- The new mantra of Stanford’s Business School—change lives, change organizations, and change the world.
- How do we create jobs and career paths that motivate and harness the skills of today’s top graduates?
- What are the secrets of the companies that are disproportionately picking up talent?
Business schools have always been strong on analytical thinking—what is going on in the business environment, what’s happening to your competitors, what your strengths and weaknesses are. But solutions to the difficult challenges we face today require developing additional skills, including the mindset and leadership of a change agent. You need skills such as creativity and brainstorming so you can come up with ideas other people haven’t had. And since even a great solution goes nowhere without successful implementation, you need to shine in interpersonal dynamics. Change only happens in and through other people.
Dean Saloner describes the soft skills that are really the hard skills: communicating, motivating others, teamwork and conflict resolution. Among all these, self-awareness is key. You cannot be the person who lays out a vision that people will want to follow if you are not self-aware. Since half of all change initiatives are likely to fail, self-awareness allows you to recognize those that are not working so you can quickly and publicly kill them. If you don’t, these bad initiatives will sap the energy and drive of everyone in the organization. You owe it to the good ideas—and the success of your organization—not to drain resources away to what is not working.
Garth Saloner has been a Stanford faculty member since 1990 and is recognized for his ground-breaking research on network effects, which underlie much of the economics of e-commerce and business. He is a two-time recipient of the Business School’s Distinguished Teaching Award and has authored or co-authored two books:
Strategic Management and
Creating and Capturing Value: Perspectives and Cases on Electronic Commerce.