Monday, April 14, 2014

Drucker & Me by Bob Buford

Bob Buford was a student of and close friend to Peter Drucker, “the father of modern management.” It began when Buford was 42 and managing the family enterprise. He was determined to become wealthy in the broadcasting business. He had resonated with Drucker's ideas about navigating the human side of enterprise so wrote him, asking for a consulting day. Drucker agreed and that was the beginning of a relationship that would last 23 years. Their discussions were not about the nuts and bolts of business but about character, vision, and responsibility.

Buford attempts to reveal the man behind the legend, a man who lived a principled life, loving his wife, his family, and his work. He gives us a bit of a biography of Drucker, intertwining it with some of Buford's own story. When Drucker came to the U.S. in 1937 he studied General Motors. He realized that corporations had to be effective and responsible if we are to have a functioning society. Management was the discipline that would be the way to get the best out of people – both for themselves and for others.

Buford tells of his own wake up call when he was confronted by his assistant. “My performance as president and CEO was becoming more important than my performance as a human being.” Wanting to make a difference in Christianity, he formed Leadership Network. Pastors of mega-churches attended seminars with Drucker. Drucker felt that religion, properly lived, was an essential element for a fully functioning society. Buford was also instrumental in forming the Drucker Foundation, initially to help train managers of nonprofits and then expanded to other leaders.

If you have not read Drucker at all, this book would be a good place to start. It really helps you understand the character of the man, giving the unique perspective of his role as a mentor.

Drucker's vision was of a fully functioning society. Buford encourages us to be a part of it by committing to making our neighborhoods and communities better.

You can find out more about Drucker's legacy at a daily blog called The Drucker Exchange, a monthly radio podcast, a biweekly column in Time magazine online, and at www.druckerinstitute.com. You can find out more about the Leadership Network at http://leadnet.org/.

Bob Buford is a graduate of the University of Texas and the Owner/President Management Program at Harvard Business School. Until the sale of his company in 1999 he was Chairman and CEO of Buford Television, Inc. He is the author of Halftime, a book about how to deal with the second half of life, and Finishing Well. He founded Leadership Network and spearheaded the efforts to launch The Drucker Institute. You can find out more about him at his website, www.ACTIVEenergy.net and on Twitter @bobbufordTX.

Worthy Publishing, 224 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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