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. Sustainability a CFO Can Love: Definitions of “sustainability” vary, but the standard version seems to be “a quality of companies that try to be environmentally responsible.” Writing with Boston College social innovation fellow Lynnette McIntire, Kurt Kuehn, chief financial officer at UPS, observes in Harvard Business Review that CFOs often consider sustainability to be a burdensome and costly priority to pursue. But, he argues, sustainability shouldn’t be a distraction because “programs with the greatest impact not only align with companies’ strategies but move in tandem with their activities.” He adds: “If you push something in the direction it is already going, you will accomplish much more with each unit of energy.”

2. ‘Corporate Diplomacy’: Why Firms Need to Build Ties with External Stakeholders: Peter Drucker wrote of the importance of anticipating impacts. Wharton management professor Witold Henisz believes that this is not only essential but quantifiably valuable, and, more important, a company’s actions matter less than people’s vague perceptions. And the way to shape those perceptions positively is to develop deep relationships and good diplomacy with stakeholders. “The social license to operate is the perception by a stakeholder that you are behaving in an appropriate manner, that you are acting in a way they perceive as fair or just,” Henisz tells Wharton management professor Stephen J. Kobrin in an interview in Knowledge@Wharton. “It’s everything you do every day—who you hire, who you partner with, who you contract with, where you build, how you build—all those things on a day-in, day-out basis affect each stakeholder’s degree of social license or the degree to which they grant you the social license.”

3. 3D Printers Print 10 Houses in 24 Hours: The disadvantage is that the toner can be a bit heavy for the interns to handle. The advantage is that we can house a lot of people awfully fast and cheaply. The use of 3-D printing for housing just made another leap, according to Xinhua news, which reports that a “private company in east China recently used a giant printer set to print out 10 full-sized houses within just one day.” The inventor isn’t saying how it’s done, but he’s hoping his printers will be good for skyscrapers, too. For what it’s worth, we’re partial to Hammermill paper.

4. Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, when we asked people to offer thoughts on the decision by the NBA to ban Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life over racially offensive remarks captured on tape, reader Maverick 18 found little to applaud:

The Sterling decision really was a slam-dunk business decision for the NBA. However, there was nothing at all brave or wonderful about it. Mr. Sterling’s remarks, uttered in a setting, where he had a reasonable expectation of privacy, were recorded and published without his permission. . . . The message that the NBA picked up on was that Don Sterling need to be slapped down hard. That’s what they did. It was purely a business decision, and the NBA and its owners are reveling in euphoria brought about by massive free publicity.