Updating Drucker: “The most pressing task is to…”


Peter Drucker was the first, and probably the greatest, management guru. His work and thinking played a major role in shaping the modern corporation, with the first of his 39 books published in 1939 and the last in 2008, three years after his death.

Even back in the slow-moving twentieth century Drucker was already telling us that “the most pressing task” was to teach people how to learn. But now, with the rate of change increased so dramatically, I would argue that it is not enough to teach people how to learn. In a world that is changing so fast anything you learn from another person might have changed from the time and place when it was true.

In a world that is changing, the most pressing task today is to teach people how to teach themselves.

This means teaching people how to lead themselves: how to identify what matters most them and choose a direction to move forwad, how to create an inspiring vision that maintains their motivation, and how to make a plan when all around is changing.

If the most pressing task of the late 20th century was to teach people how to learn, the most pressing task now is to teach people how to lead: to lead both themselves and others.

The Churning is a set of tools for teaching yourself to lead in times of change: both inner leadership (managing inspiration) and outer leadership (getting results):

  • Chapters 1-3 of inner leadership are about identifying our options. Chapter 4 is about choosing the way forward that is best for us. 
  • Chapters 5-7 of inner leadership are about inspiring others to go with us in the direction we have chosen. Outer leadership is then about implementation: building an organisation that adapts like a living organism in a changing environment.
  • Every chapter contains tools and exercises that enable us to teach ourselves what the material means to us as individuals, and apply it to our specific situation.

The Churning is a handbook for teaching ourselves to lead ourselves and others.

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