Episode 171 | Why you don’t need an MBA | Alicia McKay

In this episode we’re going to make you feel better about not having an MBA. My guest is Alicia McKay. Alicia has been throwing hand grenades at the establishment. She articulates, in a sometimes brutal fashion, how and why MBA’s come up short when it comes to preparing leaders for the real world.

In the ground-breaking book You Don’t Need an MBA: Leadership Lessons that Cut Through the Crap Alicia shows that she is just in the business of pointing out shortfalls. She’s well and truly in the business of filling the gap, with astute observations, powerful concepts and actionable ideas.

She demystifies the skills leaders of the future need and epitomises the brave new world of leadership; united leadership that focuses on real outcomes, not quick-fixes. McKay shows readers how to focus on key things they don’t teach you at business school.

Lessons learned

Five skills every leaders must have

  • How to develop true flexibility
  • How to make good decisions
  • How to build powerful systems
  • How to drive real performance
  • How to have meaningful influence.

An MBA doesn’t mean anything

It doesn’t matter how good you are. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. It doesn’t matter how nice you are.  Instead, you need to be positioned to be able to respond well, to things you know nothing about.  That might be artificial intelligence or a new competitor.  Or it could be new legislation, a natural disaster or a global pandemic.  You need to realise that you can base your whole career on expertise, and it can mean nothing. Tomorrow, an algorithm could replace your job. If you’re not ready for that, well, you’re not ready for anything.

Becoming a system leader

A systems leader is a detective, a scientist and a big picture thinker.  Most people have been going around at work, trying to build these best practice silos of subject matter expertise. And then they get angry that other people don’t understand why the thing they know the most about is the most important thing. And that has created a lot of frustration.  It has shut people out and revealed how broken everything is. Systems leaders find out what the reason is for something not working. They  root cause, not the symptom.





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