#109: 5 Management Lessons From Peter Drucker

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This is a podcast episode titled, #109: 5 Management Lessons From Peter Drucker. The summary for this episode is: If you liked this episode, we bet that you’ll love our blog content. blog.drift.com/#subscribe Subscribe to never miss a post & join the 20,000+ other pros committed to getting better every day. ----- Peter Drucker is the OG of management. If you’ve seen or heard a great management or leadership lesson in the last 100 years, chances are it started with Drucker — and his book Managing Oneself is one that DC passed down to DG to revisit yearly. So on this episode of Seeking Wisdom, we’re breaking down five management lessons from Peter Drucker from his book "The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done." This book has stood the test of time and has everything you need as a manager to be able to grow and be an effective leader. As DC says on this episode: “It’s all in this book right here. You don’t need any other book. If you want to lead people, it’s all here." Tweet at as: @dcancel and @davegerhardt And if you loved this episode, we’d love a 6 star (ONLY) review on iTunes.

Speaker 1: Ladies and gentlemen, we're back.

Speaker 2: We are back.

Speaker 1: It's been a minute since we've talked about a book.

Speaker 2: What do you got there?

Speaker 1: A book. I have crosstalk I can't do the intro. This is... You handed these out.

Speaker 2: Yes.

Speaker 1: To management team.

Speaker 2: Yeah.

Speaker 1: At Drift.

Speaker 2: Yes.

Speaker 1: So I'm going to. crosstalk I can't. You do the intro.

Speaker 2: Okay. So, there are a couple of books that I come back to over and over again. One of those books that I recommend and that I read every few years, is a different book by the same author here. And if you can see, the name of this author is Peter F. Drucker. If you listen to past podcast that we had with Patrick, and it's not Druker, it is Drucker. And the book that I always hand out and give out to everyone here is called Managing Oneself. This book here that we're going to review today is called The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done. And this has everything you need as a manager to be able to grow and to be an effective leader. It's all in this book right here. You know what? You don't need any other books. If you want to lead people, there's no other books you need. It's all in this book right here. And many of those other books that you may read are entertaining, but they all come from this book. They come from the master, Peter F. Drucker. And so, the little homie here, the young nephew here has some stuff highlighted in here. So, we're ready to set it off. Get into Peter Drucker crosstalk.

Speaker 1: It's been a minute, and I think, honestly, not to hype up Seeking Wisdom. I think that's the best part is, this is actionable stuff. This is what happened behind the scenes. You handed out this book, and we're going to give that all away. So, I got notes.

Speaker 2: And I handed out another book today.

Speaker 1: You did hand out another book today. I got a lot of books. Lot of books. And I got about two... What night was that? Tuesday night, I got a text message, picture of a book, at like 10: 00 PM, about you slipping. This is the headline. So, it's not just that we need to have a talk about these. This is real. There's a reason these books stay on the desk and they're highlighted because we reference them. And wait, this is unrelated.

Speaker 2: One day, I think I'm going to release a book that are just my messages to DG.

Speaker 1: What do you mean? That's my book. crosstalk That's after Drift. That's after Drift. That's my next path.

Speaker 2: 10:18 PM.

Speaker 1: I don't know if you see this. Don't zoom in because there's sensitive stuff on here, but not only are we into books, you're on this crusade to bring pen and paper-

Speaker 2: Back.

Speaker 1: Back. crosstalk Can you hear this? Listen to this.

Speaker 2: I handed out custom made here, Drift kind of junior size legal pad. So it's kind of a half size legal pad. Little Drift logo on the corner there, and I gave one of the first copies over to young DG.

Speaker 1: You're bringing pen and paper back. The first draft. DC sent out this internal Drift letter to shareholders this year for the first time. The first draft of it was handwritten.

Speaker 2: Handwritten.

Speaker 1: I love it.

Speaker 2: Never happened. I blew the nephew's mind there.

Speaker 1: It was amazing. I loved it. All right. So there's five lessons. This episode's going to be called Five Lessons From Peter Drucker, something like that. So there's five things. I'll do what we usually do. I'll read my notes and you'll give some commentary on them. So, number one is number one thing, it's five things. Number one is that effective executives know where their time goes. Okay. So it has a whole chapter. Know thy time. Just initial reaction, while I pull up my notes. What does that mean? Like they know their time.

Speaker 2: It's all about being proactive about the time that you have. I had a realization the other day, and you're not going to believe this thing. And I tell you the discovery that you won't believe.

Speaker 1: I'll believe it.

Speaker 2: Okay. You ready?

Speaker 1: Oh, yeah.

