management

Peter Drucker – Why does Emergency Room in a hospital exist? Brilliant!

Can anybody tell doctors what a hospital’s emergency room is for? Of course, not. Turns out Peter Drucker did. A legend in his lifetime, Drucker was once consulted by a hospital. They wanted him to help the Emergency Room (ER) of a hospital become more effective. Drucker started where he always does – mission. A mission statement answers the question – Why do we exist? Drucker asked the stakeholders in ER, “What is your mission?” At this point, put yourself in the shoes of the stakeholder. When I do, I answer, “The mission of ER is to save the life of everybody who is brought in” That is why it exists. Isn’t that true? People are wheeled into the place because it is, as the name suggests, an emergency! A life is at stake. We must save the life of this person. For Drucker, my answer won’t cut it. To him, the mission had to be so clear that it spells out in operational terms what to do next to achieve it. And that is his real genius! If we go by…

Peter Drucker on Knowledge Work & The Role of Managers

Peter Drucker is brilliant. In today’s knowledge-based society, most of us use our heads in order to earn a living. Unlike farmers and factory workers who used physical labour. We apply our specialized knowledge to work – whether it is the accountant, the software designer, the trainer, the engineer, the architect. All are knowledge workers. The challenge within organizations is how to make their individual work-output gel together into a product or a service. What is the essence of a manager’s challenge in an organization? All executive leaders, any first-rate professional intent on achieving supreme clarity on the subject ought to read and internalize Drucker’s words which I reproduce. The subject in question is – What is the essence of manager’s challenge in an organization, especially when it comes to knowledge-specialists? Drucker refers to these specialists as career professionals. Here is Peter Drucker at his incisive best. “Career professionals – and particularly the specialists-need a manager. Their major problem is the relation of their area of knowledge and expertise to the performance and results of the entire organization. Career professionals…

The efficiency-effectiveness motif

When you fit bulbs onto lamp-posts along the vast stretches of an express way, the way to get the job done quick and fast is one after the other. The bulky crane-like contraption of a vehicle  lumbers along as if nodding in agreement. Hardly something to think about in this set procedure. Indisputably efficient and alarmingly ineffective. Why so? Read on. The efficiency and effectiveness motif is well-recognized by most in business and social enterprises. Peter Drucker laid it out for us. Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things. He then admonishes us by saying “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all ” Effectiveness is the real deal. When the bulbs are fitted in a row, they start with the same shelf-life. They will blow out at more or less the same time, and plunge that patch of road into dangerous darkness for fast-moving traffic. The focus on effectiveness here leads us to the question,  “What is the purpose of setting up these lamp-posts? What is the right thing to do in going…

The size of a newspaper reveals news like no other!

Do you ever wonder how the standard newspaper size came to be? Freek Vermeulen, author of “Business Exposed:The naked truth about what really goes on in the world of business”,asked this question at Guardian, UK’s premier newspaper company. Curiously enough, nobody seemed to know. He continued to ask anybody and everybody in the newsprint industry and nobody had a clue! Britain has a well-preserved history.Freek dug into archives at public libraries. After combing through the pages of history, he came up with a stunning answer! In 1712,a taxation law was introduced to tax newspapers based on the number of pages they carried.Newspaper wanted to pack more info in less pages.And thus the standard newspaper size was born! This tax law was abolished in 1855. And yet, for more than 300 years now, the standard newspaper size has remained the same! Customers did like a smaller format: more convenient to hold and carry.Rarely have they been asked & though there have been instances of newpapers trying out smaller formats, the standard size rules! This size is also more expensive to produce…

On hyped-up management solutions

Daniel Vasella was the former Chairman & CEO of Novartis AG, one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical firms. In 2004, he was voted as the most influential European business leader of the last twenty-five years in a Financial Times poll. In a Mckinsey interview in 2009; in response to a question on management learning this is what he had to say, ” You asked about new management techniques, and I would say I have rather the opposite reaction. I go back and I read more in Peter Drucker’s books than on the newest kind of monolithic theme, because what we have watched and observed—and I know you know this in and out—we regularly have one theme which is blown up to a book, a new paradigm. But, frankly, it is just one element which has been specifically well investigated and then, you know, exposed and sold, but it always has been present. So if you go back to the roots, I think you see that most has been said and written” I love Peter Drucker. Vasella sums up very well why I focus on Drucker’s thinking…