Major Leadership and Culture Transformation is UnderwayThe 10th annual Global Peter Drucker Forum just wrapped up in Vienna, his birthplace. Forbes senior contributor, Steve Denning entitled his report on the session, A Major Transformation of Management Is Already Underway.

The first management book I ever read way back when was Drucker’s The Effective Executive. Published in 1966 (I didn’t read it quite that early!), the book’s succinct and practical advice is still highly relevant today. Bestselling leadership author and researcher, Jim Collins, says, “if you are to read one book on executive self-management, it should be this definitive classic.”

I’ve been an avid Drucker fan ever since that first introduction to his highly useful work. Peter Drucker (1909 – 2005) left a huge legacy to our field. He wrote 39 books and hundreds of articles on leadership, management, and organization effectiveness. Drucker was the original thought leader and widely considered to be “the father of modern management.”

Here are a few key points from Denning’s report on the 10th Drucker forum:

  • Firms operating in the new way are hugely profitable and putting traditionally managed companies out of business. The organization of the future is already here.
  • Money is the result, not the goal of successful new companies.
  • These human-oriented firms tend to be bottom-up, not top-down.
  • New firms are customer-obsessed with adding value. This aligns with Drucker’s consistent theme that the only valid purpose of a firm is to get and keep customers.
  • Small is beautiful as these companies get big things done in small, self-organizing teams and units.
  • Processes are less important than inspiration and innovation.
  • Leading companies are mostly focused on passion and commitment, not roles and structures.
  • Values and culture are key features for consistency and coherence during rapid change.
  • A Deloitte survey of over 10,000 senior executives found more than 90% give high priority to being agile and collaborative. Many are frustrated because they don’t know how to be.
  • Organizations rarely change from the top down. Change comes from people who are activists. Everyone needs to become a change activist rather than waiting for permission.

Peter Drucker blazed a path spanning many decades. His thinking provided valuable maps for developing highly successful leaders and organizations. Many executives who ignored his advice or considered it too idealistic eventually paid the price. Reading the optimistic themes in this report reminded me of the old adage, “People who say it can’t be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”