How Culture Drives Business School Mission

Dean of the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley, Rich Lyons, shares how the culture of a business school drives the institution's mission.


How Culture Drives Business School Mission

Dan LeClair: [00:16] Rich, thanks for doing this. I think you know by now that I've always been impressed, excited about the Haas mission to develop leaders that redefine how we do business.

[00:27] I know you go about achieving that mission a lot of different ways. You have robust strategies that work, but I also know that fundamentally you think culture is an important part of achieving that mission.

[00:41] Tell us a little bit about that culture and how you think it's important.

Rich Lyons: [00:47] Thanks. For all of us as business school deans, or for institution leaders anywhere in our world or in our economy, we think about how we can pull more meaning and purpose into our institutions, make people want to be there, make talent want to be there, whether it's faculty, staff, or students.

[01:06] When I think about culture, the words that come to mind for people are it's values, it's principles, it's behaviors, it's the stuff that you like to see in yourself and other people.

[01:18] There's no one way way to be. There's no one value, but as we move more toward meaning and purpose as institutions, and also as we differentiate, as we take a stand on what we're about, we don't need to look like everybody else. In fact, we shouldn't want that.

[01:34] We set out a set of principles. We call them defining principles, that we felt, "Look, they've been defining of our school, Berkeley Haas, for a long, long time, but let's be more intentional about it, shall we?"

[01:46] As we think about what it means to redefine the business graduate or redefine how we do business...I'll give you an example, a concrete example.

[01:55] We had a recruiter that came to us when we were first starting on this work of codifying, making this stuff explicit. The recruiter said, "You know why I hire your graduates, because they have confidence without attitude."

[02:05] In fact, for most people, we recognize that true confidence comes without arrogance. That's a good thing. Overconfidence, these are well documented problems in the economy.

[02:16] That was part of why we did that. We felt that it drives our mission. It pulls meaning into our school and gives people as sense of purpose.

Filmed February 2017 on site at AACSB's Deans Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.