Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker's Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life

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Millions revere Drucker as "the father of modern management"-this is the first book to share his reflections on self-management Based on Bruce Rosenstein's 20 years-plus study of Drucker's life and thought Helps you construct a complete life plan through exercises, questions, and illustrative anecdotes and quotes How can we have a rich and fulfilling life? For Peter Drucker, one of the most influential thinkers of modern times, the secret was "living in more than one world"-enjoying a diverse set of interests, activities, acquaintances, and pursuits. Drucker was able to do this despite extraordinary demands on his time, and now Bruce Rosenstein shows how the man who transformed organizational management can transform the way you manage your personal and professional life. An enormously influential business author and consultant, Drucker also wrote extensively on self-development and self-management, but these writings are scattered throughout dozens of books and articles. For the first time Rosenstein brings these ideas together into a straightforward framework that guides you in building a multifaceted life and career. It's the next best thing to being mentored by Drucker himself. Rosenstein shares Drucker's advice for, first, honing in on your core competencies-developing your main talents, clarifying your values, and managing your time. With this firm foundation established he uses Drucker as both source and example to show how to enrich your life by developing parallel and second careers, making a difference in the lives of others through voluntarism and service, and using teaching and lifelong learning as complimentary ways of staying engaged and up to date. By living in more than one world you gain new insights, see your world from fresh perspectives, access ever-changing sources of inspiration and stimulation. Peter Drucker managed a varied professional life as a writer, educator, and consultant, and was deeply immersed in literature, music, and art. But he wasn't superhuman. This is a life that can be lived by anybody who has the tools and Bruce Rosenstein provides them in this thoughtful and inspiring book.

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ONE Designing Your Total Life

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The—I wouldn’t say happy people but satisfied, contented—people I knew were more people that lived in more than one world. Those single-minded people—you meet them most in politics—in the end are very unhappy people. 1

On the morning of April 11, 2005, seven months to the day before he died at the age of ninety-five, Peter Drucker told me something that riveted me. I was interviewing him in Claremont, California, on the campus of the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. With cameras whirring in the background, we videotaped the interview. As I listened to his responses, the phrase “total life” popped into my head. I remarked to him: “What I think I’m hearing from you, at least partially, is that one needs to look at one’s total life, one’s family, friends, one’s various organizations, and perhaps not be too focused on any one thing.”

It was then that he gave me the answer, quoted above, that became the cornerstone of this book. He added that there is little room at the pinnacle, and it is difficult to last long at the top. The answer is to spread out your time and talents on more than one activity, and to live and work among different groups of people, so that you are not overly reliant on any one thing for your happiness, sense of worth, and so on.

 

TWO Developing Your Core Competencies

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Leadership. . .rests on core competencies that meld market or customer value with a special ability of the producer or supplier. 20

The concept of core competencies, originally developed at the organizational level, is increasingly being applied to individuals. Core competencies—what an organization can do better than others, or abilities that provide a particular competitive advantage—have been part of the business world’s vocabulary since the phrase was introduced in the early 1990s. The term is associated with the authors Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad, first from their 1990 article “The Core Competencies of the Corporation” in the Harvard Business Review, and later in their book Competing for the Future.

While acknowledging the contributions of these authors and the idea of core competence, Drucker traced the principle back to his own work. In his 1995 book Managing in a Time of Great Change, Drucker said that organizations required “strengths analysis” (a term he coined in his 1964 book Managing for Results) to take advantage of opportunities. In the preface to Competing for the Future, Hamel and Prahalad pay tribute to Drucker, “whose wisdom has benefited our work enormously.”21

 

THREE Creating Your Future

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The purpose of the work on making the future is not to decide what should be done tomorrow, but what should be done today to have a tomorrow. 48

Drucker was an advocate of looking out the window for “the future that has already happened.” One of his most-quoted metaphors, it is open to many interpretations. As we seek to live in more than one world and build and maintain a life that has several dimensions, we can determine ways to remain rooted in the present while keeping an eye on the future for how we will diversify our time and talents. It is important to be aware of the Drucker-like qualities of being observant, endlessly curious, and open-minded.

In this chapter we’ll explore how to prepare for the future while not neglecting the present. You can prepare for the work and other activities of the future by taking steps now, such as planning for parallel and second careers. If you are under forty, you can begin thinking about the second half of your life. For those over forty, it’s never too late to shift into parallel or second careers. Some of these moves may cause significant enough changes that you will reinvent yourself, something that Drucker advocated in his book Drucker on Asia.

 

FOUR Exercising Your Generosity

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We are creating tomorrow’s society of citizens through the non-profit service institution. And in that society, everybody is a leader, everybody is responsible, everybody acts. 59

As you create and modify your Total Life List, one of the most crucial aspects of living a life of more than one dimension is how you display your sense of generosity. Sharing your time and talents in areas such as nonprofit work and volunteerism, social entrepreneurship, mentoring, and servant leadership provides opportunities to deepen your work and personal experience, while widening your circle of friends and associates. All these areas involve generosity with your knowledge, your contacts, and possibly even your money. They can be valuable complements to other work you do and can significantly enrich your sense of meaning.

Drucker was extremely generous with his time. He had an almost unlimited number of offers for lecturing, consulting, writing, presenting, and so on. He could have worked much more on these lucrative activities, yet he spent considerable time helping his former students—such as in helping them find jobs—and doing pro bono work for nonprofits. He also mentored a number of people. This spirit of generosity adds to Drucker’s reputation as a role model. It also reflects what we learned in Chapter 2 about focusing on achievement rather than making money.

 

FIVE Teaching and Learning

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It is often being said that in the information age every enterprise has to become a learning institution. It also has to become a teaching institution. 67

The worlds of teaching and learning were intertwined in Peter Drucker’s life. His relentlessly curious mind was active throughout his long life and drove the work he did. One of the main ways he learned was by teaching, and it’s a benefit many of us can profitably consider.

For knowledge workers, teaching and learning present many options for getting involved, making a difference, and providing personal growth and self-development. They are a cornerstone of living in more than one world, because they involve you in something outside of your regular job, where you meet and work with people different from you and your regular associates. They also provide a platform for personal growth.

Either activity can be a crucial part of your Total Life List, and one that will affect other parts of your list. For instance, if you teach as a volunteer, you may gain benefits in both the teaching/learning and volunteerism categories. The people with whom you interact may be added to the list in the categories of friends or professional colleagues. Teaching especially gives you opportunities to make society a better place.

 

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