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 Poisonous Employee-Ranking System That Helps Explain Microsoft’s Decline: Rank-and-yank used to be the belle of the ball. Now it’s being blamed for lots of mismanagement, including at Microsoft. Writing in SlateWill Oremus reviews some of the literature on the decline of Microsoft under Steve Ballmer and concludes that “while Google was encouraging its employees to spend 20 percent of their time developing ideas that excited them personally, Ballmer was inadvertently encouraging his to spend a good chunk of their time playing office politics.”

2.  Why Jobs Go Unfilled Even in Times of High Unemployment: If everyone wants to hire a shoemaker, it doesn’t help the many unemployed carpenters. That’s essentially the problem the U.S. faces, according to René Bryce-Laporte, the outgoing director of Skills for America’s Future, a policy initiative run out of the Aspen Institute. He tells Amy Sullivan of National Journal, “About 40 years ago, only one in four jobs required more than a high school education, but now about two in three jobs require more training. And workers now really need to think of learning as a lifelong task.”

3.  Are You Ready for the Post-College SAT?:  The bad new is it means you might have to buckle down and learn something in college. The good news is that if you do learn something, you’ll get credit for it, no matter where you went to school. We speak of the Collegiate Learning Assessment, “an SAT-like assessment that aims to cut through grade-point averages and judge students’ real value to employers,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Adds the Journal: “The new voluntary test, which the nonprofit behind it calls CLA +, represents the latest threat to the fraying monopoly that traditional four-year colleges have enjoyed in defining what it means to be well-educated.”

4.  Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, when asked about how to judge whether a non-profit’s mission is realistic, reader Maverick 18 had this to say:

Just to clarify terms, a mission statement is a statement of purpose, a reason to exist now. A vision statement is what the entity strives to become in the future and may incorporate the entity’s primary goals. Goals are long-term. What is to be accomplished during the current planning period are objectives in support of goals.

So how do you decide if a non-profit’s mission is realistic? Consider MDA or the March of Dimes as examples. Their respective missions: cure muscular dystrophy and remedy birth defects. You don’t decide; you merely hope.