A Lesson from Drucker: Can We Really Ignore People in an Intellectual Capital Economy?

by Michael Haberman on March 16, 2010 · 0 comments


I have a book called The Daily Drucker (Click the title for Amazon) that I enjoy reading for the daily wisdom. Sometimes there is something HR related, sometimes not. Today’s subject came from The Practice of Management and deals with balancing objectives and measurements. To Drucker an emphasis totally on PROFIT was dangerous and undermined the future of the company. He suggests that are eight areas in which performance and objectives have to be set. Two of these are people related. These eight include:

  1. Market standing
  2. Innovation
  3. Productivity
  4. Physical and financial resources
  5. Profitability
  6. Manager performance and development
  7. Worker performance and attitude
  8. Public responsibility

He said these key items may require different emphasis in different businesses at different times and stages, BUT, as he says, “…the areas are the same, whatever the business, whatever the economic conditions, whatever the business’s size or stage of growth.” 

Manager performance and development and worker performance and attitude WHATEVER THE ECONOMIC CONDITIONS! Unfortunately far too many companies have ignored this sage advice and it is going to cost them. Lack of training in managers and lack of attention to employees in an economic downturn is going to cost many companies the talented people the will sorely need to reap the rewards of an upturn in business. In a day and time when many companies rely so heavily on the talent, intellect, and learning of their people it dooms a company to failure to ignore managerial development.  Stack on top of that a general mistreatment, or at least an lack of understanding and compassion for the plight of your workers and disaster happens.  All this is adding up to what many foresee as a mass exodus from companies by talented workers who supply the intellectual capital so many companies trade on today.

So take a look at your company. What objectives and goals have your set for the development of people that may forestall an exodus of your brain power? It is not too late for everyone. You can still recover but you must move swiftly and with purpose to re-engage and revitalize your workforce.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Allison Hemming, Top Gun March 17, 2010 at 9:06 am

Great post! I believe that Drucker is totally right but actually feel that there are four "people" related areas…the two that you mentioned AND innovation and productivity. As workers and managers disengage from their companies (even while they collect paychecks), the brain drain of not having a fully engaged workforce will effect both innovation and productivity. Companies that integrate all four areas will win not only the talent
war but also the war for shareholder value.

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