Strategic Profiling: The Drucker Connection

Here is this month’s piece from Brand Velocity, an Atlanta-based consulting firm that is putting Peter Drucker’s ideas into practice at major corporations.

For a while now, I have been writing on the Dx about Strategic Profiling, the tool that my consulting firm has used to help thousands of people in different organizations see where they and their colleagues best fit into a holistic, integrated system of management. Implicit in those essays—including here and here—is that I have long viewed Peter Drucker as the patron saint of this approach.

But I’ve never made that connection fully—until now.

To be sure, Drucker didn’t use the same terminology that we do at Brand Velocity. But I can assure you, his thinking infuses the entire, four-step framework.

First, there’s Envision, which addresses this strategic question: Where do you intend to go and why? Your answer will serve as your compass in an ever-changing environment. To help guide this part of the process, it’s particularly useful to keep Drucker’s words in mind: “Mission needs to be clear enough and big enough to provide a common vision.”

Next comes Design, which zeroes in on this: Now that you know where you want to go, what needs to happen and when? Getting everyone in the organization aligned, just as Drucker called for, is the key. “Every enterprise requires simple, clear and unifying objectives . . . leading to effective systems,” he wrote.

Once the priorities are clear, the Build step is the needed bridge between Design and Operate. It focuses on making sure you have the right processes and systems to carry out the priorities determined in Design—and not get distracted by anything else. The question here is: How exactly are we going to get the work done? As Drucker wrote: “It is . . . of major importance in managing a business to know which system applies” and “to carry its principles through as far as possible.”

Finally, when Envision, Design, and Build are integrated, the Operate step focuses on activating people to realize the vision. The guiding question is, again, deceptively simple: Who are the right people to bring this task to successful completion—and what precise roles do they need to play to get things done? As Drucker taught, “Making the right people decisions is the ultimate means of controlling an organization well.”

Today, employee engagement scores are at about 30%, according to Gallup. Much of this is because modern-day disconnects produce organizational toxins. Applying Strategic Profiling—and thereby channeling Peter Drucker—can make a major difference.

—Jack Bergstrand