Collaborative Work and the Human Factor Collide

Productive human relations, satisfying human interactions, managing expectations collaboratively. Important, yes?

But not all that much in MBA programs according to Susan Lyne, who was interviewed in the New York Times yesterday in the business section page 2, Openers. When asked specifically what would you like business schools to teach more or less of she responded,  ”There are a lot of great courses on managing or developing a strategic agenda, but there is very little about how to work with your peers where  you need to get X done and you need these other three departments to give you X amount of time in order to succeed at that.” She goes on to say that the people who truly succeed in business are the ones who figure out how to mobilize people who are not their direct reports.  She concludes by saying that  getting people who do not have to give you their time to engage and to support you and to want you to succeed is something that is sorely missing in B school.

I concur. How many times do we have to hear this to look a little closer at what kind of people graduate business schools are producing?  I would say this applies to undergraduate education as well although one could argue that the brain of a twenty one year old is not yet fully developed.

Collaborative expectation setting is an art and a skill combined. Few leaders and managers I know have mastered this let alone do it well.

I am afraid the first thing one has to admit to is that they need help in this area. If they do, the technology is available to help anyone who is motivated to succeed in learning new skills and developing artful  people practices. I have an interactive seminar on this topic that can run from as little as half a day to a day and one half. Although I have presented it to many leaders in corporations, none have decided to work with me on it.

I certainly will keep trying however  it seems leaders still find it hard to admit that learning and growing in the service of their business is a good thing. Perhaps it will be a necessary thing before we know it.

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