Keeping The Spirit of Peter Drucker Alive

5 Octo­ber 2016 | Think­ing in New Ways

Peter Drucker’s lega­cy is secure­ly locked into the future. In 2005 (the year Druck­er died), Mark Mor­ri­son on Bloomberg called Drucker’s writ­ings “mon­u­men­tal”, and few would dis­agree. Said Mor­ri­son: “One of Drucker’s many strong points as a leader of man­age­ment think­ing was his con­sis­tent view that peo­ple are the most impor­tant resource a com­pa­ny has. The main func­tion of effec­tive man­agers, there­fore, is to train and moti­vate work­ers and give them great free­dom to per­form their jobs.” [link]
I first encoun­tered Drucker’s think­ing in 1979 when I was an under­grad stu­dent in the US. “There is noth­ing so use­less,” Druck­er once said, “as doing effi­cient­ly that which should not be done at all.” That kind of think­ing res­onat­ed with me then, and now. It will nev­er go out of style. (You might want to check out Jeff Shore’s “These 10 Peter Druck­er Quotes May Change Your World” on Entrepreneur.com as well.) [link]

Come 17 Novem­ber, the Peter Druck­er Soci­ety Europe will be hold­ing its annu­al two-day con­fer­ence in Vien­na [link], and this year its theme is one that tru­ly excites me: The Entre­pre­neur­ial Soci­ety — Mov­ing Beyond a Soci­ety of Employ­ees. Though Druck­er lived in the US, he was born in Aus­tria; and I can imag­ine him being just as keen on the sub­ject as I am. “The entre­pre­neur always search­es for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an oppor­tu­ni­ty,” he said (years before the change-hun­gry world of today).

There is noth­ing so use­less,” Druck­er once said, “as doing effi­cient­ly that which should not be done at all.”

I have sup­port­ed the work of the Druck­er Soci­ety since I attend­ed its inau­gur­al con­fer­ence. The event always pro­motes wide-rang­ing think­ing and dis­cus­sion. What I found then, and what I ful­ly expect to expe­ri­ence in a month, is a diverse group of con­tem­po­rary schol­ars dis­sect­ing not only the theme of the con­fer­ence but also their per­son­al encoun­ters with Druck­er. The soci­ety always brings togeth­er an inter­est­ing mix of thought lead­ers and organ­i­sa­tion­al lead­ers, as both groups hav­ing been great­ly influ­enced by Drucker’s work.

In addi­tion to my recent post on the Druck­er Forum direct­ly tied to the theme of the con­fer­ence [link], I’m also hon­ored to be a par­tic­i­pant in a pan­el dis­cus­sion on “New Prac­tice-ori­ent­ed Research for Inno­va­tion and Entre­pre­neur­ship”, chaired by Alex Adamopou­los, CEO of Emergn. Philippe Sil­berzahn from EM Lyon and John Hagel III will also be on the pan­el, and I think the men­tal fire­pow­er in the room willl be intense.

Hagel (@jhagel) is Co-Chair­man, Cen­ter for the Edge, at Deloitte [link], and I fol­low his work close­ly. His recent post on Finan­cial Review is a good exam­ple of his will­ing­ness to push the sta­tus quo. As Max Mason (@Maxepmason) reports, Hagel believes that sci­ence, tech­nol­o­gy, engi­neer­ing and math are impo­rat­nt, cre­ative skills are even more so. [link] Hagel also has a provoca­tive piece on HBR right now: “We Need to Expand Our Def­i­n­i­tion of Entre­pre­neur­ship”. [link] Yes!

To be sure, Peter Drucker’s lega­cy is secure. Yet, what is far more essen­tial is that Drucker’s spir­it live on into the future. And no one is doing this bet­ter than the Druck­er Soci­ety in Europe.

Joseph PistruiJoseph Pistrui (@nextsensing) is Pro­fes­sor of Entre­pre­neur­ial Man­age­ment at IE Busi­ness School in Madrid. He also leads the glob­al Nextsens­ing Project, which he found­ed in 2012.

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