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Drucker on Leadership: New Lessons from the Father of Modern Management

Drucker on Leadership

Amazon link: Drucker on Leadership: New Lessons from the Father of Modern Management

Although Peter Drucker, "The Father of Modern Management," died in 2005, his timeless teachings are studied and practiced by forward-thinking managers worldwide. His lessons and wisdom on the topic of leadership—the central element of management—are in constant demand, yet he wrote little under that actual subject heading.

In "Drucker on Leadership", William A. Cohen explores Drucker's lost leadership lessons—why they are missing, what they are, why they are important, and how to apply them. As Cohen explains, Drucker was ambivalent about leadership for much of his career, making it clear that leadership was not by itself "good or desirable." While Drucker struggled with the concept of leadership, he was well aware that it had a critical impact on the accomplishment of all projects and human endeavors. There is no book from Drucker specifically dedicated to leadership, but a wealth of information about leadership can be found scattered throughout his 40 books and hundreds of articles. Drucker's teachings about leadership have saved many corporations from failure and helped guide others to outstanding success.

Many of the leadership concepts revealed in this book will surprise and perhaps shock Drucker's followers. For example, who would have thought that Peter Drucker taught that "leadership is a marketing job" or that "the best leadership lessons for business or any nonprofit organization come from the military"?

Written for anyone who values the insights of the man whose name is synonymous with excellence in management, "Drucker on Leadership" offers a deeper understanding of what makes an extraordinary leader.

See my leadership summary page which includes Peter Drucker's Legacy written by Jim Collins.

A substantial amount of the content of Drucker on Leadership are Cohen's ideas which lack Drucker's extraordinary world and time view.


