In line with the practice of designing experiments to prove or refute hypotheses, Brain Bytes is an experiment to test hypotheses based on the following observation – people in business are time-poor.
H1 – People in business are eager to learn, to improve themselves and their organisations.
H2 – Perhaps business people will welcome and get value from small bites of actionable advice (Brain Bytes).
H3 – People in business who get value from Brain Bytes, will appreciate a daily post.
Brain Bytes is intended to be bytes of actionable advice, with the starting point being selections of Peter Drucker’s work collated and updated for the present context.
Peter Drucker’s work has been chosen as the starting point for this series as he has been described as “the founder of modern management,” Wikipedia. Much of Drucker’s work is still relevant today, and as such is a stable foundation upon which to build. Further, I have for a long time advocated that we don’t need to search out new and esoteric management theory and methods – few of us and few organisations have exhausted the opportunities present in the advice that already exists, some of which has existed for a long time.
However, Drucker is not the only giant on whose shoulders we will stand. There are many others, and we will consult those giants when needed.
Make use of this complimentary no-strings-attached resource. If you need any help, please make contact.
The ultimate test of management is results – did it achieve the results for which managers were employed and for which the organisation exists? Do you know which management practices are effective and efficient (keep doing those and scale them if appropriate) and which are not (stop doing those)? Adapted from Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management.
Successful management is the disciplined and systematic application of a wide variety of fields of knowledge, such as engineering, accounting, psychology, and behavioural economics to name but a few. Are your management practices systematic or are they ad hoc? Do your practices have a theoretical basis of validity or are they an act of whimsy and failures simply attributed to bad luck? Adapted from Peter Drucker, The Frontiers of Management.
The key difference between manual work and knowledge work is that the skills required for manual work change very slowly, whereas with knowledge work, knowledge work makes itself rapidly obsolete. What this means is that continuous reinvestment in learning and relearning is not simply a fundamental requirement of the knowledge worker, it is an obligation. What self-reinvestment are you undertaking to avoid your obsolescence? Adapted from Adam Grant, Think Again, Peter Drucker, Drucker on...
Write down the expected results of your decisions. Review and compare your actual versus expected results. What did you learn about yourself? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What can you and what can’t you change? Write down the expected results of your decisions, and periodically compare your predictions with what transpired. When did you develop your beliefs about what you think is true and on what basis did they form; are your beliefs still relevant and useful to you,...
Organisations exist for the pursuit of specific results for the individual and society. The better an organisation is at defining and achieving its designated results, the more legitimate and stronger it will be. What are the results that your organisation has been established to achieve? How do you objectively and reliably measure success? Adapted from Peter Drucker, The Age of Discontinuity.
Organisational decisions should not be made divorced from their effect on your staff, your customers, society, and our planet. We live in an interdependent world where what we do and say has an effect. Even the irritating mosquito has a purpose. Take time to consider the side-effects of your organisation’s decisions on your staff, customers, society, and the planet. The welfare of our society and our world must guide the interests of the organisation. Adapted from Peter Drucker, The Ecological...
In addition to managing the social and environmental effect of the organisation, the purpose of management is the effective and efficient use of resources, human and otherwise, to produce the results expected. What are you doing to ensure that your organisation is delivering the expected results? Adapted from Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices.
There are few things as dispiriting in an organisation (or anywhere for that matter) than to be constantly reminded of one’s weaknesses. Most people have the plasticity to change, to improve themselves, but only if they possess the required innate capabilities, make the opportunity, and only if they want to. But in the end, it is easier to find out what people’s strengths are and to use them, to help develop those strengths than it is to try to correct their weaknesses. Try as you might, you...
Compared to the productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency of machines and computers, the human resource still has some ways to improve. Drucker 1973 used effectiveness to compare the results of activities to the achievement of objectives (i.e., “are we doing the right things?”), and efficiency with the yield of outputs compared to the input of resources such as time and energy (i.e., “are we doing things right?”). Compared to machines, humans will never be as productive, because by...
In the practical world of business, a theory is useful to explain and to codify what is already happening; business theory rarely predicts anything. Worse is a business theory that has not kept pace with reality, with what has changed. What business theories (assumptions) do you hold dear, and what has changed in the business world that necessitates modifying, replacing, or abandoning your (pet) business theories? Adapted from Peter Drucker, The New Realities.