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How to lead
Andrew Hill's challenge
The FT's management editor sets a weekly test of your business, strategy and management skills.
The growth of "leaderless" movements — from #BlackLivesMatter to #MeToo — is one of the most striking leadership phenomena of the century so far. The latest is the March for Our Lives movement, using the #NeverAgain hashtag to fight for stricter gun control, following the Florida school shootings in February. Media coverage has elevated one student, Emma González, to a role that most conventional analysis would say is that of a leader. But, as I write in this week's column, it is hard to apply old categories to these new leaders.
Many advocates of change assume old-style leadership should be completely abandoned. But as the authors of New Power, out this week, point out, most organisations are somewhere on a spectrum between "new power" (informal, collaborative, open) and "old power" (managerial, exclusive, closed). For this week's challenge, imagine you are called in to advise the leaders of March for Our Lives about how to turn this rapidly growing movement into an even more powerful organisation. Should they stay loose — as, say, Occupy Wall Street did, only to splinter apart — or add a more formal structure? Do they need to identify one leader, or should they move ahead with a group in charge? Send a concise prescription for #NeverAgain's future success to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In further reading this week, here's a thoughtful examination by Rob Goffee, Gareth Jones and Roger Steare of the drive towards purpose in business, from Management Today. "If you want to open the pages of the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal and not be shocked by another corporate scandal then the challenge is to build moral organisations resting upon shared purpose, moral values and simple agreed rules," they write.
Every week a business school professor or academic recommends useful FT articles.
Managers are the guardians of company history Organisational memory has been a management research topic for nearly 30 years and is now more important than ever — as this article highlights — to avoid repeating past mistakes in the workplace. One of the challenges is knowing what information and knowledge to keep and what to discard. This can be addressed by using evidence-based management, drawing from the scientific method to build valid organisational memory.
As most job contracts don’t include a clause on handover, it is worth having one. Perhaps, organisations should even offer compensation to employees to record their insights and knowledge which could prove valuable.
Jonathan Moules's business school news
The biggest barrier to most people considering going to a top business school is not the intellectual challenge of passing the GMAT entrance exam or nailing the admissions interview process. It is justifying the escalating cost of courses when the salary lift from an MBA has failed to keep pace.
It is why financial aid has become so important as a source of funding for many business school students. It is also the reason why fundraising has become so important for business schools. This week my colleague Seb Murray looks at why big-name donors give money to business schools.
I have been looking at another topical issue this week: How British universities and their business schools react to the UK's departure from the EU. Last week marked the start of the 12 month countdown to Brexit. The University of Warwick chose the moment to announce its partnership with L’Université Paris Seine and Vrije Universiteit Brussel, not only enabling its students to study in the EU but forming joint degree master's courses that will enable the institutions to share faculty and research facilities.
The partnership was created after L’Université Paris Seine approached a number of UK universities. However, Stuart Croft, Warwick's vice-chancellor, insisted that his university would have been keen to form such an alliance even if Brexit was not happening because education needs to operate "without borders". He is right in that the UK's reputation as a world class centre for education is in large part a result of it finding the best talent from around the world, both in terms of students and teaching staff. It is therefore a logical step for such schools to form international alliances. It is also far cheaper for them to share facilities with partner universities than to pay to build new campuses overseas.
Expect more of these alliances in the future, not just because of Brexit, but because it makes sense for an institution looking to maintain its brand globally.
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Edited by Wai Kwen Chan — firstname.lastname@example.org