Most managers and safety professionals have heard of the work of Peter F. Drucker, called by many, "The Father of Modern Management," and "The Man who Invented Management," His pioneering work at General Motors in "Concept of the Corporation (1946)," and his many books, articles, and publications have provided the foundation for what is now termed "General Management." Knowing Drucker's ideas and how to put them to use can provide a key link to the management team in organizations with the "Language of Management," and improve your own individual and organizational effectiveness. I had the opportunity and honor of taking classes with Peter F. Drucker from 1999-2002 at the Drucker School of Management as part of my Executive MBA Program, and saw Peter's last class which he taught at age 92. I found the classes with Drucker to be full of his wise personal observations, keen observations of history and world events, and very crisp discussion. Peter insisted on clear thinking, and the discussions were wide ranging. He was a compassionate person.
Drucker was a keen advocate of personal and organizational effectiveness, and an advisor to top executives of major corporations throughout the world, who would often make the trek to his home in Claremont California for a day of discussions that could change the strategic direction of their organizations.
He wanted students to put his ideas into action. When students would tell him they liked one of his books, he often stopped what he was doing and said, "Don't tell me what you like about it, tell me what you're doing differently Monday morning." He insisted on personal and organizational effectiveness. I was not the only student to hear that statement from Peter, and it became famous in his classes. Each year he was the featured speaker at "Drucker Day," at the Drucker School in November.
A central idea in Peter Drucker's work was the idea of "Management as a liberal art." Drucker thought of management as a moral force, not just a tool at to be used by an amoral market.3 Another key idea was to improve one's personal and organizational performance and decisions through a feedback system.