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.     Should Big Banks Be Broken Up? Yes—or Maybe: You’ll miss Citigroup when it’s gone. OK, maybe you won’t. Wall Street’s shenanigans have been so objectionable that even some financiers are calling for more overnight. A post at Knowledge@Wharton notes that those calling for more stringent regulations of the banking sector—and possibly a partial return to older rules—include “at least three former CEOs of top banks or brokerages, Republican and Democratic congressmen who voted to break up Glass-Steagall, several heads or governors, past and present, of regional Federal Reserve Banks, a former chair and a current board member of the FDIC, a former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, a Republican presidential candidate and the governor of the Bank of England.” The trouble is that going back to the old ways isn’t so simple.

2.        Is It Time to Rethink Your Pricing Strategy?: How do you set your prices? Some companies look at the competition. Others base their prices on costs of production. But many of those who do best use “value-based” pricing—looking at what customers are likely to consider a product to be worth, regardless of factors such as cost of production. Writing in MIT Sloan Management ReviewAndreas Hinterhuber and Stephan Liozui suggest that switching over to a system of value-based pricing is worthwhile for many companies, but it can be wrenching. The authors write that “the implementation and internalization of customer value-based pricing requires a deep organizational change that transforms the company’s organizational life and identity as well as the identity of actors within it.”

3.     Clear Goals Matter More Than Mission: In a world in which Peter Drucker’s emphasis on the primacy of mission has been absorbed into the fabric of so many businesses, it’s always intriguing to see an executive with a different point of view. Tracy Streckenbach, president and chief operating officer of Innovative Global Brands, tells the New York Times that other priorities come first. “Honestly, I think that a mission statement is less important than every employee understanding what the company’s positioning is,” Streckenbach says. “To me, the mission can be a little academic. I’ve got to create change quickly and drive results.”

4.     The Dx Comment of the Week:  Why has crime kept dropping over the past couple of decades? Is it the water, the aging population, better policing, more prisons, less cocaine, more abortion—or what?  This was what we asked last week, and readers had many theories. Reader Ray decided turnabout was fair play and fired back even more options:

Video games? For cars, alarms and LoJack? Abortion? Elimination of lead in gasoline? Sentencing laws? Widespread availability of pot? Improved policing through data centric approaches? House alarms, like ADT that I now use? General improvement in the wealth of our society? Video cameras in liquor and retail stores?