Path-Bending Leadership at Haas: a de facto 5th Defining Principle

What does it mean to be a path-bending leader? What paths need bending? What makes Berkeley-Haas a unique environment for developing the path-bending leaders who will determine what is next? What is the connection between commercial opportunity and responsible leadership? How are Berkeley-Haas alumni transforming the companies they lead and the industries they serve? How does the greater diversity of people in organizations lead to more innovative thinking?
— http://insights.haasalumni.org/2012/05/path-bending-leadership-panel/

Path-Bending Leadership at Haas: a de facto 5th Principle

We have all known about Berkeley-Haas' 4 "Defining Principles" for a while now.   Personally, I consider Haas' emphasis on "Path-bending leadership" to be a de facto "5th principle" that builds upon the Defining Principles.  Most significantly and over the past year, I have seen path-bending leadership take on a greater significance with faculty, alumni and student discussions alike.  This trend has implications for your essays and "why Haas?"  

In short, path-bending leadership addresses the need for greater "problem framers."  Traditionally, b-schools have been adept at creating problem solvers, but have paid much less emphasis on those that can anticipate and adapt quickly to rapidly changing business and social environments.   Simply put, it's leadership that is more than just smart people creating a static plan and then executing on it.

Path-bending leaders:

  1. Recognize that faster innovation is a constant.

    1. In response, they create cultures that can accommodate and thrive in constantly changing cultures and sets of circumstances. 
  2. Divert from the traditional way of doing things in order to respond quickly.

    1. They recognize that companies (and managers) who have a myopic focus on creating long, drawn-out strategy are not as agile and quick to respond.
    2. They recognize that the old way of doing things means they will get beaten to the punch by companies that are smaller, nimble and agile.
  3. Can be paranoid - "Only the paranoid survive."

    1. That is, you are only as good as how you respond, what you can deliver quickly, and how fast you anticipate what you cannot see immediately.
    2. "Be paranoid about what you are missing."
  4. Bring multiple viewpoints (and associated people) together to deal with complexity and consistently use this strength as a speedy differentiator. 

  5. Start off strong - so the big guys (entrenched competitors) can't kill you when they discover you.

  6. Influence extends across industry and geography, as well as the for and non-profit sectors.

Examples of path-bending leaders:

  • Margo Alexander, BS 68,  former Chairman and CEO of UBS Global Asset Management
  • Paul Rice, MBA 96, founder and CEO of Fair Trade USA
  • Patrick Awuah, MBA 99, founder of the Ashesi University in Ghana

So how can you - as an applicant to Haas - learn more about Haas' view on path-bending leadership?

  1. First, read this article "Haas School of Business: Building Innovative Leaders http://haas.berkeley.edu/strategicplan/deanarticle.pdf >  Consider it a primer.
  2. Then watch this video-taped discussion to hear Haas faculty and alumni give their assessment of path-bending leadership.

Tips for Haas MBA Essays | Path Bending Leadership at Berkeley Haas | Amerasia Consulting Group Blog | Top Reviewed MBA Admissions Consultants

4 Defining Principles | Path Bending Leadership at Berkeley Haas | Amerasia Consulting Group Blog | Top Reviewed MBA Admissions Consultants

4 Defining Principles | Path Bending Leadership at Berkeley Haas | Amerasia Consulting Group Blog | Top Reviewed MBA Admissions Consultants