October 9, 2008

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Inside Drucker's Brain

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 7:24 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Inside Drucker's Brain by Jeffrey Krames, Portfolio, 224 Pages, October 2006, $24.95 Hardcover, ISBN 9781591842224
Peter Drucker, the man often referred to as "the inventor of modern management" died in 2005. Drucker was an author of numerous influential business books. From his first major book published in 1946, Concept of the Corporation--with it's inside look at GM--to his final book, Peter F. Drucker's thoughts and writing are timeless and brilliant.
Jeffrey Krames has been an editor, writer and publisher for twenty plus years. As he states:
...I thought the definitive book on Drucker had not yet been written. I had no intention of writing a biography, but rather a book that would accomplish two important objectives: one, to showcase his most important management philosophies and signature strategies, and show how they are as useful today as they were when Drucker first espoused them; and two, to reveal how many of the best-selling business books of the last two decades were built on ideas that he originated.

I believe that the author accomplishes these goals admirably.
I started reading this book because I know the author, and Drucker has always fascinated me. But truth be told, Drucker also somewhat intimidated me. I know people who have interviewed him and I always enjoy hearing about listening to his accent and how dazzling he was. "Drinking from a fire hose" seems to apply when you got him talking.
Krames starts the book with the story of how his wife thought this heavy accented phone caller was a crank caller. Then, when he figured out who had called, he calls back, but Drucker is so deaf that they reverted to letter writing. Just before Christmas 2003, Krames drives up to Drucker's modest house for two all day interviews surrounding six agreed upon questions. For the next eight hours, none of these questions are asked.
Topics range from the relatively recent arrival of the middle manager--since the Second World War--to one of his key assumptions that management is a practice, and success is measurable. Drucker describes the traits needed to be a capable manager:

Can hire, fire, organize...promote
Is completely accountable for results
Knows how to delegate upstairs
Makes informed decisions after thinking through the time frame
Really thinks it through and then communicates it
Is the right person for the business plan
Asks what needs to be done and sets a new priority
Ends meetings with clear assignments...most meetings end in murkiness

Jeffrey Krames relates Drucker's stories like the talented writer he is. What hooked me into this book is that the author had me practically sitting in Drucker's living room and the Italian restaurant for lunch as the great man told stories.