What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School | Mark H. McCormack

Summary of: What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
By: Mark H. McCormack


Dive into the world of street-smart business with Mark H. McCormack’s ‘What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School,’ a book that will open your eyes to the critical elements that make or break interpersonal business relationships. This book summary will show you the importance of social dynamics, effective listening, making lasting impressions, and trusting your instincts. You’ll learn that business is about more than just numbers – it’s about deeply understanding the people you’re working with and harnessing the nuances of human interaction.

The Human Element of Business

In business, success is not just about numbers and growth, but about understanding people. It’s important to know who you’re doing business with and their personalities to predict behavior accurately. Many people have different facades and knowing these fronts can give you a deeper understanding of their true self. Listening to what people have to say actively is essential to gain valuable insights. A famous example of actively listening and making a good impression is Pepsi’s partnership with Burger King. Listening to Burger King’s perspective, Pepsi implemented a novel approach that made Burger King switch from Coca-Cola to Pepsi. Therefore, to get ahead in business, it’s vital to connect with people on a personal level, actively listen, and make a good impression.

Making a Lasting Impression

To make a lasting impression on potential clients, an individual is advised to play with preconceptions and to personalize their communication. By doing the opposite of what is expected when approaching a prospective golf client, for instance, one’s interest is piqued. Personalized communication techniques such as mentioning a recent accomplishment or expressing well-wishes can also go a long way in establishing strong business relationships. The importance of recognizing the value of people and personalities in business cannot be overstated.

Trusting your gut in sales

In sales, it’s important to trust your feelings of doubt and discomfort. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to take a break and come back another day. Rejection and failure are inevitable in sales, but instead of letting them discourage you, use them as motivators to improve your sales tactics and dedicate yourself to making the sale.

The Importance of Timing and Silence in Business

In business, the success of an idea depends not only on its quality, but also on external factors like timing. Economic circumstances beyond your control might require a rejection of your idea at a particular moment, but that does not signify its inadequacy. Keeping silent about the negatives of a sale is also an essential factor in selling something effectively. Instead, focus on accentuating the positives to attract potential buyers.

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