Eight Lessons They Did Not Teach You at Business School

Eight Lessons They Did Not Teach You at Business School


Business school does teach you some things. For the rest, you just have to live and learn.

The most successful leaders learn every day – because their choices have consequences that affect an entire organisation. Perhaps the choices they make are not easy, but the best choices almost never are. The conviction to make the right choice is one lesson successful leaders imbibe early on. Here are seven others as provided by members of Young Presidents’ organization (YPO) in success.com, when asked: “What is the most important leadership lesson you have learned?”

1. To Engage

That the fastest road to success isn’t about assembling smart people and working hard, but rather engaging people in a bigger ideal than themselves and positively engaging people to work as a team.

Richard (Rick) Kimball, founder of HEXL

2. To Listen

Learning to listen, because it means quieting the mind.

Sanjay B. Kucheria, CEO of Trinus Corporation

3. To Improve (Always)

Whatever level you reach, getting better should never stop. We need to constantly invest in improvements and learning.

Shailesh Chaturvedi, managing director and CEO of Tommy Hilfiger India

4. To Let Go

Learning to let go and trust my team—full stop. The most difficult part for me was transitioning from trying to do everything myself to becoming a better delegator. As we scaled Grindr, I have learned the most important aspect of delegation is finding competent people—and not settling.

Joel Simkhai, founder and CEO of Grindr

5. To Focus

A lesson I learned a few years ago is how to scale back to one’s core competencies. In the nonprofit sector, there is a pervasive belief that each organization has to be all things to the clients they serve. But in doing so, we dilute the quality of the direct services we provide.

Suzanne Klahr, CEO of BUILD

6. To Scrutinize Ideas

Falling in love with an idea before testing it—what you love might not be the case with others (and especially your target customer).

AdarshRadia, founder of Telenomics

7. To Disrupt

You cannot be a leader and make tough decisions without upsetting some people. If you are going to make improvements or initiate change or do anything at all unique or innovative, it is going to be disruptive for people. Some people will appreciate you for it, but there are just as many who will want to blame you for it. Once I realized that I couldn’t be the leader I need to be and be everyone’s friend, things got a little easier.

Michael Sanderson, CEO of Sanderson Stewart

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