World-renowned innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen explores the personal benefits of business research in the forthcoming book How Will You Measure Your Life?
Every year, HBS Professor Clayton Christensen teaches students that well-tested academic theories can help them succeed not just in business, but in life. He expounds upon those lessons in his forthcoming book, How Will You Measure Your Life?Co-authored with James Allworth (MBA 2010) and Karen Dillon, the book uses meaningful corporate and personal anecdotes to extoll the value of theory in finding and creating happiness.
"You'll see that without theory, we're at sea without a map or a sextant," Christensen writes. "If we can't see beyond what's close by, we're relying on chance—on the currents of life—to guide us."
Christensen also believes that certain common business principles are misguided and even dangerous. In the following excerpt, he explains why focusing on marginal costs and revenues can lead to personal, professional, and moral failure.
Why ethical leaders don't make exceptions
There's no wiggle room when it comes to ethical leadership, writes Clayton Christensen.
Values have meaning precisely because they're inviolable, so bending rules in exceptional circumstances leaves leaders without any reliable moral compass. "Decide what you stand for. And then stand for it all the time," he advises.