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TECH TALK: Good Books: The Daily Drucker

April 25th, 2005 · 1 Comment

Summer is a time of intense heat across much of India. In places like Mumbai, the humidity makes it even more unbearable outside the comforts of ones home or office. With kids having vacations and airlines offering great deals for travelling outside India (round-trip fares from Mumbai to Singapore are available for as little as Rs 10,000), summers are good times for taking off. If, like me, you cannot do that, then we have the next best alternative: read a few good books! They will take the mind away from the heat outside and provide some interesting food for thought.

My first recommendation is The Daily Drucker. As the sub-title says, it is 366 days of insight and motivation for getting the right things done. Drucker is one of those few people (Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger are others) whose every word is filled with deep meaning and requires careful consideration. Through his life, Drucker has authored over 35 books. This book compiles the best of Druckers writings in easy-to-absorb capsules. Each thought is punctuated with an action point.

Consider for example the entry for April 18. It is entitled: Decision Steps for Picking People. Drucker says that the most important thing is that the person and the assignment fit each other. He writes:

General George C. Marshall followed Five Simple Decision Steps in making people decisions. First, Marshall carefully thought about the assignment. Job descriptions may last a long time, but job assignments change all the time. Second, Marshall always looked at several qualified people. Formal qualifications, such as those listed in a resume, are no more than a starting point. Their absence disqualifies a candidate. However, the most important thing is that the person and assignment fit each other. To find the best fit, you need to consider at least three to five candidates. Third, Marshall studied the performance records of all three to five candidates to find what each did well. He looked at the candidates strengths. The things a person cannot do are of little importance; instead, you must concentrate on the things they can do and determine whether they are the right strengths for this particular assignment. Performance can only be built on strengths. Fourth, Marshall discussed the candidates with others who worked with them. The best information often comes through informal discussions with a candidates former bosses and colleagues. And fifth, once the decision was made, Marshall made sure the appointee understood the assignment. Perhaps the best way to do this is to ask the new person to carefully think over what they have to do to be a success, and then, ninety days into the job, have the person to commit it to writing.

Druckers suggested action point for the day: Follow these five decision steps when hiring someone. Understand the job, consider three to five people, study candidates performance records to find their strengths, talk to the candidates colleagues about them, and once hired, explain the assignment to the new employees.

Tomorrow: The Daily Drucker (continued)


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