  • Foreword
  • Introduction: Peter Drucker and Leadership
    • Drucker's Evolving Attitudes Toward Leadership
    • Drucker's Model for Effective Leadership
      • The Leader's Role in Strategic Planning (some liberties have been taken here)
      • Business Ethics and Personal Integrity
      • Modeling Military Leadership
      • The Psychological Principles of Motivation
      • The Marketing Model and Leadership
    • It is unfortunate that Peter Drucker did not write this book. (So says the author)
  • The Leader's Role In Shaping The Organization's Future
    • The Fundamental Decision: Determining the Business of the Organization
      • Defining Your Business Is No Small Thing
      • How to Obtain Commitment to the Mission Throughout the Organization
      • Why Everyone Should Be Heard
      • How to Answer the Question, What Is Our Business?
        • Who Exactly Is Your Customer?
        • Where Is Your Customer Located?
        • What Does Your Customer Buy and Why?
        • How Does Your Customer Define Value?
      • When Should You Define Your Business?
      • Drucker's Advice on Defining the Business of the Organization
    • The Process: Creating A Strategic Plan
      • Drucker's Vision of Strategic Planning
      • The Function of a Strategic Plan
      • Drucker's Three Questions to Determine an Organization's Future
      • Moving Forward on the Strategic Plan
      • The Impossibility of Accurate Forecasting
      • Drucker's Secret (Which Violated His Own Rule)
      • Drucker's General Directions Lead To New Ideas
        • Baseline Assumptions
        • Delphi Method
        • "What If" Questions
      • Fine-Tuning and Judging the Future You Have Selected
      • Drucker on the Process of Creating an Organization's Future
    • Look, Listen, And Analyze: The Information The Leader Needs
      • Looking Out the Window: A Carefully Chosen Metaphor
      • The First Thing You See When You Look Out the Window: The Broad Environment
      • Keeping Your Focus While Looking Out the Window
      • The Second Thing You See When You Look Out the Window: Specific Targets
        • Target Market
        • Cultural, Ethnic, Religious, and Racial Groups
        • Social Class
        • Demographics
        • Organizational Buyers and Other "Buyers"
        • Competitors
        • Technology
        • The Economic Environment
        • The Political Environment
        • The Legal and Regulatory Environment
        • Social and Cultural Environment
      • Market Research: Acquiring the Information You Need
        • How to Think About a Product That Doesn't Yet Exist
        • How to Determine What Is Likely to Happen
      • Drucker on the Information the Leader Needs and What to Do with It
    • Methodology: Developing Drucker-Based Strategies
      • Strategy Not by Formula
      • Drucker's View of Strategy
      • Questions Any Company's Strategy Must Answer
      • A Hypothetical Drucker Methodology
        • 1. Commit fully to a definite objective
        • 2. Seize the initiative and keep it
        • 3. Economize to mass your resources
        • 4. Use strategic positioning
        • 5. Do the unexpected
        • 6. Keep things simple
        • 7. Prepare multiple simultaneous alternatives
        • 8. Take the indirect route to your objective
        • 9. Practice timing and sequencing
        • 10. Exploit your success
      • Principles, Resources, and Fixed Certainties
        • Table 4.1-Elements of a Strategy
      • Developing Strategy Based on Drucker's Concepts
    • Taking Action: What It Takes to Implement Your Plan
      • Implementing and Controlling Your Plan
        • Controls Can Be Neither Objective Nor Neutral
        • Controls Must Focus on Results
        • Both Measurable and Nonmeasurable Events Need Controls
      • Drucker's Metrics for Control
        • Drucker's Seven Specifications
        • The Importance of Periodic Reviews
      • The Ultimate Control
      • Drucker's Concepts on Taking Action
  • Ethics and Personal Integrity
    • Drucker's Views on Business Ethics
      • The Concepts of Integrity, Ethics, Morality, Honor, and the Law
      • Drucker's Early Struggles with Unethical Leadership
      • Drucker's Analysis at Business Ethics for the Leader
        • Drucker on Extortion or Bribery
        • The Ethics of Social Responsibility
        • The Ethics of Prudence
        • The Ethics of Profit
        • Confucian Ethics
        • Drucker's Conclusions About Business Ethics
      • Drucker on Ethics for Leaders
    • Effective Leadership and Personal Integrity
      • Integrity in Action
        • When No One Knows
        • Putting Yourself at Risk
        • The Mirror Test
      • My Own Experience of Integrity in Action
      • Drucker an the Need far Personal Integrity
    • The Seven Deadly Sins of Leadership
      • Why the Seven Deadly Sins?
      • The Leadership Sin of Pride
      • The Leadership Sin of Lust
      • The Leadership Sin of Greed
      • The Leadership Sin of Sloth
      • The Leadership Sin of Wrath
      • The Leadership Sin of Envy
      • The Leadership Sin of Gluttony
      • Druckar on What a Leader Should Avoid
    • Effective Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility
      • The Drucker Difference
        • Inability of Government to Solve Social Problems
        • Corporate Mission First
        • Unlimited Liability Clause on Unintended Consequences
        • The Ethics of Social Responsibility
        • Opportunities for Competitive Advantage in Social Responsibility
        • The Critical Importance of Leadership
      • Drucker on Leadership and Social Responsibility
    • The Responsibility of a Corporation: First, Do No Harm
      • The Hippocratic Oath and Primum Non Nocere
      • Ensuring No Harm Is Done
      • Look Before Leaping
      • Never Change for the Good Without First Considering the Future
      • The Great Housing Depression
      • Drucker on Doing No Harm
  • The Military: Drucker's Model Organization
    • Leadership Lessons From Xenophon
      • Who Was Xenophon?
      • The Consequences of Inaction
      • Leading the Troops: Pointers for Subordinates
