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. Why Most of What We Know About Management Is Plain, Flat, Dead Wrong: “The world has changed, but management hasn’t,” writes Steve Denning in Forbes. Society is in the midst of reinventing how we work, live, shop and relate, and only a small percentage of organizations are adjusting to this and capitalizing on it. Denning outlines five management principles for this new world, each of which is already established among business thinkers. Denning suggests, “What is new is implementing all of the principles together as a system in a coherent and consistent way.”

2. Why the COO Should Lead Social-Media Customer Service: How do you make service work more productive? One way, it turns out, is to have customer service representatives interact with customers through social media (which comes out to less than $1 per interaction for the company) rather than over the telephone (about $6 per interaction). This is also why Gadi BenMark argues in McKinsey Quarterly that companies would generally be wise to have customer service all under the umbrella of a COO. In one especially successful case, “Ownership of the service channel . . . was given to the chief operations officer, with the specific objective of saving money by diverting traffic from the organization’s call centers.”

3. The ‘Moneyball’ Approach to Hiring CEOs: You get what you pay for in a lot of cases. But in the case of executives, you overpay for what you get—or possibly get entirely the wrong thing and pay way too much for it. As Knowledge@Wharton reports, Wharton professor J. Scott Armstrong and Philippe Jacquart of EMLYON Business School in Écully, France, have a new paper out on choosing executives, and they say big names and big money are no guarantee of performance. “The notion that higher pay leads to the selection of better executives is undermined by the prevalence of poor recruiting methods,” the authors write. “Organizations would benefit from using validated methods to hire top executives, reducing compensation, eliminating incentive plans and strengthening stockholder governance related to the hiring and compensation of executives.”

4. Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, we lauded quarterback Peyton Manning for his ability to “unlearn” things—although, to judge by Manning’s Super Bowl performance, some further unlearning may be in order. In any case, when we asked our readers for their own experiences in unlearning, Lino DeGasperis had this to say:

Learning to sing, these past 12 years, has been the most painstaking and exhilarating project I have ever undertaken. During that time, I have had to re-learn how to stand, move, breathe, talk, yell and, of course, sing. Un-learning old habits happens by re-programming muscle memory through repeated, deliberate acts, until it becomes automatic. It is a work in progress and will remain so, as advised by my vocal instructors.