Monday, November 14, 2005

Peter F Drucker

One of the great thinkers I have encountered in my life died this last week-end. Peter Drucker, management guru and imagineer, was ninety five. An outstanding mind.

When others were focused on trivial aspects of management, Drucker always had the grandstand seat to the future and was able to connect what he saw to the reality of executive leadership. Clear, direct, crisp and focused, his writing served to inspire the leaders of several generations - for thirty plus years he was "the man" in terms of understanding the true challenges of management.

"There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer," he said 45 years ago. Central to his philosophy was the belief that highly skilled people are an organization's most valuable resource and that a manager's job is to prepare and free people to perform. Good management can bring economic progress and social harmony, he said, adding that "although I believe in the free market, I have serious reservations about capitalism."

"In the world of management gurus, however, there is no debate. Peter Drucker is the one guru to whom other gurus kowtow," said the McKinsley Quarterly in 1996. They were right.

Here is a Drucker statement I found and carried in my day timer and used in all of my leadership roles, especially in CIM and Lifeskills:

“You must think through priorities. That’s easy to say, but to act on
it is very hard because doing so always involves abandoning things that look
attractive, or giving up programs that people both inside and outside the
organization are strongly encouraging.
But if you don’t concentrate your
institution’s resources, you are not going to get results. This may be the
ultimate test of leadership: the ability to think through the priority decision
and to make it stick."

RIP Peter Drucker

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