I recent finished reading Jim Collins book, Good to Great (which is a must read for those interested in creating world class, sustainable organizations). I headed over to Jim Collins blog and discovered a great post about a day he spend with management legend Peter Drucker. The following extracts particularly resonated with me:
” I reflected back on his work, The Effective Executive, and his admonition to replace the quest for success with the quest for contribution. The critical question is not, “How can I achieve?” but “What can I contribute?”
I am a strong believer that happiness & success can only be found by contributing to something bigger than yourself.
At one point during my day with Drucker, I asked, “Which of your twenty-six books are you most proud of?”
“The next one,” snapped Drucker.
He was eighty-five years young at the time, cranking at a pace of nearly a book a year, plus significant articles. Over the next nine years, he added another eight books to the count, and continues at age ninty-four to produce work highly relevant to the challenges of the twenty-first century.
When I read this I was blown away by the fact that most people hope to write 1 book in their lifetime yet Drucker in the years where most people consider the best part of their life behind them, managed to write a staggering 9!
At the end of my day with Drucker in 1994, we pulled up to his home after a meal at his favorite local restaurant. “How can I thank you, how can I repay you?” I asked, knowing that the value of a day with Drucker was incalculable.
“You have already repaid me,” said Drucker. “I have learned much from our conversation today.” That’s when I realized that what ultimately sets Peter Drucker apart is that he does not see himself as a guru; he remains a student. Most management gurus are driven to say something; Drucker is driven to learn something. Drucker’s work is interesting—he is interesting—because, to borrow a phrase from the late John Gardner, he remains relentlessly interested.
“Just go out and make yourself useful,” he finished.
Drucker’s hunger and desire to learn is truly inspiring. Collins is right on the mark – the more you learn, the better you can draw connections and understand relationships – the more likely you will be able to produce and develop work is that is interesting and relevant.
The full article can be found here.