It all began with his book on The Concept of Corporation in 1946 that was based on a two-year study of General Motors that became an instant best seller. The questions that he highlighted as being core to business performance several years ago continue to find support in contemporary business literature.
They are: What is your business What are you trying to accomplish What makes you distinctHow do you define resutsWhat are your core competencies What do they have to do with results
Overall, he had 39 books to his credit, 60% of them pertaining to management and the rest relating to economics and society.
Drucker was born in Vienna, studied law in Germany and moved to Engand to escape Nazism and later moved to the United States. Since 1971 he taught management at the the Claremont Graduate University which in 1987 named its school of management after him.For 40 years of his working life he worked with business and for 30 years he primarily worked with non-profit organisations.
Peter Drucker had the uncanny knack of seeing what others generally overlooked, and championed ideas much before they are recognised as being valid for the changing times. For instance, three decades before the discovery of emotional intelligence, Drucker noted that deep and fundamental human change takes pace at the level of identity. The most effective communication requires altering the emotions of others. Increasing emotional intelligence requires altering identity.
Drucker observed that altering emotions is for the most part about communication. Change succeeds only if it breaks through a person's emotional glass ceiling. He said human depth made business sense. His primary solution was to help executives become more authentic and deepen their understanding of human nature.
He predicted that in a knowledge economy the responsibility to make good decisions will devolve increasingly on workers, not a select group of managers. He was the first to propound the view that management like medicine is a practice.
The results are not in theory but in what actually happens. His prediction that the continuing education of adults is the next growth industry is coming to pass. Education is indeed fuelling our economy and shaping our society.
For the business and non profit world, Drucker, if we were to borrow a phrase from Julius Caeser, "came, wrote and conquered".
The author is a professor at IIM, Bangalore