Without doubt one of the most innovative personalities of the past century was Peter F. Drucker, a writer, professor, management consultant and self-described “social ecologist,” who explored the way human beings organize themselves and interact much the way an ecologist would observe and analyze the biological world.
He has had a crucial contribution to the development of Management as a discipline – the Man Who Invented Management – as he was once named by The New York Times.
He was saying that management is not a science or an art. It is a profession, like medicine or law. It is about getting the very best out of people.
Throughout his work, Drucker called for a healthy balance between short-term needs and long-term sustainability; between profitability and other obligations; between the specific mission of individual organizations and the common good; between freedom and responsibility.
He originated the view of the corporation as a human community built on trust and respect for the worker and not just a profit-making machine. He first made clear that there is “no business without a customer,” a simple notion that ushered in a new marketing mind-set.
He wrote about the contribution of knowledge workers long before anyone knew or understood how knowledge would trump raw material as the essential capital of the New Economy.
He taught the importance of picking the best people, of focusing on opportunities and not problems, of getting on the same side of the desk as our customers, of the need to understand your competitive advantages, and to continue to refine them. He believed that talented people were the essential ingredient of every successful enterprise.
Some famous quotes by Peter Drucker:
- “What is our business? Who is our customer? What does the customer value?”
- “Journalists use the word ‘guru’ only because ‘charlatan’ is too long.”
- “Management is the organ that converts a mob into an organization, and human efforts into performance.”
- “So much of what we call management consist in making it difficult to people to work.”
- “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”
- “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
- “The test of an innovation, after all, lies not its novelty, its scientific content, or its cleverness. It lies in its success in the marketplace.”
Summing-up: Peter Drucker was the greatest management thinker of the last century. The story of Peter Drucker is the story of management itself.