Dr. Doris Drucker, 1911 – 2014

9. October 2014

Doris Schmitz Drucker,Doris Drucker the widow of Peter F. Drucker, passed away peacefully on October 1, aged 103. Our thoughts are with her daughters, her son and her grandchildren.

Doris Drucker’s endorsement was essential for the launch of the Global Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna as an annual event. Doris made it clear to us from the outset that she did not want to see the Forum in a memorial capacity for Peter Drucker but rather as building on his thinking and moving beyond it – in view of the new challenges of our time. As a visible support to our endeavours she accepted in 2012 to become the Honorary President of the Peter Drucker Society Europe. We are deeply grateful to her for the trust she put in us.

Please find below the links to the tribute for Doris by the Drucker School and the Drucker Institute, the video with her acclaimed speech at the Centennial Drucker Forum in 2009 in Vienna and the opening messages to the Forums 2011, 2012, 2013.

We will miss Doris. However, her encouragement and her commitment to a genuine human oriented management philosophy as envisioned by Peter Drucker will continue to inspire us.

Richard Straub
Peter Drucker Society Europe

Leading Light: Warren Bennis is Dead

9. August 2014

Date: 09-08-2014

Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

Bennis The man who invented the study of corporate leadership, Warren Bennis, died on July 31. WARREN BENNIS was the world’s most important thinker on the subject that business leaders care about more than any other: themselves. When he started writing about leadership in the 1950s the subject was a back road. When he died on July 31st it was an eight-lane highway crowded with superstar professors whizzing along in multi-million-dollar muscle cars.

Mr Bennis produced about 30 books on leadership.

Some of them are classics, such as “On Becoming a Leader” (1989). All are surprisingly readable, stuffed with anecdotes, examples and literary references. He offered advice to leaders from all walks of life. Howard Schultz, the chairman of Starbucks, regarded him as a mentor. Presidents from both sides of the aisle—John Kennedy and Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan—sought his advice. If Peter Drucker was the man who invented management (as a book about him claimed), then Warren Bennis was the man who invented leadership as a business idea. 

Central to his thinking was a distinction between managers and leaders. Managers are people who like to do things right, he argued. Leaders are people who do the right thing. Managers have their eye on the bottom line. Leaders have their eye on the horizon. Managers help you to get to where you want to go. Leaders tell you what it is you want. He chastised business schools for focusing on the first at the expense of the second. People took MBAs, he said, not because they wanted to be middle managers but because they wanted to be chief executives. He argued that “failing organisations are usually over-managed and under-led”. Read the rest of this entry »

Management thinkers disagree on how to manage complexity

28. November 2013

Date: 27-11-2013
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

THERE can be few better places to talk about complexity than Vienna. This was the capital of the most complicated political organisation yet seen: the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was also the centre of some of the most convoluted cold-war spy games. On November 14th and 15th hundreds of management enthusiasts converged on the Austrian capital to debate the subject. They had little interest in the complexities of the Habsburgs or the cold war. They were preoccupied instead by two points: that business is more complicated than ever before; and that managing complexity is at the top of businesspeople’s agenda.

Whether they were right about the first point is debatable. In the 18th century it took six months for letters to travel from East India House in London to Calcutta and back. Today, supply chains can be managed in real time, and masses of data can be crunched instantly at the touch of a button. But they were right about the second. Businesspeople are confronted by more of everything than ever before: this year’s Global Electronics Forum in Shanghai featured 22,000 new products. They have to make decisions at a faster pace: roughly 60% of Apple’s revenues are generated by products that are less than four years old. Therefore, they have a more uncertain future: Harvard Business School’s William Sahlman warns young entrepreneurs about “the big eraser in the sky” that can come down at any moment and “wipe out all their cleverness and effort”. Read the rest of this entry »

Businesspeople would be better off if they did less and thought more

15. August 2013

Date: 15-08-2013
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter
Subject: In praise of laziness

THERE is a never-ending supply of business gurus telling us how we can, and must, do more. Sheryl Sandberg urges women to “Lean In” if they want to get ahead. John Bernard offers breathless advice on conducting “Business at the Speed of Now”. Michael Port tells salesmen how to “Book Yourself Solid”. And in case you thought you might be able to grab a few moments to yourself, Keith Ferrazzi warns that you must “Never Eat Alone”.

Yet the biggest problem in the business world is not too little but too much—too many distractions and interruptions, too many things done for the sake of form, and altogether too much busy-ness. The Dutch seem to believe that an excess of meetings is the biggest devourer of time: they talk of vergaderziekte, “meeting sickness”. However, a study last year by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that it is e-mails: it found that highly skilled office workers spend more than a quarter of each working day writing and responding to them.

