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.     High-powered Women and Supportive Spouses: Who’s in Charge, and of What?: How important to high-level female executives is a supportive spouse? Very important, according to an article in Knowledge@Wharton. But that doesn’t mean that only one spouse can be in a high-powered job. Couples, increasingly, are learning to share responsibilities and navigate work-life dilemmas. Stewart Friedman, a professor of management and director of Wharton’s Work/Life Integration Project, says: “It’s increasingly possible to carefully, consciously and deliberately choose roles that fit our values . . . [Young people] are seeing more choice, more freedom and more realistic ways of pursuing lives that fit with the roles they want to fill in society.”

2.     The Fannie Mae ‘Wind Down’ That Isn’t:  We’ve seen headlines about a “wind down” of Fannie Mae, the mortgage giant bailed out by the federal government. Writing in The Wall Street JournalVern McKinley, a research fellow at the Independent Institute, says the wind down is almost non-existent, at least in terms of the value of mortgages on Fannie’s balance sheet. McKinley suggests: “If Treasury wants to trumpet shrinkage, Fannie and Freddie need to downsize their entire mortgage portfolio, owned and guaranteed, and scale back their army of employees. Then, perhaps, a victory lap might be appropriate.” [Subscription required]

3.     Skills Gap: No Big Deal, If …: Between pure knowledge work and what’s thought of as unskilled labor is another, often overlooked, type of work: skilled manufacturing. Writing in Bloomberg BusinessweekHarold L. Sirkin of the Boston Consulting Group argues that we risk sabotaging our manufacturing renaissance in the United States because we’re failing to train a new generation of workers who might be well suited for it—and better paid for it than they’d be in other occupations. Sirkin says students considering college should ask themselves the following: “Would they be better off with a college degree in mass communication, ‘poli sci’ or sociology that gets them a job as a retail clerk or waiting tables, or would they be better off with a real skill that qualifies them for a high-paying manufacturing job?”

4.     Dx Comment of the Week: When we asked whether David Petraeus had an obligation to step down as head of the CIA, reader Greg Basham had this to say:

While the headlines will often focus on the ‘affair’ or ‘sex scandal,’ the real issues involve the danger Petraeus created for himself and the organizations he served during the time this situation was happening. There are not many situations where a leader of an organization or major business unit can survive these affairs at work, as it renders the leader ineffective in engaging followers and setting and ensuring high standards of integrity prevail in the organization.