Speaker 2: What do you and Elon Musk have in common?

Speaker 1: Me.

Speaker 2: Yeah. crosstalk There's something that you have in common.

Speaker 1: Oh, I don't know.

Speaker 2: It's not that he wears black t- shirts, which DG is wearing today. crosstalk He may wear a black t- shirt.

Speaker 1: I have no idea. And I read his book.

Speaker 2: Elon Musk, the creator of... How many companies does he run now there?

Speaker 1: Three. crosstalk

Speaker 2: Three companies, Boring Company, Tesla and SpaceX. Elon Musk and DG both have 24 hours in a day.

Speaker 1: I thought you were going to compliment me. I thought this is going to be something.

Speaker 2: Come on. Let's not get crazy. Okay.

Speaker 1: I love it.

Speaker 2: So, young DG has some notes in this book here that we're going to read, Elon Musk is running three companies at the same time.

Speaker 1: It's crazy.

Speaker 2: And what's the same thing between the two of them? They both have 24 hours in a day. Right? And my point is, when it comes to managing your time, some people can change the world in 24 hours, like Elon Musk.

Speaker 1: Totally.

Speaker 2: Some people can change their shirt in 24 hours. Right?

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Speaker 2: It's the same-

Speaker 1: And I think the core of this is he says he asks this question. He says," The question you have to ask yourself is, what would happen if this were not done at all? And if the answer is nothing would happen, then obviously you have to stop doing that thing." And to me, that's what this is about. It's like the ruthless prioritization, like what would happen if we didn't do that one thing. And that's liberating. A lot of people just get caught up in that. It's liberating to be like nothing.

Speaker 2: Nothing. Okay. So, get rid of it.

Speaker 1: Focus on the big rocks. That's where this stuff comes from.

Speaker 2: It's all about first principles. It's all about big rocks. And it's all about one thing. Focusing on that one-

Speaker 1: This could be a DC line, and I love this. He says," It's amazing how many things busy people are doing that will never be missed."

Speaker 2: I love that.

Speaker 1: Right?

Speaker 2: That is a DC line. I may have gotten many of my lines crosstalk.

Speaker 1: I actually have a lot of personal notes in here about you.

Speaker 2: I love that.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Speaker 2: Which is great. That would be the biggest compliment ever, is if you said most of my stuff that I say is I've gotten from Peter Drucker, because that's the whole point. The whole point is, the only shortcut, and we mentioned this in the past, is learning from others. So yeah, if I'm learning from others like Peter Drucker, man, I'm happy. If I'm learning those lessons the hard way and coming to the same realizations when they were right there in that book, then that's not that good.

Speaker 1: Yeah. One more thing on the know thy time, this know thy time chapter, he talks about just looking for patterns. Was there something that you talk about all the time? And he says a crisis, when you're looking at things that happen, a crisis that recurs a second time as a crisis that must not never occur again. Right? How many times have you had to tell me that, or had other conversations like-

Speaker 2: Every day.

Speaker 1: If it comes up twice, then what are-

Speaker 2: Then we fail.

Speaker 1: Then we fail.

Speaker 2: It's okay if it came up the first time. It's okay if we made a mistake, we missed something. But if it keeps reoccurring the same pattern over and over, then the flaw is not in that mistake itself. The flaw is in the management of that, and the fact that we're letting that happen over and over and not learning.

Speaker 1: This book was written in the early, probably the mid- 1900s.

Speaker 2: You should throw it away then. Right?

Speaker 1: It's probably not worth it.

Speaker 2: Burn it.

Speaker 1: But the biggest thing he said," The biggest time waster often results from over staffing. The two-"

Speaker 2: Are you throwing bombs at me?

Speaker 1: I'm throwing bombs at you. The problem is usually too big or too small, but he says," A workforce may indeed be too small for the task, and then the work suffers if it gets done at all. But this is not the rule. Much more common is the workforce that's too big for effectiveness. The workforce that spends therefore an increasing amount of time interacting rather than working."

Speaker 2: Exactly.

Speaker 1: Most people would say to you," I don't have enough people."

Speaker 2: Exactly. And when you say no, reduce the problem. This is why we believe in the small distributed teams approach and keeping the team small, a. k. a. what Jeff Bezos calls the two pizza team rule that he has at Amazon, keeping those teams small, because adding more people to the mix almost never solves the problem faster. Instead it creates more process, more meetings, more overhead, and actually slows the entire thing now. And there it was. Peter Drucker, whenever he wrote that book, before the two pizza rule, before you heard it from DC, before you ever read it anywhere else, Peter Drucker had it in that book.

