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.      Proof That the Right Leader Matters: Last week on the Dxwe examined the idea that leaders might, most of the time, be interchangeable. Writing at the HBR BlogClaudio Fernández-Aráoz of the executive search firm Egon Zehnder International says don’t believe it for a second. After “talking to hundreds of practitioners and academics all over the world,” Fernández-Aráoz became even more convinced that an “organization’s ability to choose the right leaders (looking both inside and out) is one of the most important controllable factors in creating or destroying company value.”

2.     Will Buying a Hospice Keep the Washington Post Co. Off Life Support?: At least this hospice is likely to offer patients a complimentary morning paper. An article at Knowledge@Wharton examines a recent move by the Washington Post Co. to acquire a majority stake in Celtic Healthcare, a provider of skilled home healthcare and hospice services, in an attempt to diversify its revenue streams. This has been successful for the company in the past, but it comes with some challenges: “Investors, for example, may be unclear about the company’s strategy. That, in turn, can depress the stock price and raise financing costs.”

3.     The Untapped Innovation Factory: American businesses rely heavily on frontline employees to interact with customers. But do they make use of all those eyes and ears on the ground? Not nearly enough, say Chris DeRose and Noel Tichy, who write in Bloomberg Businessweek that all this knowledge amounts to “an untouched innovation factory residing in the collective brain trust—customer insights, product ideas and service upgrades.”

4.     Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, when we asked what might be causing so many IT projects (according to a McKinsey report) to blow their budgets and deadlines, reader Ivor had this to say:

Calling these projects IT projects is a good way to ensure they fail. IT projects are seen as ‘special cases’ rather than ‘business cases.’ I also think McKinsey’s estimates are conservative – I don’t think any large IT projects have ever been a success.