Letter from Claremont: July-August 2012
Peter Drucker once observed that “when we speak of communication . . . the most important limitations on perception are usually cultural and emotional.”
This great insight, we've come to realize, is one to which we ourselves have paid far too little attention.
Our fumbles and foibles in this area became obvious a couple of weeks ago when the Drucker Institute staff had the privilege of being led through a special workshop by renowned designer Ayse Birsel.
Ayse spent a day teaching us her design process, which she calls Deconstruction & Reconstruction, or De/Re. As Ayse explains, “De/Re is about breaking our preconceptions to free our minds to imagine an array of new hypothesis.”
In our case, we asked Ayse to help us reimagine “management.” It's not that we don't like the term. Peter Drucker, after all, is known as “the man who invented management.” But we're also painfully aware that when some people hear the word, they invariably think, “Boring!”
As we broke down “management,” we determined that there are four aspects to it: the intellectual, physical, spiritual and emotional. And over the course of the day, we realized that we're pretty good at talking about most of them. We can cite chapter and verse from Drucker's books (the intellectual). We can tell you how to take his principles and put them into practice (the physical). We can easily articulate how a functioning society depends on effective organizations, giving management a higher purpose (the spiritual).
Where we've been lacking is in tapping the emotional side of management: conveying the sense of pure joy (or, alternatively, the fear and anxiety) that good (or bad) management can bring. By recasting our work in this more human way—something we're going to concentrate on in the coming weeks—we hope to engage new audiences as well as deepen our relationships with those currently in our orbit.
In short, we aim to be a think tank that doesn't just capture your mind; we want to grab your heart, as well.
Rick Wartzman and Zach First Executive Director and Managing Director
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