pyramid to dna

Ten Principles for Life II

From Finishing Well: How Pathfinders Transform Success to Significance

Which rows below need to be calendarized?
Calendarization ≈ working something out in time.
In what sequence?
What comes before what?
This is life design work—not just an inherited life.

* Ten Principles for Life II
Great advice drawn from three interviews with
Peter Drucker by Bob Buford
V Find out who you are.
* One of the lessons Peter taught me through our long-term personal relationship is to find out what my strengths are and put them to work.
See Managing Oneself on strengths
* "Whenever people are on the road to success," he said, "they tend to think of repositioning as something they do if they're a failure.
* But I would say that you ought to reposition when you're a success, because that's when you can afford it."
* Repositioning for significance makes more sense when you know who you are and where you belong.
V Reposition yourself for full effectiveness and fulfillment in life's second half.
* It's only with this knowledge of ourselves, Peter said, that you can reposition yourself for full effectiveness and fulfillment in the second half.
* "Early in their careers," he said, "people tend to have a fairly limited time frame of four years or so.
* They can't visualize what comes after that."
* By the time they achieve a measure of success, the time frame expands.
* "Suddenly they begin to think about options that are 20, 30 or more years ahead of them."
* Imagine how the range of possibilities increases when you add 20 or 30 years to your frame of reference—a whole second adulthood!
V Find your existential core.
* The most important thing, Peter said, is "to have faith as your existential core."
See December 23-26 in The Daily Drucker
* What faith does, he said, is to provide the framework for your work, your job, your value system, your personal relationships, and all the other things that make you who you are.
* "There's a strong correlation between high achievement and the ability to come to terms with life's basic questions."
* And he added, "I think the most successful people are those who have a strong faith.
* They're people who all their lives have believed in faith, hope, and charity, and who believe that the greatest of these is charity."
* If they have faith and hope, he said, "now they're ready to move to charity, and there is a very substantial correlation between religious faith, religious commitment, and success as doers in the community."
Religion is a meta-system. “A meta-system provides a reason for doing something which does not lie within the immediate situation itself. A meta-system is a higher system outside the immediate system in which one happens to be operating.” The Happiness Purpose
V Make your life your endgame.
* The goal, Peter said, is not just a long life or even a prosperous one: it's to make a meaningful life out of an ordinary one.
* At some point everybody wonders, "What's it all about, anyway?"
* Life is often perplexing, and merely chasing "the dream" may not be enough.
* The question most halftimers ask themselves is, "What do I do now?"
* The answer is to set your sights on achievements that really matter, that will make a difference in the world.
Odd as it seems, you will achieve the greatest results in business and career if you drop the word ‘achievement’ from your vocabulary. Replace it with ‘contribution.’ Aiming high — Peter F. Drucker
* And set them far enough ahead of where you are today that the journey will be demanding but worth the effort.
* As Peter put it, "Make your life your endgame."
V Planning doesn't work.
* Peter maintained that planning doesn't work.
* You can prepare yourself, learn what you ought to know, and expand your experience and professionalism, but ultimately, he said, "opportunity comes in over the transom," and that means you have to be flexible, ready to seize the right opportunities when they come.
* "Too much planning," he said, "can make you deaf to opportunity." Find "unexpected" here.
* Knowing what you want to do, and being prepared and equipped to do it, is more important than the specific "how."
V Peter said, "Opportunity knocks, but it only knocks once.
* You have to be ready for the accident."
V You have to know your valueshere.
* What questions should you be asking about yourself and your life?
* Peter said, "If you don't respect a job, not only will you do a poor job of it but it will corrupt you, and eventually it may even kill you."
* If you are a person of faith, you assume a certain value system.
V But there's a value system for your work, as well.
V By way of example, Peter said, "Ninety-nine percent of all physicians should not become hospital administrators.
V Why?
V Because they have no respect for the job.
* They're physicians and they feel that hospital administration is a job for clerks.
* Most physicians I know, including my brother, don't respect the job."
* Knowing what you value and what you don't can keep you from making some bad choices along the way.
V You have to define what finishing well means to you.
* Peter said, "I don't think I ever in my life considered making a lot of money as major success.
* My definition of success changed a long time ago.
* I love doing consulting work and writing—I regularly lose track of time when I'm doing those things.
* But finishing well, and how I want to be remembered, those are the things that matter now.
* Making a difference in a few lives is a worthy goal.
* Having enabled a few people to do the things they want to do: that's really what I want to be remembered for."
* Peter's definition is right on track for halftimers.
* Ultimately, success has to be viewed in context, and the best context is knowing what finishing well means to you.
V You have to know the difference between harvesting and planting.
* For most of us, the early part of our careers is a time of planting.
* It's about finding out what we do best and where we get the most satisfaction.
* During our "warrior" years we spend the majority of our time planting, building, expanding, and tending the farm.
* But planting season eventually comes to an end, and the time comes to start thinking about harvesting the rewards of what we've sown.
V Peter said, "For many years I measured my work by my output—mainly in terms of books and other writing that I was doing.
* I was very productive for many years.
* I am not so productive today, because these are years of harvesting rather than years of planting."
* As Ecclesiastes says, "there is a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted," and you need to know the difference.
V Good intentions aren't enough.
V You have to define the results you're after !!!!
* There has been a huge expansion in the number of nonprofits and charitable organizations the past several years.
* A lot of people want to put their resources to work where they can do the most good.
* Unfortunately, as Peter noted, many of them get poor results—or no results.
* "The problem," he said, "is that they don't ask about results, and they don't know what results they want in the first place.
* They mean well, and they have the best of intentions, but the only thing good intentions are for (as the old maxim says) is to pave the road to hell."
* The best results are achieved, he said, when people ask the right questions and then partner with others who have the expertise, knowledge, and discipline to get the right results.
V There's a downside to "no longer learning, no longer growing."
* "I see more and more people," Peter said, "who make it to their mid-40s or beyond, and they've been very successful.
V They've done very well in their work and career, but in my experience, they end up in one of three groups.
V One group will retire.
* They usually don't live very long.
* The second group keeps on doing what they've been doing, but they're losing their enthusiasm, feeling less alive.
V The third group keeps doing what they've been doing, but they're looking for ways to make a contribution.
* They feel they've been given a lot and they're looking for a chance to give back.
* They're not satisfied with just writing checks, they want to be involved, to help other people in a more positive way."
* And they're ones who finish well.


