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Home > Business > Special

What B-schools fail to stress

Deepak Khosla | June 05, 2007

Learning at management schools usually focuses on the larger perspective, that is, understanding macro-level implications. A lot of importance is also given to strategy and management principles.

But what B-schools miss out on is that all this planning and strategising will come to nothing unless "back-end details" are taken care of. After all, a number of small things add up to make the whole.

When a client visits a consultant's premises, everything around the office makes an impression on the client's mind - the amount of time the receptionist takes to answer a call, a healthy/dying plant on the premises, the cleanliness of the washrooms and so on.

Michael Levine, in his book, Broken Windows, Broken Business, explains how a "broken window" - or something small left to disrepair - can give a client the feeling that since the consultant condones this disrepair, he would probably condone the same in other, more crucial, business areas as well!

Details are also important while understanding a situation/problem or entering into a new venture. When solving a problem for a client, it is important to understand the seemingly-trivial aspects of the situation, too. Similarly, while taking on a new venture, it is imperative to get an in-depth view of the requirements for the execution.

Attention to detail is paramount in Japan. The Japanese are meticulous and follow protocol in all business interactions. Detailed attention to even how a group of four sits in a car - always in the order of seniority - is something that we in India would never think about.

Here's the difference details can make: today, there are thousands of MBA students with similar capabilities, backgrounds and intelligence levels, and who are applying for the same job. However, a recruiter chooses one over the other based on the "small things" that make an impression on him.

These could be as simple as a well-presented CV, punctuality, a smile, holding the door open for the next person while passing through, the choice of clothes, well-polished shoes and so on. All or any of these could make the difference between getting the job or not.

Business is like a LEGO puzzle - every piece helps make the final product; a single piece out of place and the model may collapse. And that is what B-schools fail to stress upon.

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