Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way (Part 1)

Oct 11, 2016 1:36 PM by Aileron

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What if, in the 1990s, bookstores, publishers, record stores, and record companies did things differently in meeting the digital challenge, before it was too late?

It’s an example of dealing with change that was brought up during our conversation with Bruce Rosenstein, an author and speaker who, for more than 30 years, has extensively studied and written about the work and life of management guru Peter Drucker.

Because Aileron has studied Peter Drucker and has incorporated many of his philosophies into our Professional Management system, we spoke with Bruce about how to apply what the “father of modern management” suggests for how leaders can organize themselves for constant change.

Steps to Deal with Change

Bruce says to start to organize for constant change, leaders first have to accept that there is not ever going to be a comfortable status quo, and that you will never go back to the past. Thinking and acting this way, over time, is very powerful for business owners, says Bruce. It helps leaders to be thinking and acting strategically on an ongoing basis, rather than just approaching strategic planning as a once a year event. 

Based on Peter Drucker’s philosophies on constant change, here are 4 ways to prepare for strategic planning throughout the year.

1. Find a strong sense of your present reality. 

One method, as explained in Bruce’s book, Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life, is to take inventory of all your current activities.

By listing out all of what you do as a professional, and what your organization does, you can start to see what you are doing and what kind of effort, time, and other resources you are spending on those activities. 

2. Get a handle on what’s happening outside and beyond your four walls. 

“This can mean everything from shadowing employees and meeting customers, to volunteering with nonprofits to meet and interact with people who think and act differently from you. It also means being aware of what’s going on beyond your own field, as important as that is,” explains Bruce.

One strategy to bring the outside in is to have informal book groups or journal clubs (borrowing an idea from the medical/scientific field) to learn about and discuss new topics, especially those related to the future.

“You could also bring in outside experts and authors to speak informally at brown-bags and related events,” says Bruce.

3. Gather competitive information that can help drive strategy. 

Whether it be with a do-it-yourself approach or hiring an outside firm for help, collecting knowledge on the marketplace can help uncover things people within the organization are not aware of. “Collecting and analyzing information about products/services, competitors and customers is inherently future-oriented, and speaks to the fact that the big changes that affect you and your organization tend to originate outside it, as the book and music industries learned the hard way.” 

4. Make sense of your findings. 

Once you put in work to look at ways you and the organization are spending time, and how that differs from what’s happening in the marketplace around you, look to organize your findings into assumptions, doubts, and challenges.

This should be done on an ongoing basis, and the process can release you from linear thinking. Although linear thinking can be an effective approach in many business contexts, when you looking to be more prepared for the future, it’s important to think multi-directionally.

Bruce recommends starting a notebook or a file that can be focused on creating your future. That file can collect your plans and goals, relevant articles and books, and your ongoing observations about the future for you and your organization. This way of collecting insights is just one more way leaders can update and evolve their strategic plan throughout the year, as the business environment changes.

Part two in the blog post series features questions to ask based on Peter Drucker’s philosophies on self-development.

Put Peter Drucker’s Ideas Into Practice

The 1-Day Professional Management Workshop equips you with the knowledge of Aileron's professional management system, including principles that come from Peter Drucker. Come away from the workshop knowing the benefits of professional management (for you and your company), as well as key opportunities for you to use the proven principles, tools, and methods with your team.

1-Day Professional Management Workshop

About Bruce Rosenstein

Bruce Rosenstein is managing editor of Leader to Leader and a former researcher and writer for USA Today. He is author of Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way (McGraw-Hill/Brilliance Audio) and Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker's Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life (Berrett-Koehler). For more information, visit

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