Encounters with Peter Drucker
Peter F. Drucker passed away on November 11, eight days before his 96th birthday. Since he was a professor at Claremont Graduate University while I attended neighboring Claremont McKenna College in the late 1970s, I had the opportunity to meet Professor Drucker after a couple of his on-campus seminars. After over 25 years, I still remember two lessons from those seminars which later influenced my professional path as a manager and change agent:
- Management's vital role to anticipate the future and be a change leader.
- The importance of continuously eliminating waste in an organization. (He called it “organized abandonment” at the time.)
Professor Drucker was truly one of the early “lean thinkers” who I believe complements the works of Ford, Deming, and Shingo. His brilliance is not only how he addressed modern thinking on management from organizational change to process improvement, but also how he anticipated them by decades.
If you're just starting your Drucker library, a good first addition is The Essential Drucker, a compilation of his greatest writings. But my favorite Drucker book is The Effective Executive, first published in 1966 and still in print today. If you're a new manager and want straight, sound advice about how and where to focus your efforts, read it. If you're a seasoned executive and want a practical handbook for improving as a leader, read it.
The current issue of “The LEAN Executive” eNewsletter is a special tribute to Peter Drucker that lean thinkers may find of interest.
Professor Drucker, thank you for your contributions and inspiration. You made a real difference for me, countless others, and society.