I love the Marriott School of Management. I think we all know by now that I am a complete and total business nerd--it's not a secret. Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a lecture given by Clayton Christensen. Clayton is a business guru who has written numerous books on innovation and started companies such as Innosight and the Ceramics Process Systems. He teaches at Harvard Business School and is also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He's a stellar guy!

Clayton Christensen
Clayton Christensen


I anticipated what I knew was going to be an amazing lecture and I was not in the least disappointed. Brother Christensen began by talking about different types of innovation within the business sphere and then began to apply these ideas to the Gospel. The majority of his remarks focused on this idea of marketing products and services based on their ability to complete a 'job-to-be-done.' For example, why are the majority of milkshakes sold before 8:30 in the morning at McDonald's? It's not because Mom is taking the kiddos for a pre-school sugar high, rather, it's because early morning commuters need something to do on their long, boring drive and the milkshake is the perfect product to hire. After Clay discussed this topic he applied this idea to sharing the Gospel with others.

He stated that we should look for the job that others need done. Clay told the story of his neighbor, who was comfortable in his own religion but desired more opportunities to serve. Because Clay was able to recognize this he invited him to serve alongside him and thus was able to introduce the Gospel to him in this way. As he wrapped up his planned remarks I began to think how I could apply this principle in my life and how this could change the way I serve in my callings and extend the invitation of the Gospel to others. I am still trying to figure it out, but it has been compelling to think about.

After Brother Christensen finished his lecture he allowed us to ask him questions. One of my classmates asked Clay how he found balance in his life. He has an extremely successful career, but also an extremely strong family. I think many of us, myself included, worry that we may have trouble finding that balance ourselves. Clay said that he prioritized his life and built a strategy that supported his long-term goals. He committed that he would never work on Saturday or Sunday and simply stuck with that. He said, "It is easier to keep your commitments 100% of the time than to keep them 98% of the time." He encouraged each of us to determine what is most important to us and then make sure that we are always living a strategy that keeps us on that path.

Ever since I left Clay's lecture I have been thinking about what he has said. I don't have all the answers or my perfect strategy mapped out, but I have certainly been thinking about it since then. What a blessing it was to be able to spend just a few minutes listening to someone that I admire so much. He gave wonderful insight that I am sure will bless my life for years to come. It was an afternoon well spent.

At the end of the lecture I also learned that I was VP of Marketing for my strategy class so that was exciting too :)

6 comments

  1. Interesting. I have been reading his book about missionary work. he seems amazing. share more.

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  2. He is hands down one of the most amazing people I have ever met!

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  3. [...] having a plan and being consistent with your long term goals. Clark was no different. Like Clayton, he spoke of the importance of defining a strategy for life and building around that. He said, [...]

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  4. [...] Vice President of Marketing in the Strategy Association -Kept my goal of attending the gym -Met Clayton Christensen -Developed my cooking skills -Performed a piano duet in church -Did something scary -Attended [...]

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