Saturday, July 18, 2009

Best post ever on the difference between business and government

Here's a real doozy from my old friend and fellow Stanford/HBS grad, Adam Nash of LinkedIn:

In every class, for every business case, the argument almost always broke down as follows:

The MBA Students:

Tell us what the rules of the game are, and we’ll tell you how to win the game.

The Government Students:

Tell us who you want to win the game, and we’ll tell you how to make the rules.

Needless to say, the conversations typically went nowhere. The business students always felt it was unethical to either change the rules mid-stream, or to create an unlevel playing field. The government students always felt it was unethical to set up rules that weren’t destined to generate the ideal outcome.

Hmmm, equality of opportunity versus equality of outcome? Sounds like the Kennedy School is the anti-HBS.


kaichang said...

An interesting game - the only winning move is not to play.

Foobarista said...

Remember your Trotsky quotes:

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

Government is just like war; not playing the game isn't an option.