The Guru's Guru. A lively

by Volker Weber

The Guru's Guru. A lively conversation with Peter Drucker, dean of the deep thinkers.

The father of management science speaks slowly, with a thick Austrian accent, and rarely leaves his chair. Unlike the many management gurus who came after him, he is no entertainer. But he is the one management guru whom everyone listens to -- from Jack Welch to Andy Grove.

While age has limited his ability to travel, Peter Drucker even at 91 maintains a yearlong calendar of teaching, consulting, writing, and speaking, usually via satellite or videotape. If a CEO seeks Drucker's counsel, he must make a pilgrimage to the sage's modest one-story home in Claremont, Calif. There, in a sunken glass-walled room with cool tile floors and a view of the pool, Drucker grills his subjects with questions and dispenses advice. (A recent entourage of senior executives from one of Europe's largest consumer-goods companies was so overflowing that some had to sit on the step leading into the living room.)

My favorite quote from the interview: "There is a 12th-century German proverb: 'Don't go near your prince unless he calls for you twice.' You go ahead and do things. You don't ask for permission because that implies the other fellow can say no."


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