Speaker 1: It's the same thing. So that's the first part. That's number one, is really understanding your time. Number two is, he says," Effective executives focus on outward contribution."

Speaker 2: It's all about the results.

Speaker 1: The results.

Speaker 2: It's all the results.

Speaker 1: That's it.

Speaker 2: I love when people put in the effort, but it's not about effort. It's about results. And those results can be gotten by just brute forcing your way or actually having a smarter approach.

Speaker 1: Well, we talk about that a lot. It's like everybody's work with that person who, they're always at work. They work super hard, right? Now that person can't not be any good at their job. They're here 12 hours a day, right? But, that's exactly what this chapter is. It's not the same thing.

Speaker 2: It's not the same thing. And I'm all about, and I often talk about working hard and I do that because that is the basic thing that you need to get to do, which most people fail to do. And when I do that, people bring up," Oh, it's not about working hard. It's about working smarter." Did you know that, DC? And it's like," Yeah, that's obvious." Obviously we need to work smart. Obviously what I'm saying, work hard. I'm not saying work dumb, and not to think about what you're doing. The key is to do both of those things, right? To work hard and to work smart. But in the end, the way that you measure success is not in the effort, but in the results.

Speaker 1: I think the other thing that's a key piece of this, as he talks about, as an executive, as a manager, you're always asking this one question," What can I contribute?" And that's not personally to you, it's to the organization. Right? And that's everything you've talked about.

Speaker 2: Yeah, exactly. Because that's a servant- leadership approach, right? Which is your job as a manager is to serve your team and serve the organization. And that's the question you should be asking, not what you can provide, but what can you provide others in order for them to be effective?

Speaker 1: You said the best executives typically ask this," What are the contributions for which this organization and I, your superior, should hold you accountable? What should we expect of you? What's the best utilization of your knowledge and your ability?" And then communication becomes possible. It becomes easy, right? If everybody's having that conversation with each other," Here's what I expect of you. What do you expect of me?" Great.

Speaker 2: And how were you feeling when you were reading this book? Because you were reading this recently.

Speaker 1: I feel the same way when... You're good at recommending books that fit in a certain point in my life, I think. And so, the reason I have so many highlights in this, I didn't learn a single new thing in this book. I highlight everything because it's all relatable. This is exactly right. Yes. This is the thing. Yeah. I do need to ask those conversations. Yes. That is what DC or whoever is usually asking of me. That's why, I think this is where... The nonfiction is all about things that you already know the answers to, but it's articulated in a way that is... I think the fact that this was 80 plus years old, makes it even more relevant.

Speaker 2: Exactly. Maybe we are really articulate in a way that you hadn't thought before, and maybe given you a framework to organize these things that you may already know.

Speaker 1: A hundred percent.

Speaker 2: Put them into context.

Speaker 1: All right. Number four. Oh, this is number three, but chapter four in this book is, making strength productive. To me, this is crosstalk. When you first put me on Drucker two years ago, you gave me Managing Oneself, which is the first book that you said it's about-

Speaker 2: Because first, you must learn to manage yourself.

Speaker 1: You have to manage oneself. Yeah. And that is 30 pages long. And the number one thing that stood out for me in that book, which is this lesson, which is basically summed up is, make strength productive. Double down on your strengths versus focus on your weaknesses.

Speaker 2: Something we talk about all the time within Drift, and we've talked about for years, which is just this idea of shortening up your weaknesses versus doubling down on your superpowers. First, identifying your superpower, then doubling down on your superpower. And that's what this is about, which is leaning into your core strengths, making them a super strength, and then augmenting around you with people who are equally strong in other dimensions that you are weak, because that is-

Speaker 1: This is the most important thing to me. And this is what, until we had this conversation, I always thought I need to be well- rounded, right? I'm a marketing person. I need to know the full stack. I need to know everything. And it's like, no, this is... And his whole thing is it's easier to take someone who's pretty good at something and turn them into an all- star than it is to take somebody who has no competency in something and turn them into okay.

Speaker 2: Definitely. And I mean, you need look no further than sports, which I care about zero. But, it wouldn't make any sense in any sport, whether it's basketball, football, whatever sport you like. I like tennis, but this metaphor doesn't work for that. But, for everyone to have exactly the same skill, right? So if everyone was the quarterback, if everyone wanted to be Tom Brady, that's not a team, right? They probably couldn't score very well. inaudible to throw the ball. Same thing. If everyone wanted to be able to be great at every position, it wouldn't work as well. You have specialties, and people are specialized in that thing, and together they form a cohesive team.

