If anyone is an expert on Peter Drucker, the “father of modern management,” it would be Bruce Rosenstein: Bruce has written about, contributed to, or been interviewed for a considerable number of articles about Peter Drucker. He has also written two books that capture and present Peter Drucker’s insights in a new way: Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life and Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way.
In part one of our series with Bruce, he shared wisdom that stems from Peter Drucker including ways to self-manage as a leader. In part two of our series, we continue to explore Peter Drucker’s time-tested principles, including how leaders can continue to improve themselves, and their organizations, with an eye for the future.
Abandon What Isn’t Working
Even when we continually stay in touch with changes in the marketplace, the work doesn’t end there. It’s also critical to end behaviors that are not useful and improve what has potential for the future. This relates to what Peter Drucker called “systematic abandonment” where we intentionally spend time to decide what to scale back on.
“It’s important to define and understand your present reality, so you can remove and improve the right things,” explains Bruce. “Peter Drucker advocated asking yourself if you were not already engaged in a particular activity or line of business, knowing what you know now, would you start doing it?” Bruce says it’s an exercise that forces you to think seriously about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
Questions we can continually ask include:
- Is the world going in a different direction?
- Will there always be a market and need for this?
- What could we do to build the future for the organization with the time and resources we’ll save by cutting particular products or services?
- What can we do that is totally different from our current products and services? And how would we go about it?
- What do we need to learn, and what kind of human capital do we need to move into our desired future?
Simon Cohen, CEO of Henco Logistics, in Mexico, provides an example of a leader who has found success in adopting a forward-thinking leadership approach. Henco Logistics is in the freight forwarding and logistics marketplace, a rigorous business with considerable competition, especially from bigger companies, and highly international in nature.
“Because [Simon] faces unrelenting competition from multinational companies much bigger than Henco, he continually looks for ways to differentiate,” says Bruce. “The common factor is excellent service delivered by engaged, happy, and passionate employees who feel a sense of pride and ownership in the company.”
Bruce says he identifies the necessity of constant growth, achieved by cultivating a start-up mentality, creating new positions for people to grow into as a way of providing internal career opportunities, and raising the bar on performance so no one gets complacent. And, he’s a leader that understands the value of front-line staff: “Every single task and every single person in every company and organization is important.”
Make Progress Towards Your Strategic Goals
At the 2-Day Professional Management Workshop, you (or your senior leaders) can understand the bigger picture—including how a shift in your strategy can impact your company culture, who you hire, your business structure, and what you measure. You’ll come away from the workshop with a common vocabulary and language to use in thinking and talking about strategic planning and professional management, helping you to greater impact on the future of your business.
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 brucerosenstein.com.
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