Category Archives: impact

Drucker-Savvy “Leadership”

This week I will be participating in the Global Peter Drucker Forum (#GPDF17); dialoguing with speakers, participants and Drucker Challenge winners about the conference theme: Growth and Inclusive Prosperity. This is my third Drucker Forum and I am looking forward to learning and sharing insights with top management thinkers and practitioners: thought leaders, writers, consultants, CEOs, students, teachers and entrepreneurs.

I have written about the “cult of leadership” and I see it prevalent every day in organizations. My goal, this week, is to unpack more inclusive management practices as well as effective strategies for managing an organization in a world that is constantly changing. No geniuses, no “administration”, no so-called leaders; real human beings ensuring that real human beings can realize their full potential – and by extension their organization’s full potential – through solid yet iterative practices, processes and measurements.

My recent article for Forbes Mexico pulls ideas around social ecology, VUCA and the theme of the Drucker Forum together for a Latin American audience.

And growth and inclusion is really what needs to be talked about and implemented. Not just from “leaders” or “theorists” but as a question of  how we as managers and as organizational thinkers and doers can ensure that organizations don’t need geniuses or superhumans to manage it. Drucker said institutions  “must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.”

Human beings. That is what we are. Take away titles and offices and paycheques. We must find better solutions for growth and learning by more effectively connecting interests, harnessing opportunities in our complex, ambiguous, volatile and uncertain environment, and creating organizations & mechanisms that solve problems through a human centered approach that thrives on creation of value.

EMC

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Savvy Saturday October 21, 2017

Today’s savvy thought comes from Peter Drucker and from one of the objectives of the Founder of the Global Peter Drucker Forum, Richard Straub. As I prepare for the upcoming Forum in Vienna in just a few weeks, I am also pondering the theme of the Forum: Growth and Inclusive Prosperity.

Marketing is enthusiasm transferred to the customer.(2).png

 

 

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Savvy Saturday July 15th, 2017

la investigación y el desarrollo no son iguales a la innovación; que la innovación implica la capacidad de coordinar el aprendizaje a través de entidades y funciones distintas – EMC

R&D does not equal innovation; innovation implies the ability to coordinated learning across distinct entities and functions – EMC

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Managers as Myriad Actors

One of the fundamental questions raised during the Global Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna two years’ ago was what our actions will be, as managers, when facing the Great Transformation; in other words, when facing transformational changes that lie in the future for companies, governments and communities alike, what actions will we take today? Will we be one of what Richard Straub, President of the Drucker Society Europe, calls the “myriad actors” who shape the future and impact others or will we abstain from courageous and decisive action?

Peter Drucker talked about the role of managers as “the central resource, the generic distinctive, the constitutive organ of society…” and that managers’ actions are essentially a “public concern” because our survival as a society is “dependent on the performance, the competence, the earnestness and the values of their managers.” (Drucker: The Ecological Vision)

The conversation in Vienna re-examined management’s responsibility to society and humanity. One of the things that drew me to the work of Drucker over 15 years’ ago was his focus on human-centric organizations. And yet, today, we still see organizations more focused on short term profits for shareholders rather than a balance of long and short term value creation for all stakeholders including employees, community and society in general.

Are we doing enough to keep that balance? Many of the speakers did not think seem to think so. They cited studies showing that only 13% of employees around the world are engaged in their jobs (Gallup’s “State of The Global Workplace” report) and that 63% of 1000 corporate board members and C-suite executives surveyed by Mckinsey claim that pressure to generate strong short –term results has increased over the past five years. Clearly, we have a lot of work to do – to shape the future towards value creation for all stakeholders and unleashing the incredible creative and human potential of the people who work with us.

How might we do this? By being “myriad actors”; by looking for ways to shape the future, “see around corners” (as Forum speaker Nilofer Merchant said) and impact others in positive ways. Some organizations, for example, choose to connect leading edge technology and a commitment to improving the human condition (see HopeLab recipient of the Drucker Award for Non Profit Innovation). Others focus on improving employee engagement levels (see Telus, and Dan Pontefract’s work).

