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Tribute to Clayton Christensen (Forbes)

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

Thank You, Clay.

first published in Forbes

One of the great privileges of my life was to work with Clayton Christensen, the godfather of the theories of disruption. I worked for the Christensen Institute and co-authored a few pieces with him, including a short book on disruption in postsecondary education.


After his much-too-early passing, all of the poignant testimonials reinforced how Clay had an immeasurable impact on so many people’s lives. He changed our worldview. That is the recurring refrain, but even more amazingly, so many people all over the world viewed him as their mentor—feeling somehow blessed by that personal connection.

It wasn’t by happenstance that Clay had this effect on people; he worked at it intentionally. He was measuring his life by the amount of lift he could create in people’s lives. He imagined meeting his maker and having to focus that conversation “on the individuals whose self-esteem [he] was able to strengthen, whose faith [he] was able to reinforce, and whose discomfort [he] was able to assuage.” Those would be the metrics that mattered most in measuring his life.

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