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Welcome to the FT Business school newsletter, a weekly serving of management wisdom, reading recommendations and business-related challenges. FT subscribers can sign up here to receive the newsletter by email every Monday. If you have any feedback about FT Business school, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Andrew Hill's challenge
The FT's management editor sets a weekly test of your business, strategy and management skills.
Crisis management has become a fetish for many corporate leaders, I argue in my column this week. Some have started to believe they must foment crisis in their organisations to get things done.
I think that's a misguided attitude. For one thing, managers should devote more time to stopping setbacks turning into crises. For this week's challenge, I'd like an example of how to prevent (rather than merely cure) avoidable disasters, ideally based on a real-life situation. It could be contingency planning, a mindset change, a useful teamwork habit, or something else. Ideas to email@example.com — and please keep them brief.
Most of you answered yes to the existential question 'Are managers necessary?', which I posed last week in relation to Michelin's empowerment experiment. But it was a conditional yes. As Gabriel Moreno pointed out, managers must "have the authority to speak the truth to their superiors as well as [to win] trust from staff".
One leadership story that warmed my heart this week was De Telegraaf's interview with King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands (pictured above) in which he revealed that he had been moonlighting as a KLM co-pilot for two decades. Here's the BBC's version for further reading and my short opinion piece about it. “You can’t take your problems with you off the ground,” the monarch reflected. “[As a pilot] you can completely switch off for a while and focus on something else.” There's a lesson there for any over-burdened leader.
Every week a business school professor or academic recommends useful FT articles.
Market research from the grassroots This podcast features an interview with Streetbees.com founder, Tugce Bulut. Her story is a great example of how entrepreneurs can successfully implement the popular “lean startup” approach. If you are interested in entrepreneurship, the story can inspire you with opportunities that you can pursue with free technologies.
What can a thrifty entrepreneur achieve in six months while spending nothing? How about creating a business that gathers marketing intelligence on behalf of top brands in more than a dozen countries? Ms Bulut did it without opening offices or legally incorporating her company during the early stages of her business.
The minimum price a founder can sell their company for Early-stage entrepreneurs love to dream big and raise funds to accelerate growth. This article explains how entrepreneurs may feel the strain when things don’t go to plan. This is a useful read because most MBA courses do not cover these difficult issues.
The example of SoundCloud is instructive. The entrepreneurs who created the company have now placed themselves at the end of a long queue of shareholders, and they will likely not receive anything back on their equity if SoundCloud’s value drops below $200 million at a future sale of the company. Aspiring entrepreneurs beware!
Jonathan Moules' business school news
A group of five of the highest ranked German schools believe that it could be and have formed an MBA alliance to jointly market their strengths as world class courses. I travelled to Berlin to see what is happening to make Germany a more attractive place to study.
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Compiled by Wai Kwen Chan