Peter Drucker Biography

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Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things. – Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker  (November 19, 1909 – November 11, 2005) is considered the father and founder of modern management. He was an Austrian-born American management consultant, author, and educator, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation.

He is one of the best-known and most widely influential thinkers and writers on the subject of management theory and practice. His writings have predicted many of the major developments of the late twentieth century, including privatization and decentralization; the rise of Japan to economic world power; the decisive importance of marketing; and the emergence of the information society with its necessity of lifelong learning.

‘In most areas of intellectual life nobody can quite agree who is top dog. In management theory, however, there is no dispute. Peter Drucker has produced groundbreaking work in every aspect of the field.’ – Good guru guide’, Economist, 25 December–7 January 1994.

All results are on the outside. The inside is only cost and effort. – Peter Drucker

 From 1971 until his death, he was the Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at Claremont. Claremont Graduate University’s management school was named the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management in his honor in 1987 (later renamed the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management). He established the Drucker Archives at Claremont Graduate University in 1999; the Archives became the Drucker Institute in 2006. Drucker taught his last class in 2002 at age 92. He continued to act as a consultant to businesses and nonprofit organizations well into his nineties.

“The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we”; they think “team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit . . . This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.

  • As a business consultant, Drucker disliked the term “guru,” though it was often applied to him; “I have been saying for many years,” Drucker once remarked, “that we are using the word ‘guru’ only because ‘charlatan’ is too long to fit into a headline.”

In his book, “Wisdom at Work. Chip Conley, writes about Peter Drucker’s curiosity and life long learning:

“Peter Drucker, maybe the greatest management theorist of all time, recognized that it was never too late in life to learn a new skill. After all, he wrote two-thirds of his forty books after the age of sixty-five. His seventy-year career and his way of “living in more than one world” is a role model for all of us. “What matters,” he wrote, “is that the knowledge worker (a phrase he coined in 1959), by the time he or she reaches middle age, has developed and nourished a human being rather than a tax accountant or a hydraulic engineer.”

“Drucker lived to age ninety-five, and one of the ways he thrived later in life was by translating his curiosity into diving deeply into a new subject that intrigued him. He’d do this every couple of years on a diverse collection of subjects that had nothing to do with his business career, from Japanese flower arranging to medieval war strategies. He imagined that, on occasion, a “parallel career” might sprout out of this curiosity.

Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision. – Peter Drucker

  • Driven by an insatiable curiosity about the world around him—and a deep desire to make that world a better place—Drucker continued to write long after most others would have put away their pens. The result was a ceaseless procession of landmarks and classics: Concept of the Corporation in 1946, The Practice of Management in 1954, The Effective Executive in 1967, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices in 1973, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 1985, Post-Capitalist Society in 1993, Management Challenges for the 21st Century in 1999.

Greg) Mckeown, In his great book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, writes about peter Drucker being a master of saying No:

When Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the Hungarian professor most well known for his work on “flow,” reached out to interview a series of creative individuals for a book he was writing on creativity, Drucker’s response was interesting enough to Mihaly that he quoted it verbatim:

“I am greatly honored and flattered by your kind letter of February 14th—for I have admired you and your work for many years, and I have learned much from it. But, my dear Professor Csikszentmihalyi, I am afraid I have to disappoint you. I could not possibly answer your questions. I am told I am creative—I don’t know what that means.… I just keep on plodding.… I hope you will not think me presumptuous or rude if I say that one of the secrets of productivity (in which I believe whereas I do not believe in creativity) is to have a is to have a VERY BIG waste paper basket to take care of ALL invitations such as yours—productivity in my experience consists of NOT doing anything that helps the work of other people but to spend all one’s time on the work the Good Lord has fitted one to do, and to do well.

Peter Drucker believed that “people are effective because they say no.”

In his very great book, Art of the Start 2.0 : The Time-tested, Battle-hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything, Author and Entrepreneur, Guy Kawasaki writes about accidental genius with insights from Peter Drucker:

“As a startup, you can’t be picky or proud. Here are three eye-opening examples of blossoming flowers cited by the dean of entrepreneurship, Peter F. Drucker:

  • The inventor of Novocain intended it as a replacement for general anesthesia. Doctors, however, refused to use it and continued to rely upon traditional methods. Dentists, by contrast, quickly adopted it, so the inventor focused on this unintended market.
  • UNIVAC was the early leader in computers. However, it considered computers the tool of scientists, so it hesitated to sell its product to the business market. IBM, by contrast, wasn’t fixated on scientists, and let its products blossom as business computers. This is why IBM is a household name and you can only read about UNIVAC in history books.
  • An Indian company bought the license to manufacture a European bicycle with an auxiliary engine. The bicycle wasn’t successful, but the company noticed many orders for only the engine. Investigating this strange development, the company found out that people were using the engine to replace hand-operated pumps to irrigate fields. The company went on to sell millions of irrigation pumps.

Innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, the means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or a different service. It is capable of being learned, capable of being practiced. Entrepreneurs need to search purposefully for the sources of innovation, the changes and their symptoms that indicate opportunities for successful innovation. And they need to know and to apply the principles of successful innovation.” —Peter Drucker

Drucker on Why RESULTS Make Leaders

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes. – Peter Drucker

In their book, The Little Book of Big Management Theories: … and How to Use Them, James McGrath and  Bob Bates writes:

Effectively what Drucker claims is that managers are defined by the results they achieve. If you achieve outstanding results, people will view you as a great leader. They will even start to analyse your leadership style and try and identify the secrets of your success for others to use.

How to use it

  • You cannot demand that people call you their glorious leader unless you have the military and the secret police to back you up. The title of leader is bestowed on you by your followers. To attract followers you have to demonstrate achievements. Once you do that, people will want to be associated with you and the work you do because they too want to be part of something bigger than themselves that is successful.

Manage expectations. Always under-promise and over-deliver.

  • Never accept an unrealistic deadline. Such deadlines set you up to fail. iInstead, negotiate the deadline with your boss.

Hold regular review meetings with staff to monitor progress against each target.

  • Where there is a significant negative variance from that expected, take corrective action. Where there is a positive variance, identify what has caused it and see if it can be extended further.

Questions to ask

  • Am I a pushover when it comes to accepting deadlines or do I negotiate fair but challenging deadlines with my bosses?
  • How effective am I at monitoring progress against my targets?

In the Foreword to the 50th Anniversary Edition of The Effective Executive, Jim Collins shares 10 lessons he learned from Peter Drucker:


  • Drucker died in November 2005, just shy of his 96th birthday. Today, his legacy is being advanced by the Drucker Institute, whose purpose is to strengthen society by igniting effective, responsible and joyful management. Learn more about Peter Drucker and the work of the Drucker Institute.

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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