As many in our government were bent on changing the NHS, should we not take a step back after the apocalyptic disaster in the financial world of 2008 and ask the simple question: Can we continue to trust and pay financiers and consultants to run our banks and other institutions and even our NHS?
He may not be the first to observe that HBS loves Marines, Mormons and Mckinsey. Kim Clark must indeed be the most famous sons of The Church of Latter Day Saints and PDB’s article in The Sunday Times: “Harvard’s masters of the apocalypse” may indeed be aptly titled.
We MBAs are haunted by the thought that the tag really stands for: Mediocre But Arrogant, Mighty Big Attitude, Me Before Anyone and Management By Accident. For today’s purposes, perhaps it should be Masters of the Business Apocalypse.
Business schools have shown a remarkable ability to miss the economic catastrophes unfolding before their eyes.
Then just last December, Harvard Business School revised and republished another homage to RBS – The Royal Bank of Scotland Group: The Human Capital Strategy.
Last October, Harvard Business School celebrated its 100th birthday with a global summit in Boston. While Wall Street and Washington descended into an economic inferno, Jay Light, the dean of the school and a board member at the Black-stone private equity group, opened the festivities by shrugging off any responsibility.
“We all failed to understand how that fragility could evidence itself in a frozen short-term credit system, something that hadn’t really happened since 1907. We also probably overestimated the ability of the political process to deal with the realities of what could happen if real trouble developed.
“What we have witnessed is a stunning and sobering failure of financial safeguards, of financial markets, of financial institutions and mostly of leadership at many levels. We will leave the talk of fixing the blame to others. That is not very interesting. But we must be involved in fact in fixing the problem.”
You would think after failing on so many levels, the school that provides more business leaders than any other might feel some remorse. Not in the least. It’s onwards and upwards, with the very people who blew apart the world’s financial plumbing now demanding to fix the leak.
If doctors or lawyers wreaked such havoc in their own professions, we would certainly reconsider what is being taught at medical and law schools.
He said of Light’s statement:
He was like a drunk driver emerging from a wreck asking for the keys to the police car so he could drive home. Don’t worry about who’s to blame, let’s just all run along, shall we?
A fairly straightforward book to read with real names and real people that one reads about in the business section of the major papers and often in the front pages too.
What is happening now in the US is very frightening: at the top some very rich CEOs and below them a highly dispensable workforce. The book talked about 30 million. No more job security for these.
Unfortunately, it may be too late to try and bring back the good will that has kept the OLD NHS going for so many years. The good will that was slowly destroyed by modern management ways and silly Pavlovian bonus culture.
“Please, spare us.”