I don’t think management can be taught only in a management program; I think it’s a combination of art and edifice – and perhaps this is what Drucker was referring to when he defined management in The New Realities, as a liberal art: “’liberal’ because it deals with the fundamentals of knowledge, self-knowledge, wisdom, and leadership; ‘art’ because it is practice and application.”

We might not know exactly how the future will turn out or how it will shape our industry or impact our livelihoods but we can certainly act – in a myriad of ways – to ensure that we keep humans at the center of decision making within our organizations.

As Richard Straub states in “The Great Transformation” (EFMD Global Focus 2014), “Management is a real world practice of dealing with people and organizations. Managers can make all the difference in the world with their knowledge, their creativity, their emotions and their values.” Managers are myriad actors.

Esther M Clark

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A version of this blog post was published in 2014; two weeks following the Drucker Forum in Vienna.

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Savvy Saturday November 26, 2016

During this time of thanks and giving, I thought we would share this quote from Oprah Winfrey.

 

To move forward, you have to give back.

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The Ben Franklin Method

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin, founding father of the USA, was once a poor writer?

Now recognized as an important politician, inventor, scientist and writer, Franklin was not always this way. In fact, he considered himself a poor writer but took an active interest in improving his writing capabilities. The poems and articles authored by Franklin are the fruits of his labor; he worked on his storytelling skills by deconstructing and reconstructing what he considered “great writing.”

He did this by taking a magazine of the time – The Spectator (equivalent to the modern day The New Yorker), finding an article he liked and as he read the article he would highlight arguments and write down key points and data. When he was finished, he would write the article himself using the notes he had taken. Later, he would compare his article to the original and see where his writing was weak, where it was better and what writing conventions he needed to work on.

After much practice, he soon got “better” than the best articles and went on to write poetry, prose, rhetoric etc.

The moral? The Ben Franklin method works – if you want to get better, consider looking at the best and deconstructing then reconstructing the work of art, project, plan,…whatever it may be. The term “neurotic spreadsheeting” has been used to describe this method but the story of Ben Franklin is always sure to inspire us to take action in actively improving our storytelling or other skills.

-EMC

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Complexity and Education in Latin America

Last month I submitted an idea to the Inter American Development Bank on how to get students more “engaged” with education in Latin America. It’s my response to a troubling problem: nearly 1 out of every 2 young people in Latin America does not finish high school. You can find my idea to the IDB “Graduate XXI” competition here in English or in Spanish (choose Spanish option at top of page).

For me, education is the basis for building better societies, communities and businesses. It’s the foundation for us to convert our ideas into reality.

Would love to get your feedback as I have another interesting idea on designing a better education system which I will share with you soon!

EMC

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The Quinoa Grain as a Super Business Connector

quinoa

Those who live in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia know about quinoa. They know about it because they likely had to eat (willingly or unwillingly) quinoa soup or quinoa cakes at some point in their lives. The point is that quinoa – which South Americans see as nutritious and perhaps a little boring – is now making it in the mainstream food market in the US, Canada and EU.

It’s tasty, nutritious and gluten free. It’s fun to cook with. It’s great for your metabolisn. It’s organic.

With an increase in demand the alternative grain is becoming not-so-alternative anymore. 2013 has even been declared “Year of the Quinoa” by the United Nations. And recently the film idea “The Mother Grain” reached its funding goal on Kickstarter.

But what does quinoa have to do with business? More specifically, why does the title to my blog post describe quinoa as connecting business?

Innovation is about making unexpected connections between things. While quinoa may just be a grain it has enormous potential to solve some of the nutritional challenges we will be facing in the foreseeable future. It connects businesses because it is grown by community farmers but, very quickly, reaches a global community of people who love it and value it for its nutritional properties. It sits on high end retailer shelves but also fills the soup bowls of many South Americans.

Quinoa is an ancient alternative “mother grain” in the Andean region (mother in the sense that it is a nourishing grain that bestows great benefits to its users). It connects food, nutrition and metabolism. It also connects communities, families and businesses from Latin America to the world.

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TEDx Quito

I am so excited to be part of TEDxQuito “Dejar Huella” and looking forward to participating in my first TED this Friday in Quito.

Here is the link to the official website and a link to one of my favorite TED talks: Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action.

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