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December 17, 2008

The IDB Project | Chapter 9

The IDB Project is a series of posts sharing summaries, snippets, and takeaways from INSIDE DRUCKER'S BRAIN (Jeffrey Krames)


The Critical Factor

“Leadership is not magnetic personality … it is not ‘making friends and influencing people’—that is salesmanship.”Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker clearly delineated the difference between being a leader and being a manager. He famously riffed, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” The right things for a leader to do, according to Drucker, include these ideals:

1. Courage with Character
It takes courage to practice “purposeful abandonment." It also takes character to make connections with people who are genuine and compassionate. Natural leaders do both.

2. Articulate a Clear Mission
“The foundation of effective leadership is thinking through the organization’s mission, defining it, and establishing it clearly and visibly. The leader sets the goals, sets the priorities, and sets and maintains the standards.” (THE ESSENTIAL DRUCKER, 2001)

3. Foster Loyalty
A leader must be worthy of receiving loyalty. To be so worthy, Drucker maintains leaders must set their standards high and always live by those high standards. When loyalty is fostered throughout a business, employee morale increases as does employee effectiveness.

4. Make Strengths Stronger
“Nothing destroys the spirit of an organization faster than focusing on people’s weaknesses rather than on their strengths, building on disabilities rather than on abilities. The focus must be on strength.” (THE PRACTICE OF MANAGEMENT, 1954)

5. Hire People Smarter than You
Ineffective leaders worry about their direct reports usurping them. Effective leaders don’t. Effective leaders encourage their direct reports to assume greater responsibility and to make more meaningful contributions to the business. Effective leaders measure their success by the success achieved of the people s/he hires, manages, and promotes.

6. Earn Trust
”To trust a leader is not to necessarily like him. Nor is it necessary to agree with him. Trust is the conviction a leader means what he says. It is a belief in something very old-fashioned, called ‘integrity.’” (THE ESSENTIAL DRUCKER, 2001)

7. Develop People
Peter Drucker understood no business will survive if it is lead by only one leader. A thriving organization needs leaders throughout and not just at the helm. According to Drucker, “The gravest indictment of a leader is for the organization to collapse as soon as he leaves or dies.”

Next, Chapter TEN of the The IDB Project.


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Brilliant series. Drucker's quote, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things,” inspired me to conduct a rash of Google searches to find the name of its rhetorical structure. Turns out it's "antimetabole," which Wikipedia kindly advises is "the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed grammatical order." JFK used the device most famously in his "Ask Not" inaugural speech. Other examples, of course, are the "You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy," etc. It's what I'd call a "Zen mnemonic," a pithy, memorable phrase that confers a truth through its very structure. Here's one "By conducting autopsies on brands, Moore has effectively branded the autopsy." You know, in a good way.

Daedalus ... seems like Drucker made it a common practice to use antimetaboles. When done write, antimetaboles can be very thought-provoking. Thanks for dropping the clever Brand Autopsy antimetabole

ON THE MEDIA ran an interesting story about antimetaboles and politicians during election season. Well worth a listen.

We are writers on marketing/sales and analytics and recently wrote a note on the similarity between great brands and great leaders. We concluded that great brands and successful leaders share fundamentally the same characteristics. In our lingo , 3 key things to success (market share in the case of brands):

Engage- Educate- Entertain.

The "educate" happens as leaders define HOW the environment is changing and how the company must prepare for this change in order to position itself for a better future. This requires the leader being operationally sound and fundamentally curious. Reading regularly/ interacting with peers/ thought leaders on a continuous basis. Being in the market and in front of customer.

Market leading brands "educate" by bringing in new technologies and innovations.

The "Engage" for a leader comes from his understanding of the future and defining how his company/ team should relate to the future. This is a gap analysis that brand managers cover through market research. But for leaders it happens by exposing himself (herself) to the environment and to the capabilities of his company. He needs to ensure his people are upto the challenges that he sees coming.

Lay-offs are common when the leader has either poorly defined the future or underestimated the resources at his disposal to get to that future. He has failed to educate himself or he has failed to engage with his company to understand the “resource” or “competency” gap that exists and that will unravel the current success of his company.

And "entertain" is the aspect of leadership where he shares his story of the future and how to get there. He can do this in different ways. And the best way is the way that works for his company. (or for a brand, its market). This is the element of communication without which no leader can succeed in sharing his point of view and mobilising his resources.

In our view, the quality of leadership can be determined by measuring:
- how frequently top management is present in front of its customers.
- In front of employees
- In front of other industry leaders and though leaders.

Myopia does not a good leader produce.

thank you

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