Why don’t they teach you this in all schools ??

 Just Plain & Simple 
….. Helping Realise Potential 


 “What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School” became a hit and continues to be a hot favourite till date. I guess its success is due to the fact that there are areas where one’s formal education needs supplementing to enable development of a well rounded personality. Sports definitely play such a role. Various other extra curricular activities add to the development process. In the past few months, like every year, one saw inter college fests being celebrated all over. I strongly believe that these have their own place in the educational system.  


Also, the earlier in life that a positive (or negative) trait is built into one’s personality, the longer one gets to ‘benefit’ from it and stronger is the impact and intensity. Family influences and early childhood experiences have remained topics of research for many scholars.


The reason I am taking this book as an example is not because it is the only and complete source of non formal education, but because it highlights the strong need for ‘surrounding’ and building on the formal education imparted in our technical and management institutes.


A lot of the content and methodology in these educational programmes remains ‘left brain’ oriented. Hence, strategy, logic and analysis dominate the courses. Behavioural and social sciences are looked down upon by many students in technical and management institutes. Even out of those who opt for these, attendance is generally low. How can I be seen attending these classes !? These are for ‘softies’!!


The fact is that for almost a decade after I started working, operational and people related activities continued to dominate my work. My discussions with many professionals reveal similar experiences by most. Strategic content actually increases much later. While the operational component may go down, people related skills always stay important. That is where a ‘right brain’ led input becomes extremely important.


Many extremists, observed someone, have a technical background. Left brain led, logic and rational driven thinking is more prone to radicalism. ‘Softer’, right brain balancing can definitely help in channelising the thought flow much better. As one notices in some cases today, is cut throat competitive spirit a manifestation of gang wars ? And back stabbing and ruthless politics ? ‘Influence & Inspiration’ become euphemistic expressions for politics, fear and hurting others’ self esteem !! Few are organisations that truly believe in and practice collaboration and a WIN-WIN approach for all stakeholders across the value chain ….. suppliers, employees, customers, shareholders ….. and competition and for society at large, rather than a ‘Zero Sum, Win-Lose’ belief system.


This approach to working together also needs to be developed early enough in life and unfortunately, our formal education curriculum does not cover this important aspect. On passing out from the institute, one enters a set up with people from different cultures and institutes. One has to deal with multiple stake holders and face competition in its many forms. Job changes take one through different organisational cultures again. It is in these circumstances that the social/behavioural sciences dimensions of education and exposure to arts and humanities in technical courses can be of great help. Ideally, such courses should be given due importance in our educational institutes and early enough. However, needless to say, at an informal level, sports and other activities as mentioned above, definitely fulfill this important need very well.


Inter college meets and festivals play the same role at a bigger and broader level, by exposing students to cultures prevalent in different colleges (each institute develops its own specific culture and expressions over a period of time). These allow students to develop operational/organisation and people interaction/management skills at one level and to experience arts in the form of dance, music, dramatics etc. at another. But more than that, they expose students to different cultures, teaching them tolerance, understanding and collaborative working in the process. After all, over years, the success and popularity of an Inter College Fest, is not based on who wins, but on ‘The Spirit of Participation, Inclusiveness and Collaboration’ that is demonstrated there !!


Again, these may not be the only and complete answers to the issue, but definitely incremental steps in the desired direction. All these are also critical to one’s smooth and efficient entry, adjustment and success in future careers, through right brain mediated secondary emotions that control the primary instincts of the mid brain amygdala. Absence of such a balance leads to social maladjustments with disguised politics and goondaism masquerading as Leadership, even in the ‘so polished’  corporate world….. fear, politics, power games, lack of respect for others and hypocrisy are seen so commonly.  A lot of wrong and useless stuff gets passed off as Leadership Development. Truly ‘Inspirational Leadership through Influence’ is the casualty then ….. and India needs a lot of it now ….. and going forward !!



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Just Plain & Simple                               
….. Helping Realise Potential
JPS Customer Value Academy  
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One thought on “Why don’t they teach you this in all schools ??

  1. andy ferguson


    you’re right about Win – Win … We have started to discuss the concept of “Making the Difference that Makes the Difference”. Essentially we believe that the biggest Cul De Sac that could be made by the “developing world” is the mistake that the West (particularly the USA made in the 1960’s and 1970’s .. although the current financial meltdown also demonstrated)that science, analysis and hypothesis can foresee all eventualities and therefore cure all problems.

    The human species has came to dominate the world because of it ability to adapt, support it’s community and pass on concepts that work while trying out new stuff and getting rid of what has ceased to be useful.

    We create the possibility of huge mistakes when we start to believe we are “master of our own destiny” . Business schools, universities etc can teach us many things but that very rarely teach us (formally) about human nature. Indeed it is only recently that places like Harvard Business School acknowledge that “people make irrational decisions” .. before that business schools taught that the business world was “rational” .. which is laughable.

    Business is ALL about people .. what they want, what they will pay for, what they can make and sell ….. as we know people make irrational choices and we do not have the “computing power” to work out all the variables so only a fool would believe that what we are taught in formal education is anything other than a start to understanding business.

    It is only when we have an evolving understanding that the individual, business, and community must work together for all to succeed.


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