pyramid to dna

brainroads-toward-tomorrows mental patterns

Turnaround menu

I've been involved in thirty or more of these situations. At one time I was general manager of discontinued operations for a previously Fortune 200 company with 90+ divisions. There were no happy endings.

To use a chess metaphor, there is more to this than one move — pawn to king four.



Victims of success, mission, continuity and change

Attention directing


foundations for future directed decisions:

Managing in the Next Society

Management Challenges for the 21st Century




Before jumping into specific actions, briefly explore some thinking tools

bbx Thinking Broad and Thinking Detailed

bbx Concept maps and illustrations

bbx Effective decisions

bbx Edward de Bono’s Effective Thinking Course

bbx Six Value Medals

bbx Six Frames For Thinking about Information

bbx Questions

bbx Peter Drucker (see below) a social ecologist

bbx Teach Yourself To Think

thinking scan




Turn around from The Daily Drucker

To turn around any institution—whether a business, a labor union, a university, a hospital, or a government—always requires the same three steps:

bbx Abandonment of the things that do not work, the things that have never worked, the things that have outlived their usefulness and their capacity to contribute.

bbx Concentration on the things that do work, the things that produce results, the things that improve the organization’s ability to perform.

bbx Analysis of the half-successes, the half-failures.

A turnaround requires abandoning whatever does not perform and doing more of what does perform



Management and What needs doing?

bbx Bankruptcy?

bbx Topics from A Class With Drucker to consider calendarizing:

bbx What Everybody Knows Is Frequently Wrong

bbx If You Keep Doing What Worked in the Past You’re Going to Fail

bbx Approach Problems (challenges) with Your Ignorance—Not Your Experience

bbx Develop Expertise Outside Your Field to Be an Effective Manager

bbx Outstanding Performance Is Inconsistent with Fear of Failure

bbx You Must Know Your People to Lead Them

bbx People Have No Limits, Even After Failure

bbx Base Your Strategy on the Situation, Not on a Formula



what is our plan


bbx Abandonment in chapter 3 of Management Challenges for the 21st Century

bbx Realities

bbx Toward tomorrows contents

bbx The Five Most Important Questions

bbx The Theory of the Business

bbx Managing For Results

bbx From Analysis to Perception

bbx People decisions

bbx The Definitive Drucker

bbx Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?: Leading a Great Enterprise through Dramatic Change

bbx Concept search in Drucker books and The Daily Drucker

bbx Cost

bbx Size

bbx People decisions

bbx Sur/petition

bbx Chaotics: The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence

bbx Opportunities

bbx Marketing

bbx Innovation



The 90/10 Rule at Yum! Brands

But every analysis of actual allocation of resources and efforts in business that I have ever seen or made showed clearly that the bulk of time, work, attention, and money first goes to ‘problems’ rather than to opportunities, and, secondly, to areas where even extraordinarily successful performance will have minimal impact on results. (calendarize this?)

One of the hardest things for a manager to remember is that of the 1,000 different situations he or she will be asked to deal with on any given day, only the smallest handful have a shot at moving the enterprise forward in a truly significant way (calendarize this?)

The job of management, then, is to make sure that financial capital, technology, and top talent are deployed where most of the results are and where most of the costs aren’t. The temptation often exists, however, to do exactly the opposite

See chapter 10, The Bright Idea (the riskiest and least successful source of innovative opportunities) in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Broken Washroom Doors: Drucker said the problem of having people in positions where they do the least amount of good exists everywhere, but it is more rampant in hospitals, churches, and other nonprofits than in corporations.

To raise productivity in most any organization managers should regularly assess their key people, their strengths, and the results they achieve.

Then they should ask themselves:

Do we have the right people in the right jobs, where they can make the greatest contributions?

Are the jobs the right ones, meaning do we have people performing tasks that even if achieved do not add value to the organization?

What changes in people, jobs, and job functions can we make that will yield greater results?

Inside Drucker's Brain



How to Consult Like Peter Drucker

In addition to being considered “the man who invented management,” Drucker was arguably the father of management consulting (with all due respect to McKinsey & Co.’s Marvin Bower).

In fact, Drucker had recently arrived in the United States from Europe when he was summoned to serve as a “management consultant” for the Army, shortly before World War II.

There was just one hitch: A journalist and lecturer, with a bit of background in finance and a doctorate in international law, the then-30-something Drucker wasn’t quite sure what a consultant actually did.

He scoured the library, but the field was so new, he couldn’t locate any answers there.

His friends were clueless, as well.

So Drucker tried to get clarification from the colonel to whom he was supposed to report.

“Young man, don’t be impertinent,” the officer shot back—“by which,” Drucker later recounted, “I knew that he didn’t know what a management consultant did, either.”

Drucker figured it out pretty quickly.

By the mid-1940s, he had found his way deep inside General Motors, and by the 1950s he was consulting for Sears, General Electric and IBM.

Over the decades, he’d add a host of other major companies and nonprofits to his client list: Intel, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and many more.

Why was Drucker so in demand?

What made him so good?

For starters, he understood that his job wasn’t to serve up answers.

“My greatest strength as a consultant,” Drucker once remarked, “is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.”

In many cases, they were deceptively simple: Who is your customer?

What have you stopped doing lately (so as to free up resources for the new and innovative)?

What business are you in?

Or, as he urged the founders of the investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette to ask themselves in 1974, after they had enjoyed a heady period of growth: “What should our business be?”

“I shall not attempt to answer the question what your business should be,” Drucker added.

“First, one should not answer such a question off the top of one’s head.

… Secondly, one man’s opinion, no matter how brilliant, is at best one man’s opinion.”

Besides, Drucker said, “I can only ask questions.

The answers have to be yours.”

Other times, of course, corporations sought Drucker’s counsel to deal with narrower challenges.

In 1992, for example, he wrote a 56-page analysis for Coca-Cola that explored distribution, branding, advertising, the structure of the company’s bottling operations and more.

Still, the approach was always the same: “This report raises questions,” Drucker told Coke.

“It does not attempt to give answers.”

Another thing that made Drucker stand apart was his integrity.

He wouldn’t come in, do a job—and then stick his client with the bill without knowing whether he had made a real difference.

“Remember,” Drucker told the assistant to the chairman of Sears, as he turned in an invoice in March 1955, “that this is submitted on condition that there is no payment due unless the work satisfies you.”

Indeed, Drucker knew that the test wasn’t whether he had delivered some sharp insight.

All that counted was whether his client could use that insight to make measurable progress on an important issue.

It’s the performance of others, Drucker wrote, that “determines in the last analysis whether a consultant contributes and achieves results, or whether he is … at best a court jester.”

In this respect, Drucker knew that the most dangerous thing for any consultant was to become too impressed with his own wisdom.

He didn’t like his clients getting carried away, either.

“Stop talking about ‘Druckerizing’ your organization,” he told officials at Edward Jones, the investment firm.

“The job ahead of you is to ‘Jonesize’ your organization—and only if you accept this would I be of any help to you.

Otherwise, I would rapidly become a menace—which I refuse to be.”

Oh, and one other thing: Peter Drucker never drew a four-box matrix in his entire life.

Keywords: tlnkwturnaround


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker

The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context




These pages are attention directing tools for navigating a world moving toward unimagined futures.

It’s up to you to figure out what to harvest and calendarize
working something out in time (1915, 1940, 1970 … 2040 … the outer limit of your concern)nobody is going to do it for you.

It may be a step forward to actively reject something (rather than just passively ignoring) and then figure out a coping plan for what you’ve rejected.

Your future is between your ears and our future is between our collective ears — it can’t be otherwise. A site exploration starting point



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