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Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice by Rakesh Khurana, Nitin Nohria

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23

THE EXPERIENCE CONUNDRUM

Morgan W. McCall Jr.

Introduction

But the fact is that no book, consultant, class, or series of classes, including an MBA, can teach anyone how to lead even a small team, let alone a big organization. It is a craft you can learn only through experience. This lesson about leadership is evident throughout history, and remains true despite all the training and business knowledge that has been amassed.

—Pfeffer and Sutton, Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense

Ah, experience! The school of hard knocks that teaches lessons learned only in the trenches for which there is no substitute. Yet few concepts (is it a concept?) produce so many contradictions. “Some people have twenty years of experience, while ...

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