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 Coherent Conglomerate: If you’ve built up a conglomerate, congratulations on your empire, but, as Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi point out on the HBR blog, “the burden of proof is on the company’s management to show that these diverse businesses are better off together than they would be independently.” Getting these different units to work well with one another is possible, but the key is to let them stay distinct enough to take advantage of their unique strengths: “It is better to have coherence in each business unit, and nothing shared between them, than to try to force different units to adopt the same value proposition or share capabilities that don’t fit their purpose.”

2.     The Perils of Social Coupon Campaigns: Coupons work like a charm when it comes to attracting customers. The trouble is when it comes to keeping them. Writing in the MIT Sloan Management ReviewV. Kumar and Bharath Rajan note that losses from even brief coupon campaigns can be felt for years, and most customers never return once the promotion is finished. So businesses must be much more strategic: “Depending on what is feasible and practical, a business might decide to limit the number of coupons offered, restrict which categories of customers are eligible to use them (for example, only new customers) or offer a more modest discount rate.”

3.     Germany, Not Greece, Should Exit the Euro: What if most of the club members can no longer afford to be in the club? You could kick out all the down-at-the-heel members, but the alternative would be to kick out the one rich guy, and just make the club less fancy. Writing in Bloomberg ViewRed Jahncke argues that a German exit from the Euro, not a Greek or Spanish or Italian exit, would make life better for everyone: “Stripped of its German export powerhouse, the euro would depreciate sharply, but would not become a virtually worthless currency, as, for example, any re-issued Greek drachma surely would.”

4.     The Dx Comment of the Week: In response to our post “Ray Bradbury, the Non-Futurist Visionary,” in which we asked readers what obvious “emergent reality” businesses should be paying attention to, reader Sergio had a sobering answer:

“Global food security is increasingly at risk. Causes include a growing population, rising fuel costs, the effects of climatic change and natural disasters on food production, protectionism from anxious governments, speculation in the commodity markets and more.”