Speaker 1: He said," To make strength productive is the unique purpose of organization. It can't, of course, overcome the weakness with which each of us is abundantly endowed, but it can make them irrelevant." Right? So if you're so good at the thing that you're good at, it doesn't matter if you're not good at those three other things. I mean, what's the point of me like," Go, you need to go get this book. You need to go get this book." The other thing though, that's worth mentioning is that, and you've said this a bunch," The strength piece, strong people always have strong weaknesses."

Speaker 2: Yes.

Speaker 1: "And you have to come to accept that." Yes. Say that more. It's usually the same.

Speaker 2: It's the same. Well, we always talk about in terms of, superpower is your super weakness. Whatever your superpower is, it is also the thing that you're the most weak at.

Speaker 1: Give me an example. Let's use Ileus. Let's talk about Ileus.

Speaker 2: Perfect.

Speaker 1: Okay.

Speaker 2: I can talk about him all day.

Speaker 1: What's his superpower? Tell me how his superpower is also his weakness.

Speaker 2: Yeah. His superpower is that... So he's very extroverted, and because of that, his superpower is that, he likes to talk to people. He likes to jump in the middle, be in the middle of chaos and try to bring order to chaos. Right? And that's amazing. But that same superpower of having that strength in that context is also his weakness. Right? Because he does not naturally have the capacity to stay in his head or to not maybe want to turn every situation into a chaotic one where then he can jump in.

Speaker 1: Right.

Speaker 2: Right? And so, it becomes his super weakness. And so we all have this. Your strength might be, whatever it is. It might be around writing, and so, that's great. But it also turns into weakness because it might lead you to neglect certain other things that you can't do well. Right? So the superpower is always the super weakness.

Speaker 1: Other thing on hiring for strengths, he says the biggest mistake is that most people hire to fill a job, not place a person, which to me is why we focus so much on predictive index personality types.

Speaker 2: Yeah. And also where we've focused for so long on hiring people versus trying to fill a specific role. Right? Because people are usually doing exactly what Drucker said, which is trying to fill a job description versus looking for the right role for a specific person, right? A person that might be... Because the 10 X people, the people who are capable of being 10 X people are almost never going to fit into some pre- conceived job description that you have. Right? And those are the ones that you're going to have to take big bets on.

Speaker 1: Yeah. I think you need to repeat that. That's a really important lesson.

Speaker 2: Yeah.

Speaker 1: Think back to some of the biggest impact people that you've maybe hired at Drift. Right? Most of them were not... We have a job rec open. We're trying to fill this role. We found them.

Speaker 2: Yes.

Speaker 1: Right?

Speaker 2: Almost never. Almost never. So in my career, most of the people who have been the 10 X, 100 X kind of return people have been people that, I don't know, something was off. They didn't fit in maybe the role that we were looking for.

Speaker 1: Or we say it to you all the time. You're like," Team, I want you to meet with so- and- so," and everyone immediately messaged you. And you're like," Yeah, but, DC, what's the role?" And you're like," There is no role."

Speaker 2: Yeah. I don't know what the role is.

Speaker 1: That's the point.

Speaker 2: The point is that this person, there's something about this person that looks like they have 10 X capabilities. There may not be any role for them, but let's talk to them and figure out if we can build a role around this person. Because usually those people who are 10 X aren't coming in through the normal process and aren't fitting into the normal role, right? There's something off about them. There's something where we just hired someone who we think might be a 10 X potential, who's helping us out on... I can't mention, otherwise they would know who it is, but someone we just mentioned, someone that we just hired. But his background, we weren't sure about. We didn't want sure if we had this role right now. We didn't know, but we took a bat. Elise met him and then I met him and we hired him. He's on the team now. We took a bat because we think that there might be this 10 X potential.

Speaker 1: Totally. All right. Two more. Number four, effective executives concentrate on the few major areas where superior performance will produce outstanding results.

Speaker 2: Focus, focus, focus.

Speaker 1: A.k. a. big rocks.

Speaker 2: Big rocks.

Speaker 1: It's why you made everybody read the one thing. It's why crosstalk

Speaker 2: Yeah. Still do. So, focus, focus, focus, because the... And I had this conversation this week with a friend, which made me think about this. The big things that... Usually, we're going through the scaling right now. Right? Trying to scale the company and the team, and most of the time, you can try to do two things at once, scale and optimize, which is it hard or impossible, or you can focus on, most of the people are going to be focused on scaling, repeating exactly what we did in the past that was working.

Speaker 1: Yes.

Speaker 2: And then a small group could be experimenting at the same time. But you can't have the people who are trying to scale and repeat, also experiment at the same time. Because it's all about focus. Focus. Focus.

