Some Words of Wisdom From Peter Drucker to My Daughter

Rick Wartzman
Rick Wartzman

In his latest online column for Time magazine, Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman writes an open letter to his daughter, Emma, who will graduate from college next week.

Wartzman says this is “a milestone that calls for a little fatherly advice—advice, to be precise, from the ‘father of modern management.’” He then offers six lessons for starting out on one’s own from Peter Drucker. They are:

Have the courage to quit your first job, especially if “you aren’t learning enough, or if you don’t work for an employer that, as Drucker put it, is willing ‘to heap responsibility on people in junior positions.’”

Second, Wartzman writes, as you step off campus, now is the time to begin “managing oneself” by understanding: What are your strengths? How do you perform at your peak? What are the core values that you would never compromise? What kind of work environment would provide the best fit? Where can you make the most meaningful contribution?

Third, “as you contemplate contributing, be bold”—and yet “don’t overreach.” Fourth, “steel yourself for plenty of ups and downs as you make your way.” Fifth, “take stock regularly and honestly assess how it’s going.” And, finally, “keep in mind that, while you’re about to receive your diploma, it’s up to you to continue learning.”

“By offering these guideposts,” Wartzman concludes, “Drucker’s ultimate intention was clear: for everyone to find ‘personal satisfaction’ and to ‘feel that she contributes, performs, serves her values and fulfills herself.’ Mom and I couldn’t wish for you any more than that.”