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 Facebook IPO: What Went Wrong?: On Knowledge@Wharton there’s a thoughtful and thoroughly reported post about why Facebook’s IPO failed to live up to expectations. The leading hypothesis floated by the author is that no one knew—or knows—how to value it. Yes, Facebook is one of history’s most impressive data-collecting mechanisms: “The problem is, however, that much of that data is not useful for calculating value. For example, how do you value ‘likes’—the recommendation mechanism used on the site?”

2.    Yes, You’re Smart, but What About Your Topspin?: In an interview with the New York TimesMike Sheehan, chief executive of the ad agency Hill Holliday, talks about—among many other things—the importance of getting disagreement out in the open. The reason: It’s beneficial for decision making and office cohesion. “You don’t want a conflict-free zone, but you want the conflicts to be about the work itself,” Sheehan explains. “Sometimes you have to dig a little bit and talk to people, but if you find out the conflict is about the work, then that’s good, because it’s healthy.”

3.     The Emergence of the Extra-Rational Manager:  Maybe you learn about what’s happening in the office by reading emails or talking to people. But in the era of so-called Big Data, the executive of tomorrow will harvest nonverbal communication information and use it for better management, suggests David Kiron at the Improvisations blog on MIT Sloan Management Review.  That person, says Kiron will be someone who “uses new observational tools to monitor communication patterns that have little to do with rational decision-making.” Not scared yet?  Try this: “Could managers improve their ability to manage if they knew who is talking with whom, and how often, and where these conversations are taking place and what the tone of these interactions are?”

4.      The Dx Comment of the Week: In response to our post “Penney Pinching,” in which we noted Peter Drucker’s principle that customers “behave rationally in terms of their own realities and their own situation,” reader Arjun Chandrasekhar had this to say:

Marketers say the customer is irrational because it does not fit with their own thinking. If someone had just bothered to ask the customer, the customer would have said ‘J.C. Penney is exhibiting irrational behavior.’ Who is right? Customers are now saying it with their behavior and their money.