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How Divorce Can Teach Businesses to Thrive


Divorce and the success of your business don’t seem to have much in common, but Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen has found a correlation that connects an unsuccessful marriage to an unsuccessful company.

Christensen says when he graduated from Harvard Business School, his peers had dreams of getting married and living a life full of matrimonial bliss. However, many of them ended up divorced. How does this relate to business? The outcome of these marriages did not match the visions his peers had.

The solution is to have a full understanding of what the client or customer has hired you or your product to do. In his book titled “How Will You Measure Your Life,” Christensen mentions how a fast food company found success after realizing why patrons were “hiring” their milkshakes, which turned out to be something to drink on their commutes. Getting to this realization and understanding forces a company to practice empathy and view a situation from another perspective. Know what the needs of your customers are, even if they might not be fully aware of said needs — not unlike a marriage.

Christensen adds he uses the same understanding in his relationship with his wife Christine. “What are the jobs that arise in Christine’s life for which she might hire a husband? And I’m telling you — I would never hire Clayton Christensen — but understand the jobs that she needs to do really allows me to say, ‘Gosh, I guess I need to be the kind of person that she would want to have.'”

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(Photo credit: Keoni Cabral/Flickr)

Marissa Brassfield
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