Sunday, November 20, 2005

Why Drucker Still Matters

I think that most people in senior level executive jobs who are my age, and those who are within 35 or so years plus or minus certainly know who Peter Drucker was. For those who haven't heard of him, you may have noticed he was on the cover of BusinessWeek this week. If you read the cover story article, hopefully you gained some appreciation for his insights.

There was a sidebar in this article that featured just a few of Drucker's observations. They are all, as they say; "deep" but one in particular caught my eye. It was on leadership, and said the following:

"Don't ever think or say "I." Think and say "we." Effective leaders know they have authority only because they have the trust of the organization. They understand that the needs and opportunities of an organization come before their own needs."

How many trillions of dollars and been spent trying to figure out what leadership is and how to create or at least develop it I would not begin to know. All I do know is that in almost every survey I have ever seen, including
our own, when you ask employers what characteristic is the most critical the answer is always "leadership."

For me, and to borrow a phrase a bit it is like pornography. I can't define it, but I know it when I see it. I think that is true for most of us, and while Dr. Drucker's statement might not cover it all, starting with "we" rather than "I" is a heck of start.


Vito Colombo said...


I just joined your blog and found your articles very interesting and to the point.

I wanted to respond to one article you wrote on Nov 20th. You said you couldn't define leadership and even though I know you were going for an effect I thought you might want to check out "The Leadership Challenge" by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. In it, they describe a leadership model that should increase a person's ability to be an effective leader. I think you might find it interesting. It is the text used in Boston University's graduate business course on leadership.

Vito Colombo

Dave Opton said...


Many thanks, I will check it out. Anyone who can shed some additional light on something that remains both a mystery and a quest for most us would be well worth the time.