It seems unbelievable that the individual called "the father of modern management" is neglected in the academic literature and is downplayed in other circles. Yet, when you explore Peter Drucker’s books and thinking, you find he was well ahead of his time, and on the forefront of management thinking.
Drucker’s career started with studying professional managers at General Motors as a consultant with Alfred Sloan. (That’s going WAY back!) As a result of that project, Drucker wrote Concept of the Corporation, published in 1946.
Drucker continued consulting for businesses and nonprofit institutions until his death at age 95 in 2005.
He was a mentor to Jack Welch in his stellar career at General Electric.
Drucker believed there wouldn’t be enough "naturals" to fill the requirements of businesses throughout the world, so he defined the role of management so that professional managers could be trained.
Jeffrey Krames was able to spend a day with Peter Drucker shortly before his death to distill Drucker’s key ideas and to learn some of the events in his life that defined his personality.
For example, Drucker’s parents invited prominent people in the Vienna Circle to their home, including economist Joseph Schumpeter and Sigmund Freud. His father was a "high government official" and his mother was a doctor.
Drucker admired his grandmother. She was practically destitute, but she treated others with respect, including the neighborhood prostitute, and was uncanny in her ability to get cooperation for what she wanted from government officers.
He was inspired by two of his elementary school teachers to become an educator himself. He called one of them "the very perfection of the Socratic method" and the other "a Zen master".
Here are some of the chapters summarizing Drucker’s thinking: Opportunity Favors the Prepared Mind, Execution First and Always, Broken Washroom Doors (take care of details), Outside In (being customer centered), Abandon All But Tomorrow, The Leader’s Most Important Job, and A Short Course on Innovation.
What Drucker taught went beyond what most people think of as management and encompassed innovation, leadership and marketing.
When you think of past masters on whose shoulders we all stand, remember to include Peter Drucker on your list. Inside Drucker’s Brain is an excellent resource for insight into the man and his ideas.
Buy it on Amazon: Inside Drucker's Brain.
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