Thursday, September 29, 2011

The formation of character is a lifelong process...

“The formation of character is a lifelong process.” -Nitin Nohria

Nitin Nohria is the new dean of Harvard Business School and he has caught my attention. He taught leadership for many years at HBS before becoming dean in 2010.

Nohria is very focused on making sure the graduates leave Harvard with an understanding of business ethics. He believes there is a big difference between people knowing their responsibilities as leaders and their capacity to live up to them when they are faced with temptation or pressure.

Reporters from the Wall Street Journal published some interview questions from a recent lunch outing they had with Nohria. I loved a quote on character building and power at the end of that article:

“Abraham Lincoln said that people think that the real test of a person’s character is how they deal with adversity. A much better measure of a person’s character is to give them power.

I’ve been more often disappointed with how people’s character is revealed when they’ve been given power.

I have learned that in very modest ways even as having become dean. How I inhabit this new sense of self and learn to stay grounded is going to be as important to the formation of my character as anything I’ve learned from my parents.” -Nitin Nohria