Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Drucker's Insight

Writing in Opinion Journal, Adrian Wooldridge reviews a book that gives us the thoughts of the great Peter Drucker as he neared the end of his life. An excerpt:

Drucker believed that the challenges facing companies now were more dramatic than anything he had seen in his long life. Consumers were gaining unprecedented power. Global competition had gone from wind level to storm level to hurricane level. Clever new companies were inventing not just new products but new human needs. (Who knew that it was impossible to live without carrying 10,000 songs around in your pocket?) Seven of the 10 companies that have seen the biggest growth in share value over the past five years did not exist a couple of decades ago.

To thrive in this new environment, Drucker claimed, companies would have to rethink everything. They would need to partner with "rivals" and consult with customers so that they could view themselves from the "outside in"; they would have to tap new sources of talent, such as retirees, and focus fiercely on their core competencies. "If it's not in your front room, then make it someone else's front room," he liked to say.

As for individuals, they are now in charge of their own progress. "Knowledge workers are neither bosses nor workers," he said, "but rather something in between--resources who have responsibility for developing their most important resource, brainpower, and who also need to take more control of their own careers." In the 21st century every man is not so much a king as a CEO of his own career.

Read it all here.

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