Real World Doesn’t Always Fit Neatly Into Academic Frameworks

Balance is needed between the personal and impersonal sides of business.
I recently read an article at businessweek.com reminding managers to beware "overmeasurement." Focusing too much on measurement can result in "depersonalization, a decrease in trust, and a false sense that costs and risks are actually being managed," the author writes. (Read the column here.)
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Distributors have long run their businesses with customer relationships front of mind. Many recognize and respect the power of dinner and a handshake. Day-to-day, I speak with distributors and suppliers and am always impressed with the level of passion and care they have for their businesses and their customers. It really is like no other industry I have covered.
 
On the flip side, I am working nights on my MBA at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business. In my current Corporate Strategy course, I am bombarded with impersonal frameworks and measurement tools to be used to analyze and reveal answers for better business management and growth. While these frameworks and tools are certainly useful when used in the right ways at the right times, the real world does not usually fit neatly into these frameworks. Adaptation is always necessary.
 
The key: a balance between what distributors do well – relationships – and what academics do well – providing a starting point and structure to planning.

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