Week 16 of 52. Welcome to Drucker Mondays, a 52-week journey through the new book, A Year with Peter Drucker: 52 Weeks of Coaching for Leadership Effectiveness, by Joseph A. Maciariello. Each Monday, we'll feature a Drucker fan and his or her favorite snippet from the week's topic. (Subscribe on this page.) John Ashmen is our guest writer today.
THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: Peter Drucker’s first major book, The End of Economic Man, argued that “economic man—a topic emphasized during the 1992 presidential campaign—was not a working philosophy of life that could sustain the country.” What could? “He viewed the resurgence of the pastoral mega-church as a positive force for the development of society, and the work of Bob Buford as instrumental in rebuilding American society.”
JOHN ASHMEN'S FAVORITE DRUCKER INSIGHTS from Week 16, pages 127-132:
• From a conversation Drucker had with Bob Buford in 1993: “I’m going to make myself very unpopular in two weeks in Aspen at the seminar where I am the keynote speaker; by saying we have no economic problems. We have only social problems. But we have those in spades. This morning when I woke up at three in the morning, you have no idea. I had to pray very hard to get over that despair, and I haven’t gotten over it yet. Yes, I know, the very fact that we are conscious of it is probably the only optimistic thing.”
• Buford: “Why have you not written about this topic?”
• Drucker: “Because I am not called! You [Bob Buford] see the healthy energies in the individuals. It needs leadership. It needs example, it needs vision, and it needs direction. . . . You have that tremendous vision. Look, this is an eschatological vision; it’s not a rational one.”
JOHN ASHMEN'S COLOR COMMENTARY:
As Dan Busby said last week in this column, “Peter Drucker was ahead of his time.” Our work with some-300 member missions reminds me every day of this truth: “Our problems in the U.S. are social problems.”
AGRM-affiliated organizations annually provide upwards of 50 million meals and 30 million nights of lodging to the desperate and destitute across North America. They also graduate approximately 25,000 people a year from addiction recovery programs.
For the most part, I’m on the same page with Drucker, who said: “None of the U.S. programs of the last forty years in which we tried to tackle a social problem through government action has produced significant results. But independent non-profit agencies have had impressive results.” To be fair, the government does do a good job with short-term solutions; but for long-term solutions, the private sector has the advantage.
And by the way—did you know that Drucker’s book, The End of Economic Man, was reviewed in the London Times Literary Supplement on May 27, 1939, by none other than Winston Churchill, before he became prime minister of England in 1940? Churchill noted that Drucker "not only has a mind of his own, but has the gift of starting other minds along a stimulating line of thought."
THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY JOHN ASHMEN:
John Ashmen is president of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, North America’s oldest and largest network of independent ministries providing radical hospitality for the poor and powerless. With more than 20 years of association leadership experience, he holds a B.S. in Bible, with a Social Work emphasis, and an M.A. in Organizational Management.
His writings have appeared in numerous books, journals, and websites, and he speaks and teaches around the world. He is a husband, father and grandfather. Ashmen and John Pearson will co-facilitate a CEO Dialogues day on May 1 in Colorado Springs.
• A Year With Peter Drucker author Joseph A. Maciariello asks, “What contribution can you make to help turn society in a more wholesome direction?”
• He adds, “Are you afraid of criticism? Or do you consider criticism a fair price to pay to do what you know must be done?”
• “How can you leverage your social and religious involvements to increase your involvement in civic life?”
On April 27, 2015, we will continue this five-week segment on “Navigating a Society in Transition” with Week 17’s topic, “Rough Period of Transition Ahead for America.”