Sunday, November 13, 2005
Yesterday morning I saw Peter Drucker's photo on the front page of a Chinese newspaper I could not read. I feared the worst. When I reached Bangkok, I confirmed the bad news on the net. Management's greatest spokesperson and teacher has departed for the big boardroom in the sky.
Peter Drucker's Management: Tasks, Responsibilites, Practices hit the shelves a few months before I got my MBA. What awful timing. Unlike the snarky MBA-in-a-box products, this book really delivered. I can't imagine a better foundation for the study of management.
At his core, Drucker believed that people are good. Management's job is to set a direction, make clear to workers what must be done, and free them to do it. Workers are a resource, not a cost. Treating them right releases their energy to achieve breakthrough performance. Long before they became popular, Drucker emphasized customer-focus, worker empowerment, and innovation. Knowledge workers? He made up the term.
I'm in the midst of writing my book on informal learning. Peter Drucker is easily the most profound influence on my thinking.