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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 Lehman Trilogy, a new production at London's National Theatre, traces the values, influence and trajectory of the three original Lehman brothers and their descendants, from the mid-19th century to the collapse 10 years ago of the bank that carried their name. It's a mesmeric tale of culture gone wrong. I contrast the story in this week's column with the durability of Goldman Sachs, whose chief executive Lloyd Blankfein announced his departure last week.
For my management challenge, please draft a one-paragraph memo from Mr Blankfein to his successor, the investment banker (and part-time DJ) David Solomon, laying out the two or three things he should do to sustain and build on Goldman's culture. Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In further reading this week, an interesting piece of self-help by Melissa Dahl, for the Aeon website, in which she points out that cultivating high self-esteem — the traditional pop-psychology key to success — is in fact "poor preparation for dealing with the everyday embarrassments of being human". She points out that a "so what?" attitude to recollections of past humiliations may be healthier, which has implications for the current obsession with "humble leaders".
Every week a business school professor or academic recommends useful FT articles.
Executive bonuses: Carillion shows why it pays to make them wait There's a fundamental lack of trust in senior leaders — exacerbated by examples of rewards that are out of proportion with results. But that could be about to change.
The Financial Reporting Council, the regulator responsible for promoting corporate governance, said in its updated code that “bonuses paid in shares must now be held for five years — explicitly, because a longer holding period ‘supports long-term success’, but implicitly because shorter periods allowed Carillion directors to earn rewards that did not even require the company’s survival.”
The other side of the story is that leadership has never been more demanding — a role that attracts intense scrutiny and long hours. Business students and new generations of leaders need to think about how to create fair and sustainable remuneration to award and promote long-term success.
Jonathan Moules's business school news
Are you taking a break right now? Late July offers a brief period of calm to many of those involved in business school before preparations for the new school term kick in. It is important to relax, but this can also be a moment for aspiring students to reflect on what they need to do to get that business masters degree.
For those who have already have a place on an MBA course, I have written a short series of pieces to help prepare for business school. The latest provides some tips on getting back in the mindset of a full-time student.
Paying the tuition fees is another key consideration. Here is a piece with some suggestions on how to ask your boss to cover the costs.
Summer is also a time to catch up on your reading. Have you added any to your list expressly to get yourself ready for a new business school term? If so, I would be interested to hear from you with your recommendations at email@example.com.
Find out how to design your department like a behavioural scientist in this article from Apolitical. 'From redecorating desks to bosses speaking last, experts give tips for a well-run office.'
Ask the academics
Got a question for leading business school experts? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish the best replies in future newsletters.
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Edited by Wai Kwen Chan — email@example.com