Write me a letter

My wife was asked to write a letter of recommendation for a colleague that is trying to get into the Stanford MBA program. To help my wife, and those like her, Stanford has created a podcast that educates anyone writing such a letter on what Stanford is looking for.

The podcast goes into great detail about how a “she’s great at everything” letter really does them no good. A letter like this provides no depth or texture to the individual. The podcast goes so far as to say that they really struggle with letters like these.

In order to really evaluate an individual, Stanford wants to know who the authentic person is. They want stories of how the applicant has reacted to adversity in the past. They want to know about past failures by the applicant. They ask for stories about the applicants reactions during times of office conflict. They want stories that exemplify the applicants leadership skills. Stanford wants the whole picture, and we all know that every individual and every company has a “whole picture.”

This is what social media is about. Stanford already gets it. Many companies do as well. And those that don’t are going to be left behind.

Mistakes aren’t bad. Mistakes simply mean that you are authentic. Its how you react to the mistakes that really counts. Its an uncomfortable proposition for many companies that are used to putting the glossy, marketing fluff out to the public.


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