Catalogue


A class with Drucker : the lost lessons of the world's greatest management teacher /
by William A. Cohen.
imprint
New York : AMACOM/ American Management Association, c2008.
description
xiv, 258 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0814409199 (hbk.), 9780814409190 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : AMACOM/ American Management Association, c2008.
isbn
0814409199 (hbk.)
9780814409190 (hbk.)
contents note
How I became the student of the father of modern management -- Drucker in the classroom -- What everybody knows is frequently wrong -- Self-confidence must be built step-by-step -- If you keep doing what worked in the past you're going to fail -- Approach problems with your ignorance--not your experience -- Develop expertise outside your field to be an effective manager -- Outstanding performance is inconsistent with fear of failure -- The objective of marketing is to make selling unnecessary -- Ethics, honor, integrity and the law -- You can't predict the future, but you can create it -- We're all accountable -- You must know your people to lead them -- People have no limits, even after failure -- A model organization that Drucker greatly admired -- The management control panel -- Base your strategy on the situation, not on a formula -- How to motivate the knowledge worker -- Drucker's principles of self-development.
catalogue key
6413971
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [249]-252) and index.
A Look Inside
First Chapter

CHAPTER THREE

What Everybody Knows

Is Frequently Wrong

MY FIRST CLASS with Peter Drucker met in the fall of 1975. I didn’t know what to expect. Drucker was a world-famous celebrity. I was a young man with limited business experience. Needless to say, I was more than a little intimidated with the thought of dealing with this prominent professor face-to-face.

I was actually taking two courses with Peter that first term. The other class had yet to meet. It was to meet Wednesday night in the faculty club, and Peter and the dean, Paul Albrecht, were teamed as instructors. It was open only to the ten students in the new doctoral program for practicing executives.

However, this was Monday night, and the class was entitled “Module 300: The Management Process.” This particular course, and even the course numbering system then used, no longer exists. Peter taught it by himself. There were no other professors, and no graduate students assisting him. The class was open to both master’s students and the ten doctoral students and was taught over a seven-week period. In the Claremont system, there were three semesters a year with two seven-week modules in every semester. This allowed students to take a variety of courses.

In later years, Drucker classes met in Albrecht Auditorium, and other ultramodern complexes built long after my own graduation. However, since the larger and more modern facilities didn’t exist then, Module 300 met in probably the largest room available on campus in Harper Hall. It held fifty or sixty of the old-style seats for students with a table top that folded over your lap to allow notetaking.

I arrived early. About half of the class was already there. I didn’t know anyone. We were all working professionals, and there were no orientation programs for new graduate students in those days. However, I discovered that many of these students weren’t new to Claremont, and had taken classes with Drucker previously.

“What’s he like?” I asked. “Oh, Peter’s fine, you’ll like him” seemed to be the most common reply. I noticed that just about everyone called him “Peter” not “Drucker” or “Professor Drucker.” I discovered that this was his preferred form of address. He seemed to dislike any form of honorific or deferential treatment. I don’t want to describe him as modest, but rather I would say that he considered himself beyond any special behavior and thought that this sort of thing was a waste of time. This does not mean to imply that he was timid in any way or encouraged disrespect. I never saw anyone ever treat Peter with disrespect, and he absolutely was not bashful about correcting any student.

After several minutes Peter strode confidently into the classroom. He was in good humor and engaged several students in conversation who apparently had been his students previously. He was of medium height, wore glasses, and was balding. He was energetic and appeared to be in excellent health. He had a copy of a thick book under one arm. As the time for the class to begin approached, he removed his jacket and held a copy of Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, and Practices aloft with one hand. “This is your textbook,” he said with a heavy Viennese accent. “Anyone wanting me to autograph it, please line up over here to the right side of the classroom near the window.”

There was a scrambling as maybe fifteen or sixteen students formed a line to get the coveted autograph. I did not. I didn’t know what to make of this action at the time. Somehow it rubbed me the wrong way. I guess I thought it egotistical. The rest of the students continued their conversations while the autographing took place for another ten minutes or so. Then Peter went to the front of the classroom and began to lecture without reference to notes or his book.

The Story of the Two Vice Presidents

Peter began with a story about a company he had observed. As the president of the company grew older, he knew that he should begin thinking about succession. Fortunately, he had two vice presidents, both equally outstanding, and of the right age, and each with a record of outstanding prior accomplishments with this firm. He increased the responsibility of both subordinate executives and gave them each the new title of executive vice president. He called them in together and announced that he intended to retire in five years and that one of them would be named to succeed him as president.

