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. Are Corporate Executives Delusional?: America’s executives feel upbeat about the future of their companies, and most understand what they ought to be doing. But are they doing it? No, according to a Boston Consulting Group global survey flagged by one of the firm’s partners, Harold L. Sirkin, in Bloomberg Businessweek. “In many of the key areas essential to growth—talent management, innovation, connectivity and leveraging customer data—the executives claimed extremely high degrees of unpreparedness,” Sirkin notes, wondering how so many executives can “be confident of growth when they lack confidence in the key drivers of growth?”

2. The Case of the Angry Accountant: We often forget, as we try to understand people, how much old-fashioned anger plays a role in people’s decisions and daily interactions. Former businessman Charalambos Vlachoutsicos recounts at the HBR Blog that one particularly good employee of his also happened to be unacceptably foul-tempered. Ultimately, by talking to the employee and coming up with a plan, Vlachoutsicos and the employee developed a “way to identify and to express his negative feelings and thoughts to his colleagues before they turned into furious outbursts.” It wasn’t foolproof, but it made things a lot better.

3. What Stanley Fischer Did at the IMF: Stanley Fischer, who has been nominated to serve as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, has mostly drawn plaudits. Yet there are some dissents. Matthew C. Klein of Bloomberg View raises a red flag over Fischer’s tenure as “second-in-command of the International Monetary Fund from 1994 through much of 2001, a period when the IMF was aiding Russia’s post-Soviet transition,” a famously flawed effort. “A thorough review of Fischer’s time at the IMF probably will make him look better than he already does in most people’s eyes,” Klein avers. “Still, it would be imprudent to vote to confirm him without knowing all of the relevant facts.”

4. Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, when we looked at soccer team Tottenham Hotspur’s new coach, Tim Sherwood, and asked what people thought about keeping tactics and instructions minimal, reader Jason had this to say:

Hear, hear! I’m a firm believer in communicating goals and objectives clearly, letting the details work out through the process of achievement. Best practices become relevant in the context of understood objectives. However, I find most people I encounter are ‘tree’ thinkers rather than forest, and I often struggle to find strategic context when discussing details in the workplace.