Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Management wisdom from Harvard President

In this interview, Prof. Drew Gilpin Faust addresses lots of questions on management and leadership. Here's the section where she talks about the importance of communication:

There’s one alum who was an expert in turnarounds, and so I asked him, “What should I do?” He said, “One lesson about change in any organization — communicate, communicate, communicate.” So I still think about that all the time, and the scale of communication from the president’s office is a very much more elaborate one. It’s a bigger scale. You’ve got to communicate in different ways.

I also spent a lot of time talking with people at the business school. Kim Clark, who was the business school dean at that time, was very helpful. The fundamental principle of Kim Clark’s advice, though, could be summed up in, “Invest in people, recognize that you are in the people business and you want to try to support people and make people able to do their best.”

For example, one of the things he was a very big advocate of was Harvard’s shift to promoting from within, not just hiring stars and having a junior faculty that didn’t stay, which had been the custom in an earlier time. Kim said: “You need to have everybody believe in the organization. You need to have everybody think that they’re part of it, and they’re being invested in, as well as being asked of.” So that was one major lesson from Kim that sticks with me.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Lesson at IISc:
    1. Do not communicate. If RTI is filed try to evade. All committees are hush-hush. Probably even the Dir and A/Dir forget who is chairing which committee.
    2. Do not believe in people. The more junior is the faculty in rank, suspect him/her more.. make the poor asstt prof look and feel like a beggar or petty thief and put all the onus of non-performance on them.