Which of these banes of modern business life is worse remains open to debate. But what is clear is that office workers are on a treadmill of pointless activity. Managers allow meetings to drag on for hours. Workers generate e-mails because it requires little effort and no thought. An entire management industry exists to spin the treadmill ever faster. Read the rest of this entry »

“Falsches wird effizienter gemacht!”

4. December 2012

Viele Qualitätssysteme erheben den Absolutheitsanspruch – und machen nur grundlegend falscheHFKarner_Foto_by_Eva_Karner_13 Prozesse effizienter, kritisiert Helmut F. Karner. (Aus dem Industiemagazin Dezember 2012)

Serie Realitätsverweigerung Nr.9

Damit wir uns gleich verstehen: Ich bin nicht gegen Qualität. Natürlich nicht. Aber gegen den Hype mit den Qualitätssystemen.

Unser altösterreichischer Managementguru Peter Drucker sagte schon 1993: „Nothing is less productive than trying to make more efficient what should not be done at all!“Auf deutsch heisst das: “ISO 9000”. “Bist Du für Qualität, dann sei gegen ISO 9000”, so Reinhard K. Sprenger.

Also: Wenn ich das Falsche (= unnötige, für den Kunden nicht wertschöpfende Tätigkeiten) mache, das aber bestens dokumentiere und die Mitarbeiter ordentlich darauf dressiere, bekomme ich schon den Zertifikationsstempel.

Das Problem liegt hiermit nicht bei den Qualitätssystemen, sondern im Vorfeld. Wenn die Aufbauorganisation falsch ist, dann schafft sie per definitionem „Muda“, also Verschwendung, Redundanzen (in den Schnittstellen zwischen den Abteilungen). Die funktionale, abteilungsbezogene, verrichtungsorientierte Organisation (erfunden 1776 von Adam Smith, verfeinert 1911 von Frederic Taylor) ist das Problem. Wenn ich darin optimiere, betoniere ich nur die unnötigen Tätigkeiten ein. Und in diesem Sinne wird die IT auch zum Produktivitätsvernichter: wer die falschen Prozess automatisiert, kriegt sie nie wieder los! Die Optimierungs- und Produktivitätsberater haben ihr florierendes Business also den falschen Organisationsdesignern zu verdanken, vor allem deren größten Dilettanten – in den Vorstandsetagen. Read the rest of this entry »

The pursuit of shareholder value is attracting criticism—not all of it foolish

30. November 2012

Date: 29-11-2012
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter
Subject: Taking the long view

HE IS the chief executive of a multinational corporation, but Paul Polman sometimes sounds more like a spokesman for Occupy Wall Street. The boss of Unilever (an Anglo-Dutch consumer-goods firm with brands ranging from Timotei shampoo to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream) agonises about unemployment, global warming and baby-boomer greed. He puts some of the blame for these ills on the most influential management theory of the past three decades: the idea that companies should aim above all else to maximise returns to shareholders.

He appears to mean it. Since taking charge in 2009, Mr Polman has stopped Unilever from publishing full financial results every quarter. He refuses to offer earnings guidance to equity analysts. He has introduced a lengthy “sustainable living plan” and attracted a new cadre of long-term investors, particularly in emerging markets. He even told an audience in Davos that hedge-fund managers would sell their own grandmothers to make a profit. Read the rest of this entry »

Peter Drucker and A.G. Lafley Want You to Be Curious

11. October 2010

 08. Oktober 2010, 18:50:55 | Karen Dillon

What will you decide to be curious about Monday morning?

That’s a question that former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley routinely asks himself. For him, the willful decision to get curious about something new has led him to some amazing insights. For example, a few years ago Lafley wanted to get Peter Drucker‘s thoughts on the work of the CEO. So he decided to call the legendary management thinker out of the blue and see if he would be willing to meet. Drucker, Lafley recalls, answered his own phone and invited the relatively new P&G CEO to his home for a brief chat.

That livingroom chat ended up extending for hours and was the beginning of Lafley and Drucker doing some meaningful work together trying to define the work of the CEO. As Lafley recounted that first call when I interviewed him this week for the World Business Forum’s New York conference, he was still ebullient remembering how much time and thought Drucker was prepared to share with him — a stranger until Lafley picked up the phone. Lafley’s only regret was that he hadn’t dared to call Drucker sooner in his career because their work, which continued over future sessions in Drucker’s livingroom, was never fully complete in Drucker’s life. Lafley would finish that thinking with an article in Harvard Business Review after Drucker’s death, but he has wondered what else their collaboration might have produced had he called him sooner. Read the rest of this entry »