Skip to main content


By Jorge Manuel Zelaya Fajardo
January  29th, 2020


Clayton Magleby Christensen was a distinguished American academic and consultant who died a week ago at the age of 67 from cancer complications. I never had the opportunity to meet him personally, which is a real shame because I think I would have enjoyed receiving a class with him. However, I met him through his books and his lectures, his interviews and his writings. Christensen was that kind of intellectual who has all the qualities of a good human being. His diaphanous clarity and intellectual superiority reached the reader with a real and human sense. His  lines were always written to serve the student, reader or manager who read them. His tenure as professor of the Kim B. Clark  class of the Harvard Business School was obtained due, among other things, to a high   level intellectual background: Bachelor of Economics at Brigham Young University where he won the summa cum laude award , a master's degree in econometrics from the University of Oxford and then a master's degree in business administration from Harvard University with high distinction. It was also there that he obtained his last university degree: the doctorate in business administration. With his academic training, one would expect a  completely focused career  on teaching; however Christensen was a human being above average.  Second of eight children, he was born in the state of Utah in the United States. In his youth he volunteered in Korea where he learned the language, which he spoke with extraordinary mastery. Professionally, he was a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group and General Manager of his own company (CPS Technologies) in the 1980s, then co-founded other companies, including Innosight Ventures and Rose Park Advisors. He also served as a member of the board of directors of various private and non-profit organizations, his participation in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter –day Saints,    was particularly outstanding in terms of leadership positions.

Clayton Christensen wrote 10 books among which, in my opinion, his masterpiece stands out: The Innovator's Dilemma (where he explains to us with an intellectual and pragmatic basis the concept of Disruptive Innovation). I have decided, with particular emphasis not to explain this concept in these lines with the sole purpose of provoking, in those who do not know it, the fervent desire to find out after reading this essay. The other favorite book of mine  is an extraordinary book called How would you measure your life? (Which I find myself reading in this first month of the year)

However, I have decided to write these lines for two main reasons:
The first one  to honor the memory of a giant in its field of action (it was literally a giant as it measured 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m)).
The second to share the most important thing I learned from him: The humility of a brilliant professional, who knowing his talent and ability, had no problem in manifesting it openly.

On several occasions he expressed that he had never imagined that Steve Jobs thanked him publicly for the profound influence he had had on him. The same with what happened with Andy Grove, Intel CEO

¨ I never imagined meeting these people, much less helping them in their ventures. ¨ - Christensen said more than once.
Now, from everything learned from Professor Christensen, what stands out in a special way can be read between the lines in the answer to a question asked by Harvard Business Review some years ago:
¨ I taught Andy Grove not  WHAT to think, but  HOW to think,  so he could reach his own conclusions. That event changed the way I teach. I learned a lot from Andy Grove. When we teach our students that they must take into account real data, numbers, statistical facts and analysis (from the past) to make decisions (in the future), we are somehow condemning them to take action when the game is over. The only solution for the future is to HAVE A GOOD THEORY and with the lens of that theory, to test it by executing actions to validate it in a real way. ”
Simply awesome A clear explanation of an undeniable reality. A wise advice for an uncertain future. Like everything great, simple to say, difficult to accomplish.
As a professor, I plead guilty to what Clayton Christensen pointed out. Our data is from a past that not necessarily when projected will give us the expected result in the future. We live in a changing and fast world. However, taking the time to think and reflect on a GOOD THEORY should be the guide for the future. In the execution of that theory, the results will prove us right or wrong. Maybe when the results are not exactly what the theory says, they might come up even better (Serendipity).

Clayton Christensen died of leukemia complications, but his profound humility in teaching us to be better , will remain forever.


Popular posts from this blog


  “Un viaje de mil millas debe comenzar con un simple paso” Proverbio Chino. En mis clases de Gestión de la Calidad en los distintos Programas de Maestría en la Universidad Católica de Honduras, hay un tema que me apasiona particularmente porque tiene que ver directamente con mi país, con la Región Centroamericana y con Latinoamérica entera. Es un tema teórico pero con una aplicación práctica real. Es un tema fácil de entender, pero difícil de aplicar. Es un tema en que todos coincidimos, pero pocos aplicamos. Ese tema es el Decálogo del Desarrollo de Octavio Mavila. Octavio Mavila, distribuidor de motocicletas japonesas en Perú durante décadas, viajó varias veces al Japón por negocios. Su inquietud por saber cuál era la diferencia principal entre los obreros japoneses y peruanos lo llevó a estudiar con detenimiento cada viaje y descubrir que la clave era la forma como los niños japoneses aprendían progresivamente los valores de la vida. Tal observación lo impul


    Por Jorge Manuel Zelaya Fajardo Junio 11, 2019                                        La primera vez que platiqu é en persona con Fernando Herrera me pareció un hombre sencillo, un tanto introvertido y con sinceros deseos de compartir sus conocimientos y experiencias. Me senté con él en un modesto café en un concurrido centro comercial de Tegucigalpa, Honduras en una tarde de miércoles.   Cuando terminé la reunión con él, yo seguía pensando lo mismo que al inicio; pero ahora yo tenía ciertos adjetivos que agregar para describir a Fernando. Adjetivos para describir los impresionantes números logrados por este joven nacido en Guápiles, provincia de Limón, en el caribe de la hermana república de Costa Rica hace 33 años.   Nunca me imaginé que estaba hablando con el instructor con más alumnos registrados (137,922 alumnos en 22 cursos) en idioma español (España y América Latina juntas ) en UDEMY ( plataforma en línea de aprendizaje cuyo p


    Por Jorge Manuel Zelaya Fajardo Octubre 7, 2020         “Empieza por hacer lo que sea necesario; luego haz lo que sea posible y de repente estarás haciendo lo imposible.” --   San Francisco de Asís      Escribir estas líneas es enfrentar un majestuoso reto.   Estas líneas no son una biografía ni un escrito religioso. Son un análisis contemporáneo, desde el punto de vista humano, de un liderazgo transformativo como pocos:   El liderazgo de San Francisco de Asís.   San Francesco d’ Assisi nació en 1182 bajo el nombre de Giovanni di Pietro Bernardone   para llegar a convertirse en una de las figuras más prominentes de la espiritualidad cristiana de todos los tiempos. Las enseñanzas de su vida se mantienen con fresca relevancia y vitalidad    más de 700 años después de su muerte. Tal vez, hoy día, más que nunca. La vida de San Francisco de Asis es sencillamente una historia extraordinaria de inicio a fin. Está repleta de contrastes, luc