Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Ninth Peter F. Drucker Management Forum

On the 18th of September, my school sent me to the ninth Peter F. Drucker Management Forum in Xi’an, China. I applied to go to this forum as I had read some of Drucker’s work during my graduate studies. I was particularly influenced by his writing on the knowledge worker. Drucker foresaw the current age where the ability to gain knowledge is one of the most important skills we need to have.

The opening remarks at the forum were by Joan D. Winstein, Drucker's daughter. She explained that the purpose of the conference was to look into the essence of management, to look at managerial problems and to share ways the problems have been solved.

Intersection of Management as a Liberal Art - Photo by Brian Lalor

The first speaker was Michael Isakson, who is the Service Master COO. His approach is to honor his staff at all levels. Mr. Isakson believes that the way employees are treated is one of the keys to successful business. To honor God in all things is the ultimate goal of Mr. Isakson’s business. This was quite refreshing to hear. The goal of every business is to grow profitably. This comes from the pursuit of excellence, which comes from helping people develop and this in turn from honoring God in all we do.

The next speaker was Moon Kook Hyuh, who was the CEO for Yuhan-Kimberly. He shared about a difficult time in their business when Procter and Gamble entered the Korean market. At that time, Yuhan-Kimberley’s market dropped dramatically and union leaders came asking for severance pay. Mr. Moon focused his business on the local population and tailored products to suit the Korean market, which proved to be an extremely successful strategy. 

Mr. Moon stressed the importance of giving back to the community. In his business, giving back meant planting large areas of trees. This environmental focus was an example of seeing a problem as an opportunity.

Photo by Brian Lalor 

Joseph A. Maciariello was the final speaker I heard. He wrote the book, “Drucker’s Lost Art of Management”. He quoted Drucker saying that, “leadership cannot be taught but it can be learned”. I thoroughly believe this statement. He said the man who created the backpack for one of the Apollo missions came up from the shop floor. He studied at night. Mr. Maciariello discussed the importance of harmony and rhythm throughout your life.

Management as a liberal art was what Peter Drucker believed. Values and ethics must be intertwined with business. Mr. Maciariello believed sacrificing an individual talent to be necessary for a team to flourish. The best people working as a team is the key to success. The right chemistry can only be developed by right leadership decisions.

To sum up the conference, I would say caring for the environment and the importance of those serving us were key themes. Are we treating others with dignity and value? This was the question the speakers were asking us.