The Man Who Invented ManagementSome business finance planning experts have referred to Peter Drucker as one of the leading minds of the last 100 years. Peter Drucker is probably not a household name to most individuals and yet he has been referred to by many as “The Man Who Invented Management.” Although he died in 2005, he left a business legacy that transcends perhaps any other single person in terms of the lasting impact he had on organizations and managers. His advice and managerial concepts were (and are) “priceless” in the true sense of the word. It has been said that a prominent business author wanted to title an upcoming book “Drucker Was Right” (but ultimately did not).
Please don't overlook my special commentary (Lessons to Be Learned) near the end of this page (before the summary of recommended books).
Why Drucker Now? The First and Best Business GuruWhile Peter Drucker is discussed in detail at every business school, the most genuine tribute to his expertise is provided by reviewing how successful companies and other business experts have used his advice on a daily basis (and continue to do so). Since I referred to Peter Drucker as possibly the first and best business management guru above, I will clarify what I mean by that. Like many words, “guru” has multiple meanings. Some of them are positive and some aren't. It is probably because of the negative connotations of “guru” that Peter Drucker did not think of himself as a “guru” (please see “A Reluctant Guru” below). In using “guru” as just one of many ways to talk about Peter Drucker, I certainly am intending to allude to only the most favorable qualities of the word. The following contemporary and non-religious interpretations of guru are most relevant to my attribution that Peter Drucker can be accurately and respectfully referred to as a superb business planning guru.
- One who dispels ignorance
- Someone who imparts knowledge to another
- An experienced and enlightened advisor
- A wise teacher
A Reluctant GuruPeter Drucker is often referred to as a business management and planning “guru.” In my view, he was the first and best business guru, but Peter Drucker nevertheless did not think of himself in these terms. He supposedly once said that “we are using the word 'guru' only because 'charlatan' is too long to fit into a headline.”
Planning and PredictingPeter Drucker is regularly given credit for predicting significant business changes before they occurred. One of his many astute observations provides some insights about how he managed to see so well into the future:
The best way to predict the future is to plan it.He was full of wisdom in almost everything he had to say. Here are two more examples:
The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
One More Thing
Plan B and Plan C and Plan DPeter Drucker seems to represent ground zero for business and management planning. I can't think of anyone who is more responsible than Peter Drucker for my own ingrained beliefs about the enduring value of contingency planning. “Always have a Plan B” is literally on my mind each and every day.
Lessons to Be Learned — An Enduring LegacyWhere should I start? Businesses and individuals everywhere are better off because of The Man Who Invented Management. Based on my own extended personal experience, the combined value of business planning and business communication were firmly implanted in my psyche by Peter Drucker and his extensive works.
He was often (far) ahead of his time. This is not just my opinion but one that is shared by many others. This observation can be illustrated by his persistence about the critical importance of businesses (and individuals) planning ahead. I have morphed his planning philosophies into a specialized version which I refer to as contingency business finance planning. The speed of change for business has accelerated dramatically since this expert management and planning guru made his primary observations. As a direct result, companies not engaging in some variation of contingency planning are now at a distinct disadvantage.
Of equal importance in today's high-speed economy is his advocacy of more effective business communicating. While this was always an astute observation, I have seen it blossom in importance during recent years. I view the juxtaposition of business communication and contingency business planning as perhaps the single most critical factor contributing to my own success on behalf of clients.
We should all feel fortunate that Peter Drucker had a leading role, a supporting role, and a behind-the-scenes role in our lives.
A Social EcologistPeter Drucker usually described himself as a social ecologist.
Peter Drucker was born November 19, 1909 in Austria-Hungary and died November 11, 2005 in Claremont, California (just before his 96th birthday).