When MBAs enter the job market and move into positions of leadership, a sense of their unique values and attributes can make a significant impact on the quality of their leadership and those affected…employees, customers, shareholders. As it stands, I surmise that most young leaders initially go after the best opportunities while still retaining the enthusiasm to be good and to do good. As they climb the ladder without a solid awareness of what holds meaning, an adherence to what guides them from inside out (as opposed to being driven externally), they too often succumb to the pressures of more, growth, returns; using financial measurement as the primary and often exclusive indicator of worth, regardless of collateral damage.
The inclusion of a simple values clarification exercise and ensuing discussion in the beginning of an MBA program would set the stage for the importance of values as a foundation to any human endeavor. This exercise can be repeated yearly and done again towards graduation . It could be accompanied by individual declarations of what they value the most, the principles that drive their pursuit of an accomplished and meaningful career.These values could even be expressed at graduation; a declaration to others of who they are and what they stand for.
Simple…values at the beginning, intermediary and end with an emphasis on personal responsibility and integrity in being true to and upholding them as they mature and grow.
My upcoming leadership book includes a values checklist; it will be inter-active on my website in a few weeks.In the interim if anyone wants a copy let me know.
I think that the erosion of integrity and the corresponding decline in a lack of trust & confidence in leadership can be addressed and turned around by MBA programs adopting values as a foundation of their programs. As Ben Stiller said in Starsky & Hutch “Just Do IT! It is time for business schools to put as much weight on the critical importance of personal ethics as it does on the technical aspects of leadership.