Speaker 1: I think for the to- do list people out there, the list makers, I'm one of them, you might write five things down. There's always one thing, that if you get that one thing done in the day, that's going to 10 X your day. There's always one.

Speaker 2: Yeah.

Speaker 1: All right. Number five. Number five, this is the fifth one. One, two, three, four, five. Effective executives finally make effective decisions. You know what his big point in this chapter was?

Speaker 2: Yeah. Tell me.

Speaker 1: Two words. No consensus.

Speaker 2: Woo. Are you serious?

Speaker 1: Serious.

Speaker 2: Get out of here.

Speaker 1: So that's his big thing, right? Effective decision is all about no consensus.

Speaker 2: No consensus.

Speaker 1: I don't think I could tee you up for anything better than no consensus. crosstalk

Speaker 2: That's one of our principles here. So we have eight leadership principles at Drift today, in 2018. There may be more in the future, and one of them is called no consensus. Right? And so we talk about that one internally about, we want people... Again, because we want 10 X, we want to be able to do the ideas that are going to really move the company forward. Those are usually the ones that can't be created by consensus, and consensus regresses us back to just good enough, usually. Something that everyone can agree upon, the least offensive option. And so we have this. We believe in this so much that this is one of our leadership principles here within Drift. No consensus. Pick a directly responsible individual, a. k. a. DRI. Let her or him make the decision, take responsibility, and have the autonomy inaudible to make that decision and move forward.

Speaker 1: In the book, he's talking about General Motors. In 1935, a key piece of their strategy was basically this idea of decentralized decision making. Big decisions were made by one person, fully autonomous.

Speaker 2: That's a giant car manufacturer. And just in case Amy was wondering, I was not born in 1935.

Speaker 1: I thought you had... I thought he had his first company.

Speaker 2: Yeah. In 1935. I did'32.

Speaker 1: So that is five lessons from Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive. Everything you need to know about management, leadership, business, in this one book.

Speaker 2: What do you think of these Drift stickers right here?

Speaker 1: I love them. I'm trying to get these off my laptop.

Speaker 2: The old ones?

Speaker 1: To put the new one on.

Speaker 2: Okay. I'll give you a secret later. But before I give him that secret, open up that podcast app. Leave us that little fi-

Speaker 1: What? That's how you know he's sick.

Speaker 2: I'm slipping.

Speaker 1: How many?

Speaker 2: Six stars.

Speaker 1: Six.

Speaker 2: Little six star review there. I was slipping a little bit, and leave a little note for Amy, or for Dave, or for myself if you want, in there. Maybe a poem.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Speaker 2: Maybe a haiku.

Speaker 1: Yeah. You know what, DC, let's send the people some copies of this.

Speaker 2: Why don't we do that?

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Speaker 2: So leave a comment, and we'll select comments that are left after this episode, and we'll be sending you a copy. Peter Drucker's The Effective Executive.

Speaker 1: Yeah. So leave a review. Mention this book.

Speaker 2: Six star only.

Speaker 1: We'll hook you up.

Speaker 2: Okay.

Speaker 1: We'll send you a swag pack with copies of this book, for you and your team.

Speaker 2: And right after you leave that review, go to the Hyper- Growth site. What was the URL again?

Speaker 1: hypergrowth. drift. com

Speaker 2: hypergrowth.drift.com. Seeking Wisdom. Promo code. Sign up now. Get there. Because you know what's going to happen just like last year.

Speaker 1: Going to sell out.

Speaker 2: Sell out. People are going to hit me up weeks before," Yo, DC. You got any more tickets? I want to bring my team down."

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Speaker 2: "Yo,you got tickets?"

Speaker 1: No, act now.

Speaker 2: Act now. We got two venues, San Francisco or Boston. You choose. inaudible See ya.


If you liked this episode, we bet that you’ll love our blog content. blog.drift.com/#subscribe Subscribe to never miss a post & join the 20,000+ other pros committed to getting better every day. ----- Peter Drucker is the OG of management. If you’ve seen or heard a great management or leadership lesson in the last 100 years, chances are it started with Drucker — and his book Managing Oneself is one that DC passed down to DG to revisit yearly. So on this episode of Seeking Wisdom, we’re breaking down five management lessons from Peter Drucker from his book "The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done." This book has stood the test of time and has everything you need as a manager to be able to grow and be an effective leader. As DC says on this episode: “It’s all in this book right here. You don’t need any other book. If you want to lead people, it’s all here." Tweet at as: @dcancel and @davegerhardt And if you loved this episode, we’d love a 6 star (ONLY) review on iTunes.