Both men thanked the president for the opportunity. The president had confidence that he had picked the right candidates. Although both were ambitious, he knew that both would put the company before themselves in whatever they undertook. He knew that either would make an excellent replacement.

Over the five years of their apprenticeship a differing pattern began to emerge from each of the prospective presidents-to-be. Although both men did well in every task given them and were equally successful in accomplishing their assignments, the process each followed was quite different. One would be given a task by the president. He would request the information needed and would ask when the job was to be accomplished. He would go off, gather his subordinates together, and would invariably present the president with a completed job well done days, weeks, or months later. Unless he needed some specific information or permission to do something a little out of the usual process, he would do this without ever bothering the old president.

The other executive vice president took an entirely different approach. Given a project by the president, he too would organize his subordinates to complete it successfully. However, there was a big difference. The first candidate worked independently and didn’t bother the president with the details of what he was doing unless specific help was needed. However, the second candidate met periodically with the president to discuss the project and frequently requested additional meetings, continually seeking the president’s advice.

“Now,” asked Drucker, “When the president retired, which candidate did he pick to succeed him, the executive who was always successful without bothering him or taking his time, or the one who continually seemed to seek his help and approval?”

Many hands shot up, including my own. Drucker called on several students. Each stated his opinion that the president picked the executive who was able to succeed on his own without having to report back until the job was done unless there was a specific problem. This was my opinion too. Our thinking was that the new president would need to operate on his own and would not have the old president’s counsel to fall back on.

Peter asked for a show of hands as to how many agreed that the president selected the executive who demonstrated that he was able to operate independently and without the president’s ongoing approval. A large majority agreed with the students Peter had previously called on. Only a few thought that the second executive who constantly bothered the former president had been the one selected.

Peter stated the results: “Most of you are wrong. The former president selected the candidate who continually consulted with him.” The class was in an uproar. This went against everything we knew about management and leadership. Everyone knew that the candidate who demonstrated that he could make decisions on his own should and would be selected.

Drucker’s Lesson: Question Your Assumptions

”What everybody ‘knows’ is frequently wrong,” Peter responded. “We are dealing with human beings. Most top managers want to feel that their policies and legacies will be continued. The constant contact and interaction with the second manager gave the president that confidence.

”Both executives were outstanding, but while the president felt that he knew and understood the executive who maintained contact, he was less certain about the other executive and he was less invested in his success. After picking candidates based on accomplishment, he went with his gut instinct, a perfectly correct way in which to make such an important decision after considering all the facts. Unless the president’s preferred style was to let those who reported to him operate independently, the first executive should have tried to adapt his preferred method to what his boss preferred, even though ‘everyone knows’ that continual consultation with a higher manager is less desirable.”

Drucker was right, and I should have known better. I was in the process of losing the confidence of my then boss by behaving exactly like the executive who operated independently. That in itself is an important lesson, but the idea that what everyone knows is frequently wrong proved even more important to me, and I think many other of Drucker’s students. Over the next few years, I heard Peter say this quite a few times.

Maybe through repetition I finally began to think more deeply about what the words really meant. This seemingly simple and self-contradicting statement is amazingly true and immensely valuable, and not only in business. What Drucker wanted to emphasize was that we must always question our assumptions no matter from where they originate. This is especially true regarding anything that a majority of people “know” or assume without questioning. This “knowledge” should always be suspect and needs to be examined much more closely. In a surprisingly high percentage of cases, the information “known to be true” will turn out to be false or inaccurate, if not generally, then in a specific instance. This can lead to extremely poor, even disastrous management decisions.

Things Once “Known to Be True” Are Now Known to Be False

Of course there are many old “truisms” once thought by everyone to be true which we laugh at today. “The world is flat.” “The earth is the center of the universe.” The ancient Greeks knew that everything was made up of only four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Of course, in modern times we learned that they were mistaken. When I took chemistry in high school, I learned that a Periodic Table of Elements had been formulated by a fellow named Mendeleev and that it had been established that there were exactly 93 elements, no more, no less. We got an “A” if we could name them all. Today, there are 102 elements—or so “everybody knows.”

Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2008-05-01:
Cohen, the late Peter Drucker's first doctoral graduate, offers unique stories and insights in a warm, sincere tribute to his mentor. He discusses Drucker's teaching methods, previously unpublished ideas, and personal warmth, adding new dimensions to the inspirational legacy of the "Father of Modern Management." He reveals many new "Druckerisms," including some relating to self-confidence, assumptions, ethics, accountability, situationalism, and motivation. The final chapter, on Drucker's principles of self-development, is exceptional for its value, clarity, and simplicity. As with most books written by or about Drucker, the reader will learn some new things that make sense and work. This book, however, is more special than many because it reveals much about Peter Drucker the man, in addition to his ideas and philosophies. The stories are told by an admiring mentee, which helps the reader understand Drucker at a more personal level. Another recent work on Drucker is Elizabeth Haas Edersheim's The Definitive Drucker (CH, Jul'07, 44-6323). Summing Up: Highly recommended. All collections. L. J. Cumbo Emory and Henry College
Appeared in Library Journal on 2007-11-01:
Cohen (The New Art of the Leader), a graduate of Peter Drucker's executive Ph.D. program in management at Claremont Graduate University, offers Drucker's "lost" classroom lessons as remembered and used by Cohen throughout his career. Arguably one of the most influential management theorists ever, Drucker was also an unforgettable teacher. Cohen's early chapters on his own personal history and Drucker's teaching style get the book off to a slow start, but subsequent chapters provide solid lessons on building self-confidence, refusing to accept "accepted" knowledge, approaching problems with your ignorance (a particular Drucker favorite, employed when he famously asked General Electric CEO Jack Welch to analyze his own business), creating rather than predicting the future, and motivating knowledge workers. Each chapter recalls Drucker's lectures, business examples, insights from Drucker's life and work, and a "Drucker Lesson Summary." The result is a somewhat overlong but still useful volume, especially for Drucker fans. Recommended for academic libraries, particularly those supporting business and MBA programs, and for public libraries with a high population of business readers.-Sarah Statz Cords, Madison P.L., WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"This book, done by one of The Master's first PhD recipients, is a warm and useful read." Business to Business, December 1, 2007
"...there's lots you can do with the book, starting with just enjoying the ride. It's a series of compelling lessons, all wrapped around a towering intellectual and some wonderful anecdotes, with Mr. Cohen, himself a management educator, adding his own supplementary thoughts at points. Some of it will be familiar for those steeped in Peter Drucker, and some of it will be new. But all of it should be fascinating." The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
"...there's lots you can do with the book, starting with just enjoying the ride. It's a series of compelling lessons, all wrapped around a towering intellectual and some wonderful anecdotes, with Mr. Cohen, himself a management educator, adding his own supplementary thoughts at points. Some of it will be familiar for those steeped in Peter Drucker, and some of it will benew. But all of it should be fascinating." The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, October 2007
Library Journal, November 2007
Choice, May 2008
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Description for Bookstore
Long considered the world's greatest thinker and writer on management, Peter Drucker's teachings continue to inspire leaders everywhere. From 1975 to 1979, author William Cohen studied under the Great Man and became the first graduate of his doctoral program. What Drucker taught him literally changed his life. In a matter of a few years, he was recommissioned in the Air Force and rose to the rank of major general. Eventually, he became a full professor, management consultant, multibook author, and university presidentas well as maintaining a nearly lifelong friendship with the master. In A Class with Drucker, Cohen shares many of Drucker's teachings that never made it into his countless books and articles, ideas that were offered to his students in classroom or informal settings. Cohen expands on Drucker's lessons with personal anecdotes about his teacher's personality, lack of pretension, and interactions with students and others. He also shows how Drucker's ideas can be applied to the real-world challenges managers face today. Now every reader can benefit from Drucker's thoughts on such topics as:what everybody knows is frequently wrong why everyone should approach problems with their ignorance top executives should stay no longer than six years some so-called menial tasks can only be done by the boss what everyone needs to be an effective manage why self-confidence is a necessityEnlightening and intriguing, A Class with Druckerwill enable anyone to gain from the timeless wisdom of the inspiring man himself.
Main Description
