What Would Drucker Do?


In 1957, Peter Drucker first used the expression “postmodern organization” to describe a new kind of fluid, organic, flexible company. In a book titled, Landmarks of Tomorrow, Drucker wrote that the shift from the universe of mechanical cause and effect to a new universe of pattern, purpose, and process would permanently transform how leaders view themselves and their jobs.

Drucker was right. The world did become more complex. Our global markets became so complex that a single action can send tremors through the world’s financial markets. We are inter-connected in ways never before seen.

So I found myself asking the last few days: “What would Peter Drucker have done?” How would he react to Wall Street’s meltdown? One thing I know for sure, he would have disapproved of the bailout. It pushes more money into the wrong places – into the hands of bankers. He would have looked to fix the problem at its source.

And where’s the source? The commercial paper that enables corporations to do business is tied to the money markets. When it froze up, when the value of a money market share “broke the buck,” that’s when the panic began.

I believe that Peter Drucker would have looked to the money markets to fix the problem. He would have insured it against “breaking the buck.” That would enable the commercial paper to flow freely again and the panic would end.

Yes, it’s a far different world from 1957. But if Peter Drucker were alive, the conversation would be different. Peter Drucker would have said: “Resist the stampede to the simple, quick fix. Work for the long term systemic solution.”

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