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. The Problem With Being Too Nice: This doesn’t apply to psychopaths, but it applies to many of the rest of us. We’re too nice. We don’t want conflict. Writing at the HBR Blog, Reputation.com founder Michael Fertik administers a couple of slaps and reminds us that niceness is not the same as goodness. “Leaders are also expected to make the tough decisions that serve the company or the team’s best interests,” he writes. “Being too nice can be lazy, inefficient, irresponsible and harmful to individuals and the organization.”

2. The World’s Biggest Uprooting: Everything is bigger in China, or so it seems. Writing in China Daily, Amy He explains that China wants 60% of its population to be living in urban areas by 2020, up from 53.7% today. That means moving about 10 million people a year for the next six years. The article notes that this represents the “largest migration in human history, the size, scope and speed of which has never been undertaken by any other country.” The article lays out the challenges in detail and notes some bumps in the road: “Modern-day ghost towns across China have been widely reported on in the last few years, cities where gleaming new apartment buildings and large shopping malls have seen few tenants and customers and remain largely unoccupied.”

3. A Time For Action: America’s second-largest city needs to change—and fast, according to local luminaries. Last December, an entity called the Los Angeles 2020 Commission issued a tough report highlighting numerous problems facing L.A.: unemployment, poverty, budget shortfalls, traffic congestion and often lousy schools. Now it has released another report, “A Time For Action,” laying out some ideas for solutions, including the establishment of an independent “Office of Transparency and Accountability.” The authors write: “Change is never easy, but unless Los Angeles embraces a different approach, it will become a city left behind in the 21st century.”

4. Dx Quote of the Week: Last week, when we looked at Pixar’s success in collaborative moviemaking, we asked readers if they, like Pixar’s Ed Catmull, had noticed the benefits of separating their emotions from the task at hand. Richard Mann said yes:

After years of making the same mistakes, and trying to evaluate the facts and reality, I found that when I avoided my personal feelings I had more success. In other areas of life, especially in making business decisions, it was much easier to concentrate on the hard facts and reality, and avoid getting personal.

I can see that the political world has become much too personal for most people. … My impression is that people vote their emotions, their personal feelings, rather than doing the hard analysis that is required to make the best choice.