Peter Drucker

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…

Thoughts on the TATA Group challenge

As a teenager, 23 years ago, I remember being struck by something unsual in the newspapers one day. All of them were carrying one single news story on their front page. It was the obituary of JRD Tata. And on the rest of the page, there were vignettes or anecdotes from JRD’s life. Usually, political icons got such coverage. Why such a coverage for an industrialist then, I asked myself.  As I read and devoured everything in multiple papers and magazines, I got my answer. JRD was so much more than an industrialist & a business leader. JRD showed how much a business can contribute to a nation and society if it is driven by values & enlightened leadership. In your teens, you are moved more by ideas of justice and equality than by those of making money. To know that a business can reconcile such values & make money was a revelation to me. Reading about JRD made such a huge impact then. As I read about what is happening at the TATA group now, I am not dismayed…

How to be an Employee : Peter Drucker’s classic career advice

Being an employee is an art, says Drucker.  And he says getting fired from your first job may be a good thing! Isn’t that interesting? Peter Drucker wrote on this topic almost forty years back. The Basic Skill  He starts off by asking, ” What can you learn that will help you in being an employee?” The answer, unsurprisingly, is communication. Drucker calls it a basic skill which very few students bother to learn. This one basic skill is the ability to organize and express ideas in writing and in speaking. For Drucker, an early start is beneficial. ” The foundations for skill in expression have to be laid early : an interest in and an ear for language; experience in organizing ideas and data; in brushing aside the irrelevant; in wedding outward form and inner content into one structure; and above all, the habit of verbal expression. If you do not lay these foundations during your school years, you may never have an opportunity again. You should take courses in the writing of poetry and the writing of short stories. Most…

A Drucker quote & the fun a Devil’s advocate has with it!

Only three things happen naturally in organizations: friction, confusion, and under-performance. Everything else requires leadership – Peter Drucker. Here is what the Devil will say! Employee engagement is the oil for easing the friction without removing the cause. Organizational charts are the boxes where confusion is stuffed in. Business analysis is the drainage system for under-performance. Leadership is the art of juggling boxes with oily hands & draining away the tell-tale signs!

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…

Peter Drucker – On the first job

“On the whole young people have a tendency to hang on to the first job…beyond the time when they should have quit for their own good. Your first job may turn out to be right for you—but this is pure accident. Certainly you should not change jobs constantly or people will become suspicious rightly of your ability to hold any job. At the same time, you must not look upon the first job as the final job; it is primarily a training job, an opportunity to analyze yourself.” – Peter Drucker Drucker also advises people to leave their first job if they are not learning enough or if the company is not willing to heap responsibility on people in junior positions. In few words, Drucker liberates readers; he takes them to a vantage-point  from where they can see things most clearly.

Infosys: Making sense of leadership & organizational challenges

When the numbers accumulate & a trend is discernible, we can make a conjecture or two. The current CEO of Infosys, S.D Shibulal has said that at 18.7%, the attrition rate has reached uncomfortable levels. He considers this to be more worrisome than the exit of nine senior executives, quite a few among them being C-suite contenders. Both instances are of course, related. No two ways about it. Why is Infosys facing so many challenges? A significant part of the answer lies in the decision to rotate the top-leadership among all company founders. This is the primary conjecture. Let us trace the journey from then to now.  Emotions have a big role to play.We are all emotional beings.The story of Infosys is cherished corporate folklore.It has inspired millions of success stories in India. We rightly revere people like Narayan Murthy for their integrity-bound achievements.  Founder-owners make tremendous sacrifices in the cause of their enterprise success. It is their baby. The world invariably respects their commitment to safeguard their baby. Keeping the top-position in the company founders circle was a reflection of…

The Most Powerful Words for Guiding Human Resource Development in Organizations

In the fewest possible words, can we get a guiding principle for developing people in organizations? In my search for something that works, something not necessarily lofty, but nevertheless validated by success, I can think of no better one than the one below. Every organization develops people. It either helps them grow or stunts them. –       Peter Drucker The power in this profound observation escapes the casual reader. Make no mistake about it. For those who haven’t yet grasped the significance of these words, there is a new world waiting to be born! These are the most powerful words for any leader in any role to really reflect on, be it CEO, HR Head, L&D Head or a Business head. What makes them so powerful? They illuminate a truth we seldom consider & act upon. Our most over-used cliché is that people are our best asset. We accept that developing people is the key to organizational success. But do we really think that by not helping people grow, we are stunting their growth? To stunt is to permanently impair the ability…