Week 30 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.) W. Scott Brown is our guest writer today.
THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: What kind of organizations does America need to strengthen society? A Year with Peter Drucker author Joseph Maciariello says Peter Drucker “emphasized that leaders should be more concerned with serving the mission of their organization, serving its customers, and developing its people than with the ‘glitz’ of rank or power.” He went on to say: “leaders discharge their debt by acting as servants to the mission of the organization they serve, and to its people. Service provides the basis for the legitimacy of power and authority.”
SCOTT BROWN'S FAVORITE DRUCKER INSIGHTS from Week 30, pages 231-237:
• “Management always lives, works, and practices in and for an institution, which is a human community held together by the bond that, next to the tie of family, is the most powerful human bond: the work bond.”
• “Society is only meaningful if its purpose, its aims, its ideas and ideals make sense in terms of the individual’s purposes, aims, ideas and ideals.”
• “No society can function unless it gives the individual member social status and function, and unless the decisive social power is legitimate power.”
• “I have learned more theology as a practicing management consultant than I did when I taught religion.”
SCOTT BROWN'S COLOR COMMENTARY:
People matter. Here at Christian Leadership Alliance (CLA) one of our most popular and important lifelong learning tracks is called “People Management and Care.” Stewarding well the people who God has entrusted to our organizations is at the heart of organizational excellence.
Peter Drucker understood this. He recognized the vital importance of the individuals who comprise our organizations, and how understanding and capitalizing on the “aims, ideas and ideals” of those individuals is one of management’s most important functions. You can have fantastic strategic plans, a zeal for changing society, and a vision for how you’ll get there, but if you aren’t hiring and investing into the right people, you’ll fall short of your potential every time.
I’m currently reading a book called Excellence in Leadership (InterVarsity, 1986) by John White. In it he examines the life of Nehemiah as a leader. Nehemiah has always been my favorite Old Testament leader, and his excellence as a manager in leading reconstruction of the fallen walls of Jerusalem is replete with wisdom we can apply today.
White points out that Nehemiah identified with those he was seeking to lead: “There is no, ‘If you people decide to build, we will help you.’ Rather it is, ‘Come let us rebuild.’ He is a leader who leads, not one who pushes from behind. He not only identifies with people, he leads by example.”
Nehemiah exemplified what Drucker was talking about. He was totally committed to the mission, and he prioritized strengthening and developing those who served alongside him. He led by example.
We must know and pursue our organizational missions without wavering. But in the midst of that kingdom quest, let us never forget to invest in developing the very people God brought into our organizations to help achieve that mission. Let’s help our staff members to know and embrace their strengths. Let’s lead by example, with humility and from a servant’s heart. We must steward well the incredible talents of those we lead. As leaders or managers we don’t have all the answers. We need to empower others. We must listen to the God-given wisdom of those on our teams, and to humbly apply their insights in pursuing the organization’s goals.
I like the question that Joseph Maciariello asks: “Does your organization provide dignity, freedom, and equal opportunity to each of its members...?” We must empower those with whom we serve to flourish in becoming all God designed them to be. Doing so will strengthen them as individuals, it will strengthen your organization, and it will ultimately strengthen our society, as a whole.
THIS WEEK'S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY SCOTT BROWN:
W. Scott Brown, CCNL, Vice President, Leadership Experiences and Resources, Christian Leadership Alliance, manages CLA’s leadership experiences and resources, including the development of CLA’s educational content. He also serves as editor-in-chief of CLA’s national magazine, Outcomes. He’s an avid reader and learner and is passionate for excellence in Christian nonprofit leadership.
1. Pause to consider whether you’re investing deeply into the development of your team members. What could you do differently?
2. Pursue additional training in doing “people management and care” well—offered by organizations such as Christian Leadership Alliance.
3. Benchmark your performance in developing your people area through evaluations provided by organizations such as Best Christian Workplaces Institute.
4. Commit to helping your staff members understand their God-given design, and utilize their strengths in advancing the organization’s mission.
On August 3, 2015, Jim West will share his color commentary on Week 31’s topic, “The Succession Decision: Maintaining the Spirit of the Organization,” a two-week discussion on succession. Jim splits his time as managing partner and co-founder of The Barnabas Group and also serves as executive director of The Pocket Testament League.