Business Week provided a summary of Druckers timeless ideas:
On Leadership: Dont ever think or say I. Think and say we. Effective leaders know they have authority only because they have the trust of an organization. They understand that the needs and opportunities of an organization come before their own needs.
On Talent: Attracting and holding talent have become two of the central tasks of management. Knowledge workers have many options and should be treated and managed as volunteers. Theyre interested in personal achievement and personal responsibility. They expect continuous learning and training. They want respect and authority. Give it to them.
On Work: Focus on opportunities rather than problems. Problem solving prevents damage but exploiting opportunities produces results. Unless there is a true crisis, problems shouldnt even be discussed at management meetings until opportunities have been analysed and dealt with. Exploit change as an opportunity, and dont view it as a threat.
On Making Decisions: Every decision is risky; it is a commitment of present resources to an unknown future. Risks can be minimized if you know when a decision is necessary, how to clearly define a problem and tackle it directly, and that youll have to make compromises in the end. You havent made a decision until youve found a way to implement it.
Rich Karkgaard provided these insights from Drucker in Forbes on leadership:
What Needs to Be Done: Successful leaders don’t start out asking, “What do I want to do?” They ask, “What needs to be done?” Then they ask, “Of those things that would make a difference, which are right for me?” They don’t tackle things they aren’t good at. They make sure other necessities get done, but not by them. Successful leaders make sure that they succeed! They are not afraid of strength in others. Andrew Carnegie wanted to put on his gravestone, “Here lies a man who knew how to put into his service more able men than he was himself.”
Check Your Performance: Effective leaders check their performance. They write down, “What do I hope to achieve if I take on this assignment?” They put away their goals for six months and then come back and check their performance against goals. This way, they find out what they do well and what they do poorly. They also find out whether they picked the truly important things to do. I’ve seen a great many people who are exceedingly good at execution, but exceedingly poor at picking the important things. They are magnificent at getting the unimportant things done. They have an impressive record of achievement on trivial matters.
Mission Driven: Leaders communicate in the sense that people around them know what they are trying to do. They are purpose driven–yes, mission driven. They know how to establish a mission. And another thing, they know how to say no. The pressure on leaders to do 984 different things is unbearable, so the effective ones learn how to say no and stick with it. They don’t suffocate themselves as a result. Too many leaders try to do a little bit of 25 things and get nothing done. They are very popular because they always say yes. But they get nothing done.
Tomorrow: Writings (continued)
TECH TALK Peter Drucker+T