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Rediff.com  » Business » MBAs lack 'maverick' thinking

MBAs lack 'maverick' thinking

August 01, 2006 11:55 IST

While I could write volumes on how B-school prepared me for the corporate world, it's my guess that true education starts from the first day on the job.

Heading a successful company requires managing as much with your head as with your heart. You have to be in love with your team, and have genuine respect for your co-workers' abilities and strengths. In today's organisations, a leader can never demand respect - either he commands it, or stops trying to be a leader.

I have learnt that there are no smart deals. The best deals are the ones where you leave money for the other person on the table. These are the deals that create enduring relationships.

Also, good leadership is not just about winning battles in the marketplace, it is also about having the guts to walk away from battles you cannot win, and saving the team from some unnecessary heart-burn.

I feel a company in the launch or growth phase should hire entrepreneurs, and not MBAs from prestigious institutes - they are not hungry enough, they burn a big hole in the bottomline, and most of them are all thumbs when it comes to handling ambiguity.

Also, very few MBAs are capable of original "maverick" thinking. Successful organisations don't just tolerate mavericks - they encourage them.

We no longer celebrate success the way we should, and we grieve far too much for failure. Also, accepting failures and the responsibility for them - and ensuring there is no witch hunt or fall guy for them - is as important as celebrating success. A leader will always highlight the learnings from every blunderÂ… and blunders do happen.

One thing I was taught at B-school and that remains my guiding principle till date is: "We exist as managers to improve our shareholders' worth. This principle guides us every day."

The best thing about leading a team is that every day is a brand new learning experience. So is every new colleague, every new experiment and every success and failure.

Aalok Wadhwa is managing director, LexisNexis, Butterworths. He graduated from IIM, Bangalore in 1986.
Aalok Wadhwa
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