I read that quote in an article that was forwarded to me. It made me laugh because it is so true, and I decided to find out who said it.
It was said by Peter Drucker. I took the following exceprts off his Wikipedia entry. He was the man widely regarded as the Father of Modern Management and had came up with some startlingly simple ideas.
- It was Drucker who introduced the idea of decentralization — in the 1940s — which became a bedrock principle for virtually every large organization in the world.
- He was the first to assert — in the 1950s — that workers should be treated as assets, not as liabilities to be eliminated.
- He originated the view of the corporation as a human community — again, in the 1950s — built on trust and respect for the worker and not just a profit-making machine, a perspective that won Drucker an almost godlike reverence among the Japanese.
- He first made clear — still the ’50s — that there is “no business without a customer,” a simple notion that ushered in a new marketing mind-set.
- He argued in the 1960s — long before others — for the importance of substance over style, for institutionalized practices over charismatic, cult leaders.
- And it was Drucker again who wrote about the contribution of knowledge workers — in the 1970s — long before anyone knew or understood how knowledge would trump raw material as the essential capital of the New Economy.
Several ideas run through most of Drucker’s writings:
- Decentralization and simplification. Drucker discounted the command and control model and asserted that companies work best when they are decentralized. According to Drucker, corporations tend to produce too many products, hire employees they don’t need (when a better solution would be outsourcing), and expand into economic sectors that they should avoid.
- Respect of the worker. Drucker believed that employees are assets and not liabilities. He taught that knowledge workers are the essential ingredients of the modern economy.
- The need for “planned abandonment.” Businesses and governments have a natural human tendency to cling to “yesterday’s successes” rather than seeing when they are no longer useful.
- The need for community. Early in his career, Drucker predicted the “end of economic man” and advocated the creation of a “plant community” where individuals’ social needs could be met. He later acknowledged that the plant community never materialized, and by the 1980s, suggested that volunteering in the non-profit sector was the key to fostering a healthy society where people found a sense of belonging and civic pride.
- The need to manage business by balancing a variety of needs and goals, rather than subordinating an institution to a single value. This concept of management by objectives forms the keynote of his 1954 landmark “The Practice of Management”.
- A company’s primary responsibility is to serve its customers. Profit is not the primary goal, but rather an essential condition for the company’s continued existence.
Smart man. Here’s a personal article written by the editor of Business Week as his tribute to Drucker: The Man Who Invented Management.
p/s: I know just exactly whom I should get this book for!