How will you measure your life? A lecture by Clayton Christensen…

Clayton Christensen challenges us to think about the question “How will you measure your life” during a lecture he gave at U&L College of Business. Christensen is regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on innovation and growth and the author of multiple books including “The Innovators Dilemma” and “The Innovators Solution”.  Christensen continues his influence during the lecture by providing a framework for finding significance and happiness by demonstrating his management theories in real life scenarios.

He encourages us to consider the following:

  • How can I be sure that I’m happy in my career?
  • How can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and family become an enduring source of happiness?
  • How can I be sure I stay out of jail?

The beauty of Christensen’s research is that it blends together management theory with personal insightfulness. Christensen encourages us to learn the lessons ourselves through the power of stories instead of listening to someone tell us what to think.  Christensen recalls a story of when he was asked to speak at Intel, and even though there were tight time constraints, Christensen stood his ground and was able to help teach the CEO how to think for himself, rather then just telling him what he thought.

“It is easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time”

Christensen also relates to his audience by sharing personal stories to help drive his message home. “I watched the fates of my HBS classmates from 1979 unfold; I’ve seen more and more of them come to reunions unhappy, divorced, and alienated from their children.  I can guarantee you that not a single one of them graduated with the deliberate strategy of getting divorced and raising children who would become estranged from them.” 

Christensen proposes that workers with a strong personal strategy will see the culture change sooner and review their options more proactively. This will keep them growing in their careers. This will also become evident as a trend sooner in the organization that is no longer serving the emotional and personal development needs of its people. The organization itself benefits from workers with a personal strategy, even if they leave because of it.

Christensen comments about how important management is when it’s “practiced well” and the importance of choosing the “right yardstick” when we measure what’s important in our lives:

“I have a pretty clear idea of how my ideas have generated enormous revenue for companies that have used my research.  I know I’ve had a substantial impact.  But as I’ve confronted the disease, it’s been interesting to see how unimportant the impact is to me now.  I’ve concluded that the metric by which God will assess my life isn’t dollars, but the individual people whose lives I’ve touched.”

Enjoy the lecture by clicking on the video….


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