Of Cops and Robber Barons
Excerpts from some of the more popular posts from the Drucker Exchange, a daily blog produced by the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University.
Down to The Wire
“I realized The Wire has a lot to tell us about how and why performance measurement so often—and paradoxically—makes social problems worse instead of helping us solve them,” the Bridgespan Group’s Daniel Stid wrote recently in a provocative piece on lessons learned from the acclaimed HBO series.
Peter Drucker could certainly relate. After all, the manipulation of crime statistics and other data, as depicted on The Wire, is not too dissimilar from what happens in all kinds of organizations. “Managers, upon first being exposed to a budget system, often deliberately hold back sales and cut back profits rather than be guilty of ‘not making the budget,” Drucker wrote.
According to Fortune, some chief executive officers seem to “have begun to question the prioritization of shareholder value over the company’s defining values.”
No one would have been more pleased with that statement than Peter Drucker. Maximizing shareholder value, he asserted, invites short-term thinking. The best companies, Drucker believed, “do not attempt to maximize shareholder value or the short-term interest of any one of the enterprise’s ‘stakeholders.’ Rather, they maximize the wealth-producing capacity of the enterprise.”
Scholars from the London School of Economics and Harvard Business School found that CEOs spend an inordinate amount of time in meetings. The least these executives can do then is ensure that these gatherings become “work sessions rather than bull sessions,” to use Peter Drucker’s words.
With that in mind, Drucker offered up a number of tips to make meetings effective. Among them: summing up before adjournment and then following up afterward. Alfred Sloan of General Motors always wrote up a summary of the main points and the conclusions reached at a meeting and sent a copy to everyone who’d been present. Said Drucker: “It was through these memos—each a small masterpiece—that Sloan made himself into an outstandingly effective executive.”