In the BBC’s “CEO Guru” series, the website this morning has a piece about how CEO’s are responsible for getting their employees engaged with the company’s values, and creating a balanced focus between long-term success and short-term results – the perpetual dilemma for any manager responsible to remote shareholders. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27053927)
The article starts with a story about Joe Baolin Zhou, who responded to a life-threatening illness by setting up the largest private education service in southern China, with an emphasis on personal development. He identifies that much of the problem with Wall Street has been that top business schools are great at providing financial and management expertise, but they simply don’t cover the really important stuff like values and purpose. That got me thinking.
MBA courses are designed to turn out managers able to satisfy remote shareholders, often financial institutions with a relatively short decision horizon – hence the focus of the last quarter’s results. And our general education system is designed to turn out the workforce that supports those managers. Is that why so many of us, often in our late thirties and forties, turn to other kinds of ‘guru’ for our real education in what life is really all about?
How much better would our lives, and our society, be if we were taught important stuff like values and contribution and purpose before we ever set out on the journey of work?