More like the above


All of the above takes place within a changing world


The Second Half of Your Life


Half Time series

buford books



Amazon links (work-around for browser ad blocking)



Career and Life Guidance from Peter Drucker
is attention-directing work

knowledge technology

Knowledge technology

“Time Related” Management Books

Important ways to “see” otherwise invisible aspects of reality and to relocate one's brain to unfamiliar territory.

Some of the chapter topics have made their way into The Daily Drucker

The subtopics below selected book titles are not the entire contents that book.

bbx Managing in Turbulent Times

bbx Toward the Next Economics and Other Essays


bbx The Changing World of The Executive

bbx A Scorecard for Management

… “bottom line” is not even an appropriate measure of management performance

bbx Performance in Appropriating Capital

bbx Performance on People Decisions

bbx Innovation Performance

bbx Planning Performance (reality vs. expectations)

bbx Learning From Foreign Management

bbx Demand responsibility from their employees

bbx Thought through their benefits policies more carefully

bbx Take marketing seriously — knowing what is value for the customer

bbx Base their marketing and innovation strategies on the systematic and purposeful abandonment

bbx Longer-term investment or opportunities budgets

bbx Leaders responsible for the development of proper policies in the national interest

bbx Aftermath of a Go-Go Decade

bbx Managing Capital Productivity

bbx Measuring Business Performance

Performance in a business means applying capital productively and there is only one appropriate yardstick of business performance: return on all assets employed or on all capital invested

bbx Good Growth and Bad Growth

bbx Managing the Knowledge Worker

bbx Frontiers of Management

bbx Measuring White Collar Productivity

bbx Getting Control of Staff Work

bbx Slimming Management’s Midriff

bbx The No-Growth Enterprise

bbx Why Automation Pays Off

bbx Managing for the Future

bbx The New Productivity Challenge

bbx Manage by walking around — Outside!

bbx Permanent cost cutting: permanent policy

bbx Four marketing lessons for the future

bbx Company performance: five telltale tests

bbx Market standing

bbx Innovative performance

bbx Productivity

bbx Liquidity and Cash Flows

bbx Profitability

bbx No Precise Readings

bbx The trend toward alliances for progress

bbx The emerging theory of manufacturing

bbx Sell the Mailroom. Unbundling in the ‘90s

bbx Managing in a Time of Great Change

bbx The theory of the business

bbx Planning for uncertainty

bbx The five deadly business sins

bbx Management Challenges for the 21st Century

bbx Managing in the Next Society


“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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