For several years I have been coaching MBA students at the Lancaster University Management School, ranked in the UK’s top ten and among the world’s top 50 business schools.
This year, I’ve hosted three leadership coaching sessions at the school, working with MBA students to share my experience and prepare them for the unpredictable. Robert Klecha, writer for Business Because (the network for the B-school world), interviewed me this week on the coaching series. His fine article appears here, my interview responses are below.
To help Lancaster’s MBA cohort become Inspirational Leaders, equipped to win in our crazy world.
2. Why did you decide on Lancaster for your series?
I was born in Lancaster. I am a Lancastrian. I believe LUMS has an excellent programme and Peter Lenney’s Mindful Manager Focus provides the perfect context for my Inspirational Leadership programme.
3. As a successful CEO without an MBA, how valuable do you think the MBA skill set is for those looking to take a leading role today?
The LUMS MBA provides candidates with the knowledge and skills they need to be competitive. To this, we hope to add a cultural toolbox that will help develop a Winning Attitude.
4. Given the fast changing business world today, what are your thoughts on the importance of creativity for leaders?
We live in the Age of the Idea. Ideas are the currency of today. Winning Companies will create cultures of Creativity and Innovation. Or whither on the vine.
5. Do you think creativity is something that can be taught? And are some people more creative than others?
Creativity is an art, grounded in science. We were all born creative – look at any three year old at play/learning! – and then it was systematically squeezed and drained out of us. We can rediscover it, and enhance it through learning, practice and confidence.
6. A lot of students have commented on how dynamic and engaging your lectures are, contrasting their expectations of how a CEO acts. How important is it to challenge conventional management methods?
We live in a VUCA world – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous. A world of disruption. To lead – and win – in this environment we need new techniques, skills and a hunger to grow, attack and change. We must embrace ‘Fail Fast, Learn Fast, and Fix Fast’ – and relish it!!
7. If you could give one piece of advice to current MBA students, what would it be?
Make Happy Choices.
8. How do you enjoy giving the lectures and working with the MBA students?
Love it (or I wouldn’t be doing it – see No. 7!!!). I love their diversity, hunger, ambition, wit and approach to life.
9. What is the highlight of your experience at Lancaster so far?
Watching the students start to figure out how good they could really be.