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101 Things I Learned in Business School

101 Things I Learned

BUSINESS is not a discipline, but an endeavor made up of disciplines such as accounting, communications, economics, finance, leadership, management, marketing, operations, psychology, sociology, and strategy.

101 Things I Learned in Business School, written by Harvard MBA, Dr. Michael Preis helps to provide the broad knowledge based needed to succeed in business. Each lesson is concise and illustrated by Matthew Frederick. It is valuable for those just beginning o study business and a tool to explore more into areas where you could profit from learning more about.

Some of the lessons (with excerpt) include:

Lesson: Those who think theory “isn’t the real world” don’t understand what theory is.

Those who are adverse to theory may thrive in business as long as the parameters familiar to them remain in place. Those who embrace theory are more likely to seek out, adapt to, and benefit from new situations.

Lesson: Write it Once

A well-written contract defines or explains each term or condition only once. Repeating contract language in an effort to impart greater emphasis is dangerous, as differences in context can lead to confusion in meaning and an unfavorable interpretation in a court of law. Further, because negotiations invariably require editing of contract language, a redundantly worded contract will require changes in multiple locations—leading to the possibility that one location will be missed and an inconsistent document will result.

Lesson: A profitable company may be chronically short of cash.

A business typically makes a sale before payment is received from the customer, while the costs related to that sale, such as materials, labor, commissions, and overhead are borne up front. Consequently, a business may be short of cash until payment is received. An especially fast-growing company with rapidly increasing sales can be chronically short of cash, because the costs of growth (hiring and training new employees, acquiring new facilities and equipment, financing an ever-growing inventory, etc.) perpetually exceed the cash receipts from the previous, smaller sales volume. Procuring and maintaining adequate capital is crucial especially for new businesses. Undercapitalization is one of the most common causes of business failure.

Lesson: Learn an organization’s culture before working with or for it.

A poor culture match can not only create discomfort for workers, but can compromise endeavors at a corporate scale—undermining mergers, partnerships, and working relationships that are a good match by non-cultural measures.

4 Cultures

Lesson: Moral Hazard

A moral hazard exists when organizations and individuals are not required to bear the negative consequences of their failures. Moral hazards can result from a positive feedback loop: for example, a lender insured by the government against loan default may make very risky, high-interest loans to uncreditworthy customers because it will do no worse than break even, and may realize a very high rate of return.

Lesson: The higher one rises in an organization, the more one must be a generalist.

At the lower level of an organization, employees usually have direct knowledge of specific activities. … Managers often lack such specific knowledge and skills but have generalized understandings of personnel, training, motivation techniques, evaluation, product distribution, compensation, and budgeting. …At the highest executive levels, officers and board members may be concerned with the philosophical direction of the company, the organization’s mission, and the meanings of the company’s brand in the market.

Lesson: If all options appear to be equal, get more information.

When feeling stuck while weighing an important decision, it is almost always helpful to seek out new, objective information on any aspect of the matter—even if the effort tor information to be gained initially seems of little value. Even the most modest new data on a market, client, or technology, when probed seriously, can provoke expansive new insights that point toward a more informed decision.

Lesson: An expert isn’t always the person who knows the most.

Experts know a lot, but often it is better to know how to organize, structure, and contextualize, knowledge than to simply have knowledge. Innovative thinkers don’t merely retain and retrieve lots of information; often they identify and create new patterns and connections that reorient or reframe what others know.

Lesson: The point of a visual presentation is to get the audience to listen.

It can be tempting to pack slide or presentation boards with extra information to look smart or give the audience extra value. But he most effective visual presentations are clear, concise, and even terse. … If you have additional details to convey, put them in a takeaway handout or send them afterward in a thank-you email.


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Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:12 PM
| Comments (0) | This post is about General Business



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