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 Hidden Side of Meetings: Most of us know at least some of the rules for leading meetings well, so why are so many company meetings still horrible? Writing at the HBR BlogRon Ashkenas says it’s because more than mere rules are at play. “Meetings are not simply logical business mechanisms, but are also social systems that are embedded in the cultural and emotional reality of an organization,” he writes. In short, because humans are human, there are a lot of “non-rational dynamics that aren’t covered in the standard meeting manuals.” Ashkenas offers a few examples—such as meetings with passive-aggressive participants—and says that understanding these pitfalls better is the first step to taming these unpopular staples of workplace life.

2.   Yahoo Continues Its Search for a New Identity: What on earth should Yahoo be? As Peter Drucker knew so well, it’s no easy question to decide what your business is. But Marissa Mayer, the company’s CEO, has been working on numerous fronts to figure this out and effect a turnaround, as an article in Knowledge@Wharton reports. The assessments so far are positive: “After making sweeping updates to Yahoo’s products and clinching bold acquisitions such as Tumblr, 38-year-old Mayer, the youngest female CEO to lead a Fortune 500 company, seems to be slowly turning around a demoralized, beleaguered company that Bloomberg Businessweek once called ‘Silicon Valley’s favorite wounded duck.’” 

3.  Why Men’s Wearhouse Fired George Zimmer: Will you miss George Zimmer, the founder of Men’s Wearhouse? Last week, he was fired as executive chairman, much to the chagrin of fans who have grown up seeing him on TV commercials. Jena McGregor asserts in the Washington Post that the trouble was that Zimmer couldn’t accept that he was no longer the owner and decision maker of a company that is publicly owned with a board of directors. McGregor says this sort of thing is common: “Four out of five founders, according to research by Harvard Business School professor Noam Wasserman, are resistant to stepping down from the CEO role, and the same ratio of entrepreneurs must be forced to step down from the chief executive’s post.”

4.  Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, we looked at moves by Congress to repeal a provision of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act mandating that companies disclose the ratio of CEO compensation to median employee pay. Is the benefit of such disclosures worth the burden? Reader John Hunter had this to say:

I agree the burdens of regulation need to be considered. [But] the abuses by those on boards and in senior executive positions . . .  completely overwhelms the regulatory burden. We sadly have many boards and senior executives that are enriching themselves at the expense of companies and doing great damage to those companies, the stockholders, the employees and other stakeholders.