Management Is About Human Beings

In the final years of his life Peter Drucker, recognized as the Father of Modern Management, captured lifelong learning in his book, The Definitive Drucker. In his discussion of People and Knowledge, he begins with a statement of his life-long belief:  “Management is about human beings.  Its task is to make people capable of joint performance, to make their strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant.” The chapter provides an incredible mosaic of insights about people and the workplace.  The following are brief excerpts:

    • A test for an organization’s potential for greatness is whether every person in that organization can say ‘yes’ to three questions every day without any reservation or hedging or stopping to think:
      • Are you treated every day with dignity and respect by everyone you encounter?
      • Are you given the things that you need – education and training and encouragement and support – so that you make a contribution?
      • Do people notice that you did it?
    • What differentiates organizations is whether they can make common people perform uncommon things – and that depends primarily on whether people are being placed where their strengths can perform or whether they are being placed for absence of weakness. 
    • The only thing that requires even more time (and even more work) than putting the right people into a job is unmaking a wrong people decision.
    • Drop the word ‘achievement’ from your vocabulary and use ‘contribution.’  Helping people see that they have a unique contribution to make is central to setting them up to win.
    • If people work hard and play to their strengths, they can achieve success.  You have got to major in strengths and not in weaknesses.  Success equals matching strength to opportunity.
    • The first sign of decline of a company is loss of appeal to qualified, able, and ambitious people. What attracts them is work that is truly interesting and the chance to make a contribution that is truly significant.
    • People are much more than employees.  They embody the knowledge, the capabilities, and the relationships that your company takes to market.

Goethe tells great leaders:  “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”  Let your behaviors be guided by these words as you serve your people in helping them find and unleash their potential. Then watch them change the world.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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One Response to Management Is About Human Beings

  1. Jack Beach says:

    Mike, you have passed on what could be the most concise leadership primer and checklist.

    If at the beginning of each day one commits to:

    ? treat everyone with dignity and respect;
    ? provide the necessary resources and removing the obstacles to people contributing;
    ? note what people do and show appreciation; and
    ? treat people as if they were what they ought to be;

    and at the close of the day, reflects on the degree to which one kept those commitments, one will not only be a great leader but a magnificent human being.

    Thanks Mike.

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