The World After Peter Drucker
By George Anderson
Last week, the best-selling author, management guru and self-described “social ecologist” Peter Drucker passed away at the age of 95.
During his lifetime, Mr. Drucker authored over 30 books, served as a consultant to some of the world’s largest companies, and shaped the thinking of countless business executives.
Well before it was fashionable, he made the argument that the key to corporate profitability and long-term success was treating employees (including hourly workers) as valuable assets and giving them greater authority to make decisions.
Here are a few of the statements that made business executives think and made Peter Drucker famous:
“People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.”
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
“Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.”
“So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.”
“Making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level.”
“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”
“No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed
of average human beings.”
Moderator’s Comment: What impact has Peter Drucker’s business and management philosophy had on retailing and related businesses? Which of his views have
had the most profound impact on how you approach your professional endeavors?
A New York Times obituary on Mr. Drucker concluded with a reference to an interview he did with Forbes last year. He was asked if there was
a book he hadn’t written but wished he had. His response was classic Drucker, “My best book would have been ‘Managing Ignorance,’ and I’m very sorry I didn’t write it.”
George Anderson – Moderator
- Peter F. Drucker, a Pioneer in Social and Management Theory, Is Dead at 95 – The
New York Times (free reg. required)