May 29, 2012

What Peter Drucker Would Be Reading

Peter Drucker

Recent selections from around the web that, we think, would have caught Peter Drucker’s eye:

1.  Why We Lie: We tend to think of people as being cheaters or straight arrows. But chances are, you’re a little of both, explains Dan Ariely in The Wall Street Journal. Indeed, most folks view themselves as being basically honest, but they cheat—just a little: “Although it is obviously important to pay attention to flagrant misbehaviors, it is probably even more important to discourage the small and more ubiquitous forms of dishonesty—the misbehavior that affects all of us, as both perpetrators and victims.”

2.  Who in Your Company Can Say “Yes” to Innovation, Without Permission?: It’s tempting for people at the top to relegate the job of conceiving innovative ideas to lower-level employees, say Vijay Govindarajan and Mark Sebell on the HBR Blog, especially because innovation often means failure. But that’s counterproductive. “Big innovation requires the active engagement of an executive sponsor,” they write, “someone who can provide the needed resources and protect a fledgling project from getting killed by naysayers.”

3.  Cataloguing the Rats in JPMorgan Chase’s Granary: Bouncing off the remark by Charlie Munger that Wall Street traders “have all the social utility of a bunch of rats admitted to a granary,” Steve Denning writes in Forbes that there’s a deeper story to the trades-gone-wrong made by Bruno Iksil at JPMorgan Chase. The real problem is that firms have made their sole purpose that of maximizing shareholder value. “It is time to eliminate this pervasive nonsense from business thinking,” Denning asserts, “and re-devote the energies of business to what Peter Drucker recognized in 1973 as ‘the only valid purpose of a firm,’ namely, creating customers.”

4.  The Dx Comment of the Week: In response to our post “This Post Is Really Innovative,” in which we asked what sort of things merited the description of being “innovative,” reader Horst Lehrheuer offered this:

Even though I agreed with Peter Drucker’s simple definition of innovation, ‘the task of giving human and material resources new and greater wealth-producing capacity,’ throughout most of my life, today, in the sixth decade of my life, I would rather open the definition of innovation up to: Innovation is the act of giving human and material resources new and greater wellbeing-producing capacity. Wellbeing for me just doesn’t only include financial wellbeing (i.e. wealth) but it also includes social and environmental wellbeing, as well as human health.

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