Four Activities for The Survival of HR: Drucker Lesson of the Day

by Michael Haberman on April 14, 2010 · 0 comments

Management Challenges for the 21st CenturyPeter Drucker in his book Management Challenges for the 21st Century talks about “universal entreprenurial disciplines” that he considers to be conditions that are necessary for any organization to survive today. I think these four disciplines are critical for HR’s survival and will help HR contribute strategically to their organization. These four steps are:

Step 1- “…Organized abandoment of products, services, processes, markets, distribution channels, and so on that are no longer optimal allocations of resources.” In any HR department there are processes that need to be abandoned. Have you ever asked yourself “why?” Why do you continue to file that paper, produce that report, take that step when it could be tossed out. Ever thought about eliminating it and seeing if anyone even noticed?

Step 2- “…must organize for systematic and continuing improvement.” The hallmark of any great HR person is their desire to continually improve. Individually, this means constantly studying, reading, and learning in your field and in your business. Are you taking classes? Are you reading blogs? Are you going to conferences and visiting the vendors? You should be, this is how you improve. And if you improve then your department stands a good chance of improving as well.

Step 3- “…organize for systematic and continuous exploitation, especially of its successes.” Building on success. This requires measurement and feedback in order to readjust. This feedback cycle needs to be built into every process HR is involved with.

Step 4- “And finally, it has to organize systematic innovation, that is, create the different tomorrow that makes obsolete and, to a large extent, replaces even the most successful products of today in an organization.” Creating a different tomorrow requires understanding what tomorrow is and “technology” is tomorrow. If you are not paying heed to social media and the potential impact it will have on how you communicate with your employees, your managers and the organizations customers then you are not attuned to a “different tomorrow.” It is my belief that social media will substantially change the intereactions with have with applicants, employees, the public and the government. Get on board. Denying they exist makes you the “Ostrich of HR” by burying your head in the sand.

This material came from my reading of The Daily Drucker: 366 Days of Insight and Motivation for Getting the Right Things Done. This is a great book to provide you with some daily inspiration from one of the major thought leaders of business.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Trish McFarlane April 16, 2010 at 5:51 am

Mike, I loved hearing you on the DriveThruHR show. I thought your message was on point and the R.I.C.E. model is something you should continue to spread the word about. The one line you said on the show and mention in the post that really sticks with me is this:

"It is my belief that social media will substantially change the intereactions with have with applicants, employees, the public and the government. Get on board. Denying they exist makes you the "Ostrich of HR" by burying your head in the sand."

That is so true. Great post!


R. J Morris April 16, 2010 at 10:53 am

Mike–Great post. Drucker is great, and applying him to the real-life challenges in HR is very good. Optimizing processes takes guts, but focusing on what is important is so valuable to the business.


Maj Gen B K Bhatia May 4, 2010 at 5:48 am

Mike, the last of the 4 activities for survival of HR includes the remaining three since using technology alone would help dispensing with the age old processes and providing on line information for speedy decision making. Earlier the HR folks become sensitized to the use of technology platforms, they will be able to appreciate how much of new learning is available to them every day.

'Drucker's lessons of the day' and platforms like 'EmpXtrack' are the true gifts for HR professionals across the globe. Thanks, Mike, for putting us wise.


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