Bloomberg Features Gutierrez’s Management and Decision Making

Originally published by: Beth Braccio Herring for Centerpiece

The U. of Hard Knocks: What business school didn’t teach about managing

April 21, 2016 – The month of May will bring out a new crop of graduates ready to make their mark in the workforce.

And while things learned in business school undoubtedly help with future success, a diploma can’t prepare a manager for everything.

Here, seasoned leaders discuss things that turned out to be harder than expected, unforeseen curveballs, and what they know now that they wish they knew when they graduated.


“One of the biggest surprises in the workplace has been the degree to which variability in human behavior and interaction would play a role in strategic decision making. When you’re earning a degree in finance, the majority of your studies are focused on the numbers. You study valuations, funding structures, and payout outcomes. You create graphs and curves and analyze every nuance in a deal. In actual practice, rarely is anything cut and dry. The real world compounds so many more variables than any textbook example. As the human element becomes part of every decision, you realize there are multiple solutions with a variety of consequences for every choice you make.”

— Khristian Gutierrez, CBDO,


“What school cannot prepare you for are real life customer expectations. What you think they want or need or will like is more than likely wrong. You have to let them tell you what they want. Get as much feedback as you can from them for your next product launch or website design. They are the ones spending the money for your product or service.”

— Gene Caballero, co-founder, GreenPal


“I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the amount of personal-issue management that I’ve encountered. Tackling any business challenge is easier than trying to console/motivate an employee dealing with a personal tragedy (and what constitutes a ‘tragedy’ depends on the employee). People spend most of their time at work, so they inevitably will have to deal with issues ranging from bad breakups to deaths in the family while on the job. As their manager, employees often confide in me or look to me for help. I’ve always tried to be compassionate, but it’s also important to remain professional and remember that we all still have a job to do.”

— Leo Welder, founder and CEO,


“I have been thrown for a loop in the workplace more than once by training young people who then went out on their own and became my competition. My learning experience on this was that I was hiring the wrong kind of people. I was hiring people like me that I could relate to instead of people who wanted to contribute in a support role.”

— Daniel Goodwin, president, Provident Wealth Advisors LLC


“One of the things they do not teach you in business school is how to bridge the gap in knowledge between senior managers who’ve attended business school and your team members that haven’t. Concepts like ROI analysis and strategic positioning are drilled into business school students, but you’re never taught how to convey these concepts to those who haven’t had extensive exposure to them.”

— Leigh Goldstein, CEO, Getable


“Encouraging your team to be motivated can be the greatest challenge. I’ve created incentives, granted responsibilities that mattered to them as well as commended their work. However, I’ve learned that motivation is even more subjective than I realized with each person. Sometimes they discover this is not the right place for them and nothing you can do can change their mentality. Others find their passion and purpose, thus not requiring anything else on your part except acknowledgement. It’s a matter of helping them figure out what path is best, even if it means leaving the company.”

— Michael Zimmerlich, president, 80/20 Records

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