      • How to Motivate
      • Reputation Must Be Earned
      • The Value of Worker Health in Leadership
      • Drucker's Thoughts on Xenophon
      • Drucker on What Xenophon's Lessons Meant
    • Training and Developing Leaders
      • Training Leaders in the Military and Civilian Worlds
      • Leadership Training: Starting on Day One
        • Focus on Performance, Not Potential
      • The Need for Continual Evaluation and Feedback
      • Applied and Practical Training
      • The Importance of Follow-Through
      • How to Handle Mistakes
      • Advantages of the Military Model
      • Drucker on Training and Developing Leaders
    • Promotion and Staffing
      • A Rational Promotion System
        • The Military Promotion System
        • Written Appraisals
        • Getting Promoted
        • The Promotion Board
        • Where Drucker Differed with the Military System
      • Staffing Decisions
      • Drucker on Promotion and Staffing
    • The Heart of Leadership
      • Command-and-Control Leadership
      • Leadership in Battle
      • Why Emulate Military Leadership?
        • Applying Battle Leadership to Organizational Leadership
        • Swords into Ploughshares
      • Drucker and the Eight Principles
        • Integrity First
        • Know Your Stuff
        • Declare Your Expectations
        • Show Uncommon Commitment
        • Expect Positive Results
        • Take Care of Your People
        • Duty Before Self
        • Get Out in Front
      • Drucker on the Heart of Leadership
    • Leadership for Upper Management
      • An Old Problem That Has Only Gotten Worse
      • The Leap from Tactical to Strategic
      • The Challenge of Specialization
      • The Responsibility of the Organization for Selection
      • How to Prepare for High-Level Leadership
        • Manage Your Own Preparation for Top Management
        • Master a Separate Discipline Outside Your Profession
        • Read Extensively In and Outside Your Primary Specialty
        • Think, Discuss, and Write
      • Drucker on Preparing for Top Management
  • Motivation and Leadership
    • Leadership Style as a Motivator
      • Theory X and Theory Y
      • Drucker's Views on Theory X
        • Problems with Theory Y
        • The Responsibilities of Theory Y Leaders
        • When Theory X Leadership Is Acceptable
      • Five Dimensions of Work
      • How to Make Theory Y Work
      • Drucker on Style and Motivation
    • Motivating to Peak Performance
      • Employee Satisfaction Will Not Motivate Performance
      • Drucker's Four Paths to Creating the Responsible Worker
        • Placing Workers Carefully
          • Who's at Fault?
        • Demanding High Standards of Performance
        • Providing the Worker with Information Needed
        • Encouraging Managerial Vision
      • Drucker on Motivation
    • Charisma as a Motivator
      • Was Drucker Right?
      • Charisma Defined
      • Are Charismatic Leaders "Misleaders"?
      • Researching and Developing Charisma
      • Drucker on Charisma as a Motivator
    • The Volunteer Paradigm
      • Why People Volunteer
        • Work with People Who Treat Me with Respect
        • Interesting Work
        • Recognition for Good Work
        • Chance to Develop Skills
        • Working for People Who Listen to Ideas for Improvement
        • A chance to Think for Myself
        • Seeing the End Results of My Work
        • Working for Efficient Managers
        • A Job That Is Not Too Easy
        • Feeling Well Informed About What Is Going On
      • Drucker on Treating Employees as Volunteers
  • The Marketing Model of Leadership
    • Applying Marketing to Leadership
      • The Difference Between Marketing and Selling
      • The Rise of Marketing
      • The Value of Marketing as a Leadership Model
      • How to Adopt Marketing as a Leadership Concept
    • Applying Segmentation to Leadership
      • Disadvantages of Mass Marketing
      • The Solution for Marketers and Leaders: Segmentation
      • What Segmentation Means for the Leader
      • The Basics of One-on-One Segmentation
      • Interacting with Staff in the Workplace
      • Interacting with Staff Outside the Workplace
      • Off-Duty and Unofficial Meetings
      • The Function of Segmentation in Leadership
    • Applying Positioning to the Organization and the Leader
      • The Role of Positioning in Communication
      • Case Study: How to Apply Positioning to leadership
      • Analysis of the Problem and Its Solution
      • The Benefits of Being First
        • What to Do If You Can't Be First
        • The Positioning Procedure
    • The Role of Influence and Persuasion on Strategy and Tactics
      • The Mass Mind
      • Strategies of Influence and Persuasion
        • Coercion
        • Sincerity
        • Increasing Commitment
        • Referral, Social Proof, and Conformity
    • Epilogue: Drucker's Legacy
  • Notes
  • About The Author
  • Index

Peter Drucker: Conceptual Resources

The Über Mentor

A political / social ecologist
a different way of seeing and thinking about
the big picture
— lead to his top-of-the-food-chain reputation

drucker business week

about Management (a shock to the system)


“I am not a ‘theoretician’; through my consulting practice I am in daily touch with the concrete opportunities and problems of a fairly large number of institutions, foremost among them businesses but also hospitals, government agencies and public-service institutions such as museums and universities.

And I am working with such institutions on several continents: North America, including Canada and Mexico; Latin America; Europe; Japan and South East Asia.” — PFD




List of his books


Large combined outline of Drucker’s books — useful for topic searching.




High tech is living in the nineteenth century,
the pre-management world.
They believe that people pay for technology.
They have a romance with technology.
But people don't pay for technology:
they pay for what they get out of technology.” —
The Frontiers of Management


“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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