Drucker Institute executive director speaks on leadership in Illinois

Rick Wartzman, executive director of the Drucker Institute, gave the keynote address at a luncheon celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence. It was titled “Leading Today.”

The Sept. 14 speech was delivered to more than 150 community leaders in Rockford, Illinois, including Mayor Lawrence Morrissey. The Center for Nonprofit Excellence, which provides information, education, consultation and resource support to area social-sector organizations, is part of Rockford College. For more about it, click here.

In his talk, Wartzman shared six lessons from Peter Drucker on leadership. Wartzman noted that these lessons are particularly important in a place like Rockford, which has seen a huge loss of manufacturing jobs. “I know this region has been particularly hard hit by the Great Recession,” Wartzman said, “but also by something more fundamental: what Peter Drucker identified as the historic shift from manual work to knowledge work.”

The best leaders, Wartzman remarked, begin by asking, “What needs to be done?” rather than “What do I want to do?”; embrace, instead of fear, their colleagues’ strengths; regularly measure their performance; willingly abandon what isn’t working; earn trust by showing consistency between their words and deeds; and balance the responsibility they have to focus on their own organization with what happens to the community at large.