When people ask what I think they should do, I rarely answer their question directly. Instead, I run the question aloud through one of my models. Ill describe how the process in the model worked its way through an industry quite different from their own. And then, more oftenthan not, theyll say, OK, I get it. And theyll answer their own question more insightfully than I could have.
My class at HBS is structured to help my students understand what good management theory is and how it is built. To that backbone I attach different models or theories that help students think about the various dimensions of a general managers job in stimulating innovation and growth. In each session we look at one company through the lenses of those theoriesusing them to explain how the company got into its situation and to examine what managerial actions will yield the needed results.