Bottom-up lessons from European CEO magazine

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European CEO magazine is currently running a story called: What’s missing from this picture? Oliver Mack, head of learning at Common Purpose writes:

“MBAs…left managers in a bubble…eventually we all need to step outside of our team or department where our position makes us the boss”.

The reason is that the problems we need to solve typically take place outside of our formal sphere of influence.  Mack continues to argue for education based on challenging leaders in “real life situations that shake them up” rather than relying on tutorials, leadership models, and Powerpoints from MBA professors.

Despite the obvious need to somehow involve professors, one could wonder what puts MBA programmes at such a disadvantage in terms of providing case study experience.   Also, Mack’s alternative to an MBA is a two day workshop, hardly a substitute, I would say.   However, Mack is essentially spot on: leadership from below is a significant source of power in the network society and knowledge handled top down won’t cut it.

So how can we all learn more self awareness?  Based on recent experience, I suggest keeping a job, having kids, remaining happily married, and living to tell the tale.   None of those situations really involve top down authority of any sort.  Only that there are very few hours to sleep should you choose to pursue that multi-tasking approach.  I would gladly take an MBA instead, if I thought it would help.  Mack’s two day workshop seems to be an easy way out, even if he will shake me up.

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About trondau
Trond A. Undheim (39), Ph.D., a Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management, and Managing Director of Tautec Consulting, has over fifteen years of multi sector experience in strategy, policy, communications, academia, and entrepreneurship. Formerly, he was a Director of Standards Strategy and Policy at Oracle Corporation, with wide responsibilities in long-term business development, strategy, public policy and standardization globally and in Europe. Trond is an executive, speaker, entrepreneur, author, traveler and blogger. With a doctorate on knowledge work and the internet in Silicon Valley, he is one of the world’s leading experts on technology and society. He has worked at Oracle Corporation, the European Commission, the Norwegian Government, and founded a start-up. He was awarded an interdisciplinary Ph.D. from NTNU, Norway’s top engineering university, as the youngest candidate at the Faculty. He is multilingual and has lived on three continents. He is always ready for strategic opportunities providing significant intellectual and managerial challenges.

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