Tips from the greatest business thinker of the 20th century

Original author: Thomas Koulopoulos
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Peter Drucker
“The best way to predict the future is to create it!”
Peter F. Drucker

If you have not heard of a man like Peter Drucker , you know nothing about management and marketing. One of the most famous people in the field of control theory. He has written dozens of books and an unimaginable number of articles published in the most famous business magazines. Today I propose to get acquainted with the translation of an article by one of his students.

Some people shine so brightly that they illuminate the near future. Peter Drucker was one of those people.

Drucker was one of the most influential business thinkers of the 20th century. Despite the fact that he wrote 39 books, most of what I know about him has nothing to do with his books. Almost everything is gleaned from private conversations.

10 years Peter Drucker was my mentor and friend. Our conversations, faxes and letters with him (he never bothered to get an e-mail) had a huge impact on my thinking. I remember him as a brilliant, but surprisingly modest person.

I met Drucker in the mid-90s at his country house in Clermont. A tiny ranch on a small piece of furniture that looked as if it had been borrowed from the set of The Brady Bunch . The modesty of the place where he lived was in stark contrast to his status as a guru.

Many of our conversations can be compared to a walk through the magnificent library. So I learned a lot first-hand. He has worked with a variety of people and companies, from the President of the United States and leading industry leaders to cardinals and bishops.

What I learned from him over ten years has remained in my memory as a kind of manifesto of creating an extraordinary company and an equally unusual life. Here are some of his most memorable ideas.

Do not rule, but lead

Drucker had a problem with the concept of managing mental workers. He felt that leadership was committed to shared responsibility. He believed in the ability of direct executors to make decisions. The leadership role, according to Peter Drucker, involves providing opportunities to people by providing resources for success, rather than step-by-step instructions. If this state of affairs scares you, most likely the company is run by completely the wrong people.

To keep good people, give them a chance ... on the moon

For 20 years I built my company, we did not lose any of the eight people from the leadership and leading developers. We have enough payment, but these people did not stay with us because of this. Drucker taught me that people are left with a challenge that allows them to go beyond their capabilities to be part of something more. This is what Peter Diamandis calls the “moon shot”, the target is so great that it creates gravity to attract people to it and keeps them in its orbit. In addition, trials scare only those people who you already do not need.

Before figuring out how something should be done, ask why it should be done at all.

Peter Drucker highlighted a controversial issue using indicators of the industrial era in the post-industrial world. He felt that too often we organize tasks without asking why there are tasks at all. One of the simplest, but important lessons I learned, requires a constant interest in the reasons for the appearance of a task before it starts. Drucker was a master at asking questions. For all ten years that I knew him, I’m not sure that he at least once answered my directly asked question. Instead, he almost always rephrased or reformulated my questions. Testing the strength of generally accepted dogmas has always been his forte — he often called himself a “stunner,” abusing people for a fee. He taught me to never be afraid and not ashamed to say, “I don’t know,” and ask “why?” before the action.

If you're bored, it's your fault

My mentor could not stand laziness and never stopped. I once asked him if he feels that it is time to slow down, then he was about ninety years old. The answer was “it is difficult to work indifferent and without a goal.” If you have a reason to work hard, then 24 hours in a day will be short. Despite this, he had the same passion for other areas of his life, for teaching, Japanese art and mentoring.

Treat your staff like volunteers

At first glance, complete heresy. Peter Drucker, completing a working career, worked a lot with non-profit and volunteer organizations. He tried to instill business acumen in non-profit projects, while believing that the converse is true, and commercial organizations can learn a lot from volunteers. Volunteers who left workplaces at the end of the working day can always return if necessary. Now the prevailing feature of workers is “Generation Y” (born between 1981 and 1990) and “Generation Z” (born after 2000) - a deep sense of social purpose in their work, which was essentially predicted by Peter Drucker.

Give up the past

How do you manage to accelerate the pace of change? To this question, he carefully selected the words, answered - "conscious refusal." One of my favorite quotes from Peter Drucker says: "The hardest thing is to make sure that the corpse does not rot." Yes, this is not a very pleasant idea, but how often do companies stay on their bright and wonderful past, while the future passes by them?

Be humble

This is the last of Peter Drucker's lessons that I remember. If there was someone with a reason for boasting and arrogance, it was he. Over the course of his life, he experienced more than a hundred other men and women, and yet, there was not a drop of arrogance in him. He had no reason to mess with me, but he still taught me.

The last letter I received from him was a response to my thank you letter for instructing me on the true path. In response, he wrote: “Tom, even if I miss nine-tenths of what you wrote, it's still too much!” It was Peter Drucker - brilliant, amiable and modest.

Let us follow his example.

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