton says:

    I spoke with two MBA grads from Stnaford re: this article and they directed me to MBAOATH.COM, a website that has been created to promote an MBA Oath on the level of the Hypocratic Oath for physicians. I see this as having the opportunity to transform the B School mindset becuase it is being promoted from within the system by MBA graduates. Culture shaping work here.

  7. Mike Metzger says:

    Scott: The MBA Oath is a good idea – but it’s an effort operating on a flawed foundation. It’s not unlike what was attempted in the 1930s, when “social theory” was introduced in MBA curriculums. Didn’t stick. It couldn’t be measured by the matrices of money. My basic point needs to be repeated: endeavors such as the MBA Oath are institutional attempts to govern human nature based on an economic definition of reality. It’s like a couple trying to develop a healthy marriage by counting the number of times they have sex. Not bad, but not enough – if you understand what constitutes a flourishing marriage. Marriage is more than sex, and work is more than making money. Until we redefine what constitutes work, oaths become thin when financial push comes to shove. It’s human nature, after all.

  8. JohnA says:

    According to William Bridges, one of the biggest problems with organizational transformation and change has to do with establishing endings. Endings can cause organizational members confusion. Under the best of circumstances where a change in leadership is associated with a focused vision, unity in values and clear goals, organizational members still tend to become confused around specific change requirements affecting certain behaviors. In many organizations we have the added confusion of who to follow. This is more prevalent in organizations where leadership is assigned but there has been no formal transition – no change in leadership is complete without a “rite of passage ritual.” A transference in power, authority and leadership is a potent form of change which involves an ending and this can mean the loss of a well-defined role – and it is the losses, not the changes that organizational members often react to. When organizational leaders make the decision to integrate a more collaborative approach or, migrate from a traditional autocratic model of “efficiency” where a company’s operational directives are task-driven, for instance, to a more collaborative approach, they understand that this is a very risky undertaking. Transitions of this magnitude are very messy. So, why would management want to go down this path at all?

    We live in times of great change. Since the dot-com bubble burst in 2000 and in the aftermath of the 9-11 tragedy, an unfortunate chain of events followed that has changed the way business will be conducted forever. The collapse of Enron, the demise of Arthur Anderson, unethical practices at Tyco, Sotheby’s, Global Crossing, Qwest, WorldCom, Xerox, Bear Stearns, the more recent sub-prime fiasco and a seemingly endless list of corporate corruption and unprecedented loss in market valuation has led stakeholders; investors and employees into a pattern of retreat—a kind of Learned Helplessness.[1] Although this self-defeating pattern of greedy leadership continues to persist, consumers, stakeholders and boards have had enough. The need for a new breed of leader has never been greater. Collaboration offers a possible solution because it fits nicely with the emerging “social” nature of the Internet that is becoming so widely accepted. Collaboration complements the new integral leadership paradigm and is quickly becoming the strategy of choice for co-creating sustainable value and competitive advantage in addition to addressing the social and environmental imbalances that have resulted in what trend spotters have referred to as the “race to the bottom,” or, the conspiracy of mediocrity.[2] Indeed, c-Learning may be the emerging new technological paradigm for initiating and leading change in the twenty-first century organization. To be sure, following a macrosocial trend is not leadership! As we have outlined here the new paradigm integral leader’s values are aligned with Biblical principles. Examples are everywhere. Can you identify leaders who’s values are exemplar?

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