Long considered the worlds greatest thinker and writer on management, Peter Druckers teachings continue to inspire leaders everywhere. From 1975 to 1979, author William Cohen studied under the Great Man and became the first graduate of his doctoral program. What Drucker taught him literally changed his life. In a matter of a few years, he was recommissioned in the Air Force and rose to the rank of major general. Eventually, he became a full professor, management consultant, multibook author, and university president as well as maintaining a nearly lifelong friendship with the master.In A Class with Drucker, Cohen shares many of Druckers teachings that never made it into his countless books and articles, ideas that were offered to his students in classroom or informal settings. Cohen expands on Druckers lessons with personal anecdotes about his teachers personality, lack of pretension, and interactions with students and others. He also shows how Druckers ideas can be applied to the real-world challenges managers face today. Now every reader can benefit from Druckers thoughts on such topics as: what everybody knows is frequently wrong why everyone should approach problems with their ignorance top executives should stay no longer than six years some so-called menial tasks can only be done by the boss what everyone needs to be an effective manager why self-confidence is a necessity Enlightening and intriguing, A Class with Drucker will enable anyone to gain from the timeless wisdom of the inspiring man himself.
Main Description
In A Class with Drucker, author William Cohen reveals the teachings of his mentor and guide--valuable and thought-provoking ideas that Peter Drucker had taught to his students but had never before published.Cohen explains Drucker's surprising but poignant teachings in 25 lessons that can be applied to everyday applications in today's business environment, including "What Everyone Knows Is Frequently Wrong," "Approach Problems with Your Ignorance, Not Your Experience," "Some So-Called Menial Tasks Can Only Be Done by the Boss," "You Can't Predict the Future, But You Can Create It" and "Top Executives Should Stay No More Than Six Years."
Bowker Data Service Summary
William A. Cohen has put together a book which distills and expands upon Drucker's thoughts. He focuses on management topics such as 'top executives should stay no longer than six years', 'what everyone needs to be an effective manager' and 'why self-confidence is a necessity'.
Description for Bookstore
Long considered the world's greatest thinker and writer on management, Peter Drucker's teachings continue to inspire leaders everywhere. From 1975 to 1979, author William Cohen studied under the Great Man and became the first graduate of his doctoral program. What Drucker taught him literally changed his life. In a matter of a few years, he was recommissioned in the Air Force and rose to the rank of major general. Eventually, he became a full professor, management consultant, multibook author, and university presidentas well as maintaining a nearly lifelong friendship with the master. In A Class with Drucker, Cohen shares many of Drucker's teachings that never made it into his countless books and articles, ideas that were offered to his students in classroom or informal settings. Cohen expands on Drucker's lessons with personal anecdotes about his teacher's personality, lack of pretension, and interactions with students and others. He also shows how Drucker's ideas can be applied to the real-world challenges managers face today. Now every reader can benefit from Drucker's thoughts on such topics as: what everybody knows is frequently wrong why everyone should approach problems with their ignorance top executives should stay no longer than six years some so-called menial tasks can only be done by the boss what everyone needs to be an effective manage why self-confidence is a necessity Enlightening and intriguing, A Class with Druckerwill enable anyone to gain from the timeless wisdom of the inspiring man himself.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments and Dedicationp. vii
What Peter Drucker Wrote About Bill Cohenp. viii
Forewordp. ix
Introductionp. xiii
How I Became the Student of the Father of Modern Managementp. 1
Drucker in the Classroomp. 11
What Everybody Knows Is Frequently Wrongp. 19
Self-Confidence Must Be Built Step-by-Stepp. 30
If You Keep Doing What Worked in the Past You're Going to Failp. 44
Approach Problems with Your Ignorance-Not Your Experiencep. 57
Develop Expertise Outside Your Field to Be an Effective Managerp. 69
Outstanding Performance Is Inconsistent with Fear of Failurep. 82
The Objective of Marketing Is to Make Selling Unnecessaryp. 96
Ethics, Honor, Integrity and the Lawp. 108
You Can't Predict the Future, But You Can Create Itp. 121
We're All Accountablep. 133
You Must Know Your People to Lead Themp. 147
People Have No Limits, Even After Failurep. 160
A Model Organization That Drucker Greatly Admiredp. 173
The Management Control Panelp. 189
Base Your Strategy on the Situation, Not on a Formulap. 201
How to Motivate the Knowledge Workerp. 215
Drucker's Principles of Self-Developmentp. 231
Afterwordp. 246
Notesp. 249
Books by and About Peter Druckerp. 252
Indexp. 253
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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