Most Quoted Management Guru: Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker: the man who invented Management

What others say about Peter Drucker:

"The world knows he was the greatest management thinker of the last century" Jack Welch, former chairman of General Electric Co. (GE ), said after Drucker’s death.

"He was the creator and inventor of modern management" said management guru Tom Peters. ";In the early 1950s, nobody had a tool kit to manage these incredibly complex organizations that had gone out of control. Drucker was the first person to give us a handbook for that."

Adds Intel Corp. (INTC ) co-founder Andrew S. Grove: "Like many philosophers, he spoke in plain language that resonated with ordinary managers. Consequently, simple statements from him have influenced untold numbers of daily actions; they did mine over decades."

Peter Ferdinand Drucker was born Nov. 19, 1909 in Vienna. He worked as a financial reporter in Frankfurt, Germany, while he earned a doctoral degree in public and international law at Frankfurt University. He received his doctorate in 1931. The next year, he published an essay on a leading conservative philosopher that offended the Nazi government; his pamphlet was banned and burned. Peter Drucker, increasingly worried by the Nazis, moved to London, where he worked for a merchant bank. In 1937, he moved to the United States and began working as a correspondent for several British newspapers before becoming an economics professor at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. Later, he taught at Bennington College, in Vermont.

Peter F. Drucker, who was often called the world’s most influential business guru and whose thinking transformed corporate management in the latter half of the 20th century, His work influenced Winston Churchill, Bill Gates, Jack Welch and the Japanese business establishment. His more than three dozen books, written over 66 years and translated into 30 languages, also delivered his philosophy to newly promoted managers just out of the office cubicle.

He wasn’t always right, and academics disdained his popular approach, criticizing him for relying on anecdotes and accusing him of manipulating facts to fit his positions. But evidence of his influence is found in just how ordinary his insights now seem: A company should streamline bureaucracy. Managers should look for more efficient models for organizing work. Results are obtained by exploiting opportunities, not solving problems.

In the world of management gurus, however, there is no debate. "Peter Drucker is the one guru to whom other gurus kowtow," said the McKinsley Quarterly in 1996.

The renaissane man:

Well before his death, before the almost obligatory accolades poured in, Drucker had already become a legend, of course. He was the guru’s guru, a sage, kibitzer, doyen, and gadfly of business, all in one. He had moved fluidly among his various roles as journalist, professor, historian, economics commentator, and raconteur.

Over his 95 prolific years, he had been a true Renaissance man, a teacher of religion, philosophy, political science, and Asian art, even a novelist. But his most important contribution, clearly, was in business. What John Maynard Keynes is to economics or W. Edwards Deming to quality, Drucker is to management.

-It was Drucker who introduced the idea of decentralization – in the 1940s – which became a bedrock principle for virtually every large organization in the world.

-He was the first to assert – in the 1950s – that workers should be treated as assets, not as liabilities to be eliminated.

-He originated the view of the corporation as a human community – again, in the 1950s – built on trust and respect for the worker and not just a profit-making machine, a perspective that won Drucker an almost godlike reverence among the Japanese.

-He first made clear – still the ’50s – that there is "no business without a customer," simple notion that ushered in a new marketing mind-set.

-He argued in the 1960s – long before others – for the importance of substance over style, for institutionalized practices over charismatic, cult leaders.

-And it was Drucker again who wrote about the contribution of knowledge workers – in the 1970s – long before anyone knew or understood how knowledge would trump raw material as the essential capital of the New Economy.

Part of Drucker’s genius lay in his ability to find patterns among seemingly unconnected disciplines. Warren Bennis, a management guru himself and longtime admirer of Drucker, says he once asked his friend how he came up with so many original insights. Drucker narrowed his eyes thoughtfully. " learn only through listening,” he said, pausing, "to myself."

PETER DRUCKER QUOTES

"A manager is responsible for the application and performance of knowledge."

Peter Drucker


"Accept the fact that we have to treat almost anybody as a volunteer. "

Peter Drucker


"Business, that’s easily defined – it’s other people’s money."

Peter Drucker


"Checking the results of a decision against its expectations shows executives what their strengths are, where they need to improve, and where they lack knowledge or information. "

Peter Drucker


"Company cultures are like country cultures. Never try to change one. Try, instead, to work with what you’ve got. "

Peter Drucker


"Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes."

Peter Drucker


"Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things. "

Peter Drucker


"Executives owe it to the organization and to their fellow workers not to tolerate nonperforming individuals in important jobs."

Peter Drucker


"Few companies that installed computers to reduce the employment of clerks have realized their expectations… They now need more, and more expensive clerks even though they call them ‘operators’ or ‘programmers.’ "

Peter Drucker


"Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action. "

Peter Drucker


"Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth."

Peter Drucker


"Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes."

Peter Drucker


"Making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level."

Peter Drucker


"Management by objective works – if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time you don’t. "

Peter Drucker


"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."

Peter Drucker


"Most discussions of decision making assume that only senior executives make decisions or that only senior executives’ decisions matter. This is a dangerous mistake. "

Peter Drucker


"Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done. "

Peter Drucker


"My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions."

Peter Drucker


"Never mind your happiness; do your duty."

Peter Drucker


"No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings."

Peter Drucker


"People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year."

Peter Drucker


"Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work. "

Peter Drucker


"Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility."

Peter Drucker


"So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work. "

Peter Drucker


"Suppliers and especially manufacturers have market power because they have information about a product or a service that the customer does not and cannot have, and does not need if he can trust the brand. This explains the profitability of brands. "

Peter Drucker


"Teaching is the only major occupation of man for which we have not yet developed tools that make an average person capable of competence and performance. In teaching we rely on the "naturals," the ones who somehow know how to teach. "

Peter Drucker


"The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself."

Peter Drucker


"The best way to predict the future is to create it."

Peter Drucker


"The computer is a moron. "

Peter Drucker


"The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity. "

Peter Drucker


"The most efficient way to produce anything is to bring together under one management as many as possible of the activities needed to turn out the product."

Peter Drucker


"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. "

Peter Drucker


"The new information technology… Internet and e-mail… have practically eliminated the physical costs of communications. "

Peter Drucker


"The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different."

Peter Drucker


"The productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker but of the manager."

Peter Drucker


"The purpose of a business is to create a customer. "

Peter Drucker


"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all. "

Peter Drucker


"Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed."

Peter Drucker


"Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement. "

Peter Drucker


"Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window."

Peter Drucker


"Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no plans. "

Peter Drucker


"We can say with certainty – or 90% probability – that the new industries that are about to be born will have nothing to do with information."

Peter Drucker


"We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn."

Peter Drucker


"When a subject becomes totally obsolete we make it a required course."

Peter Drucker