Today I received the sad news of the loss of Clayton Christensen (1952-2020), the management scholar who first defined the theory of disruptive innovation.
In 2010, he wrote about keeping sight of the most important things in life: “Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people.”
On the last day of class, Clayton asks his students to turn the theoretical lenses on themselves, to find cogent answers to three questions:
1. How can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career?
2. How can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness?
3. How can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail?
Though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not. Two of the 32 people in Clayton’s Rhodes scholar class spent time in jail. Jeff Skilling of Enron fame was a classmate of Clayton at HBS. These were good guys—but something in their lives sent them off in the wrong direction.
Management is the most noble of professions if it’s practiced well. No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognized for achievement, and contribute to the success of a team.
Another wise spirit gone….
You can read it all here