An innovator passes

12 Nov 2005|Darrel Rhea

The Effective Executive has long been one of the first books I turned to when I’ve needed a refresher on management skills. It was, in fact, a book I picked up immediately when I first became CEO of Cheskin. I knew it would help to ground my thinking once again, at a time when I needed to be reminded of ways to touch move and inspire a team. What I have always appreciated about the thinking behind that book is that it isn’t about managing one’s team; it is about managing oneself…and clearly that is the best place to start. To lead well is to be a leader.

The thinking behind this, of course, is from Peter Drucker, author, teacher, consultant, self-proclaimed social ecologist. I was sad to read that Mr. Drucker died yesterday at the age of 95. He was the consummate leader himself, teaching many of us to be more effective through improved time management, better decision-making, setting priorities, listening, communicating. I really liked that he viewed employees as resources and not as a cost, which is a point of view not embraced often enough by corporate executives. I was always moved by his increasing focus in the nonprofit world, and he inspired me to start spending more time with colleagues to figure out how we can leverage our resources to serve humanity in ways that the for-profit sector can’t.

I like especially his thinking about innovation, and how important it is to “turn on the tap” so that the corporate imagination will flow. “The tap,” he wrote in The Effective Executive, “is…disciplined disagreement.” How cool is that? Almost any executive can be a visionary, but it takes an enlightened executive to collaborate with his team to open up the ideation to all players and then to build the systems (discipline) required to succeed in implementation.

For more about him, there is an excellent though short article in today’s online New York Times which is a good place to start.

Thank you, Mr. Drucker, for changing the discourse of business.

prev next