Behaving Like a Human Being

Rick Wartzman

In his latest column for Bloomberg Businessweek online, Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman explores StandOut, the new book on by Marcus Buckingham, who has been at the fore of a movement for people to build on their strengths rather than try to correct their weaknesses.

Peter Drucker, for one, had expressed the same view since at least the mid-1950s, about the same time that Abraham Maslow and a few others began to advance a similar notion as pioneers in the field of positive psychology,” Wartzman explains.

[EXPAND More]“One should waste as little effort as possible on improving areas of low competence,” Wartzman quotes Drucker as saying. “It takes far more energy . . . to improve from incompetency to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.”

Wartzman goes on to note that a key takeaway from both Buckingham and Drucker is that “there is no one right formula to be successful.”

“We have studied the country’s best high school principals, the best affiliate leaders of Habitat for Humanity, the best emergency room nurses, the best pharmaceutical reps, and whenever we interview excellent performers in the same role,” Buckingham says, “we find this same phenomenon—extraordinary results achieved in radically different ways.”

Wrote Drucker: It’s important “to accept the fact that other people are as much individuals as you yourself are. They perversely insist on behaving like human beings. This means that they too have their strengths; they too have their ways of getting things done; they too have their values. . . . Each works his or her way, not your way. And each is entitled to work his or her way.”