What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack ｜Book Review｜
Hello readers, another week another book review! This week we’re looking at What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School by the late Mark McCormack.
Throughout this book, McCormack shares valuable “tricks of the trade” that have served him well in his illustrious business career.
Here’s my review!
McCormack emphasizes the importance of being aware of people’s inter-relationships. Meaning, an understanding of the social dynamics among a group of people you are talking to. Is there a clear leader? Is someone scared to share their true thoughts due to another person’s presence? Does somebody have information others aren’t aware of? These are just a few factors that contribute to the inter-relationship and social dynamics of a discussion.
McCormack encourages people to have one-on-one meetings whenever possible to eliminate these inter-relationship issues. Through doing this, we overcome many of the social pressures that are prevalent in group settings. Now, we are able to use our negotiation skills far more effectively and once we have convinced the individual, they can conjure up their own explanation for agreeing with the talking points that were discussed in private.
Delegation & Self-esteem
According to McCormack, delegating involves building somebody up, giving them the tools they need, and having the confidence in them to let go. Sounds simple enough, but ego often gets in the way. People would rather have authority, for the sake of having authority, than let go and support the capabilities of an individual that has expertise in a given field. McCormack believes that this type of behavior is symptomatic of insecurity. Oftentimes we feel that if we delegate a task to a capable individual, we will be seen is incapable. It’s a naïve approach that lies at the heart of our self-interest. The only remedy is to be comfortable with who you are and having confidence in yourself. McCormack belief that the sign of a great leader and top manager, is their ability to effectively delegate.
Lead by example
This is an adage that we have all heard before, and one that I’ve talked about in previous book reviews. However, I love the advice McCormack shares on this topic.
Never demand from others anything that you don’t demand of yourself.
McCormack illustrates this through explaining that if you are asking someone to come to work early or stay late, that person better be seeing you working early and staying late, otherwise it could leave a bad taste in their mouth. To clarify, it’s not a matter of doing identical work, but it’s about understanding that if you want other people to work to their limits, you have to be doing that yourself. Easier said than done, I know.
If I had two words to describe this book, they’d be 1) clear and 2) concise. This book is filled with brief anecdotal stories from McCormack’s business experiences. It’s a great book to have on the go, because you can read for five minutes and something will grab your attention. This is not a step-by-step guide to business success, but rather an insightful glimpse into the mind of a highly successful business man.
Although great advice is timeless, this book was published in 1989 and I feel some of the information is not as relevant today. Specifically, you won’t find much value if you’re looking for technology-related advice. No Facebook, Twitter or Instagram tips to be found here!
Who should read this book?
If you’re about to enter the workforce or already working full-time, I definitely think this book is valuable, as all the information that McCormack shares is related to business. The information is based on first-hand experiences and therefore something you can more easily relate to as an individual working yourself. Students (such as myself) can’t apply many of these ideas into our own lives as we aren’t faced with these types of business situations (yet).