People: Peter Drucker

People: Peter Drucker

In this episode, David and Justin discuss the ground breaking management work of Peter Drucker. Known as the “father of modern management”, Drucker’s work is responsible for much of the progress we’ve seen in industry over the last century. He was also the first major management thinker to equate business within an “ecological” framework and often used the human body as a metaphor…sound familiar? Here are the notes from this episode:

  • Peter Drucker (November 19, 1909 – November 11, 2005) was an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation. He was also a leader in the development of management education, he invented the concept known as management by objectives and self-control, and he has been described as “the founder of modern management”. More on wikipedia here.
  • His books include:
    • The Effective Executive
    • Managing for results
    • Adventures of a Bystander
    • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    • The Essential Drucker ← pick this one up first
  • Major themes from Drucker’s work:
    • Purpose – “what is our business” was his famous question
    • Knowledge Work – Drucker coined the phrase and drew the contrast between this kind of work and industrial work
    • Value Creation – “business exists to supply goods and services to customers, rather than to supply jobs to workers and managers…the hospital does not exist for the sake of doctors and nurses, but for the sake of patients…”
    • Risk – Drucker saw risk as the other side of the profit coin…“profit is the cost of the future”
    • Innovation – Drucker believed there are only two important functions of a business – innovation and marketing.
    • Body Metaphor – “The command-and-control organization that first emerged in the 1870s might be compared to an organism held together by its shell. The corporation that is now emerging is being designed around a skeleton: information, both the corporation’s new integrating system and its articulation.”
  • Tips for leaders based on Drucker’s work:
    • Realize that value is created outside your walls, inside you only have costs!
    • Ask yourself and your team “what is our business?” to continually focus you on how you add value
    • Communicate clearly what your organization’s objectives are and let the smart people you hired figure out the way to get there
    • Embody a 1 Cor 12 kind of culture where we’re truly better knowledge workers when we’re together

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