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“Managing oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs. It requires new and unprecedented things from the individual, and especially from the knowledge worker. For, in effect, it demands that each knowledge worker think and behave as a chief executive officer. It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.”


–Peter F. Drucker

Peter Drucker recognized that we are living in a time characterized by rapid change, the likes of which we have never seen before. The lessons are clear: Keep up on your field or face obsolescence. Success in this era of a global knowledge society requires that one create his or her future rather than becoming a victim of change.


A good way to ensure that is to learn how to learn. As knowledge itself is becoming obsolete very rapidly, it is essential for knowledge workers to build on their capacity for learning through useful aids such as reading synoptically, which I have discussed before. This will help you trace a topic through multiple books by getting the questions clear and by imposing those questions on various authors.


Second, become an expert in using information technology to improve the effectiveness of using your time. Understand where to look for the information you need and how to gather the elements for fully understanding a subject. For example, to understand Drucker on social responsibility you must read all of his books dealing with the topic and see where he ended up, which in my opinion is defining “Good Capitalism” versus “Bad Capitalism”; recognizing the limits of government; and encouraging professional management in the social sector.


Next, stretch yourself to learn a subject you did not know before and by which you were intimidated.


Then finally, you will need to ask yourself essential questions such as, “Where am I likely to make my best and most satisfying contribution?” Seek areas outside your current organization to act on the answers. Try to achieve work-life balance when all of the pressures are running the other way.


Remember, wealthy people are not always happy people. So, be sure that you know the answer to “How much is enough?” Then try to fulfill the deepest longings of your nature.


All of this means that we should think like effective executives as we manage ourselves, and not limit that thinking only to how we manage our organizations.


—Joe Maciariello





  1. Something Ventured, Nothing Gained?

    If you feel the urge to pour your money into a venture-capital-backed, high-tech startup, you might first consider whether you’re better off playing a corner bet in roulette. The Wall Street Journal reported recently on research by a senior ...
    Date2012.11.22 Views7867 file
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  2. What Peter Drucker Would Be Reading

    Recent selections from around the web that, we think, would have caught Peter Drucker’s eye: 1. More Direct Reports Make Life Easier: How many direct reports should you take on? Traditionally, the accepted range among most professionals has ...
    Date2012.11.22 Views6330 file
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  3. If Self-Management Is Such a Great Idea, Why Aren’t More Companies Doing It?

    In his latest column for Forbes online, Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman writes about a recent visit to Morning Star, a tomato producer and processor described by Harvard Business Review as “the world’s most creatively mana...
    Date2012.11.22 Views4751 file
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  4. Eight is Enough

    Peter Drucker may not have been quite this rigid, but he would have been close. “We want to cut to the chase,” writes Kevin Starr in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “and the tool that works for us is the eight-word mission statement.”...
    Date2012.11.22 Views3642 file
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  5. Regarding the 47 Percent

    Who’s a maker and who’s a taker? That’s been the discussion of the week following the release of a video clip of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who told supporters that 47% of Americans would be voting for Barack Obama no mat...
    Date2012.11.22 Views6292 file
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  6. Why Eric Holder, Despite an Inspector General Report Clearing Him in the “Fast and Furious” Investigation, Still Failed the Test of Leadership

    “Captains are responsible for what happens on their watches.” — Peter F. Drucker, 1976
    Date2012.11.22 Views4669 file
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  7. There’s No Place Like Home

    Do it yourself, Home Depot said to Chinese customers. Go ___ yourself, said Chinese customers to Home Depot. Several years ago, when Home Depot set up 12 stores in China, it had high hopes of winning over Chinese to the joys of hands-on home...
    Date2012.11.22 Views4544 file
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  8. What Peter Drucker Would Be Reading

    Recent selections from around the web that, we think, would have caught Peter Drucker’s eye: 1. Phasing Out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Is It Being Done Responsibly? Not many of us have warm feelings for Freddie or Fannie, but they’ve been a...
    Date2012.11.22 Views4433 file
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  9. Joe’s Journal: On Learning How to Learn

    “Managing oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs. It requires new and unprecedented things from the individual, and especially from the knowledge worker. For, in effect, it demands that each knowledge worker think and behave as a chief ex...
    Date2012.11.22 Views5178 file
    Read More
  10. Competitive Edge

    Forget the recession. At least for a moment. According to Harvard Magazine, the “real problem, obscured by this acute, cyclical downturn, may be a long-term erosion of competitiveness in a more challenging global economic era.” The United St...
    Date2012.11.22 Views3864 file
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