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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look ahead and act to transform challenges in opportunities, 25 Oct 2002
This is the invitation made by Peter F. Drucker in his book: Management challenges for the 21st century. The author writes: "Reading this book will upset and disturb a good many people, as writing it disturbed me" and "It is a very different book from the one I originally envisaged". These two sentences explain that the pressure of the future is so already with us that ideas coming to the author had difficulties to organize on the paper. But this stressing environment gives one of the best book of Peter F. Drucker with issues not to be ignored by knowledge-workers and executives who will have to work on them to make sure to be among the leaders of tomorrow.
In the 2 first chapters, we are sharing ideas from the Management's assumptions, which are no more valid in the "New Economy" to The New Certainties on which very few organizations and very few executives are working on and are invited to a call for action in front of a period of a profound transition.
In Chapter 3, Peter F. Drucker is describing, the Change leader, which mission will not be to manage change, because it is not possible to manage change, but to be ahead of it. Different recommendations are given, but the more important one is piloting the change to permanently test reality. If making the future is highly risky, it is less risky than not trying to make it in a period of upheavals, such as the one we are living in.
In chapter 4, the author convinces us that IT Information Technology has to move from the T to the I. That means that Technology as such is not the concern of executives when Information is. It is true that executives did not get always, with the Information Technologies Revolution, the Information they need for acting. But Information requires also to move from internal information to external Information, because strategy is mainly based on the last one. Information being the key resource for knowledge workers asks to be organized at individual and group level to anticipate and avoid surprises in front of significant events and to prepare for action.
In chapter 5, after discovering that the main contribution of management in the 20th century was the fifty-fold increase of productivity of the manual-worker in manufacturing, we are presented the challenge for the 21st century as being the increase of knowledge-worker productivity. The move there is from quantity measurement to quality measurement of an agreed defined task of a knowledge-worker, which is part of a growing population in developed countries. Knowledge-workers, owning their means of production, the knowledge between their ears, are becoming assets instead of costs. And if costs need to be controlled and reduced, assets need to be made to grow. This means a change of attitude of management but also of corporation governance who have to find balance between the interests of shareholders and knowledge-workers contributing to the wealth of the organization.
In the final chapter, we are presented the impact of all previous evolutions on the individual knowledge-worker, who will have to manage himself in this new environment. This is a real revolution in mentalities due to two new realities: workers are likely to outlive organizations, and the knowledge worker has mobility the manual-worker did not have. Partnership is becoming an answer to these changes with all the consequences for the individual who has to ask himself: "what should be my contribution" and "where and how can I have results that make a difference", yes a real revolution already there.
Management Challenges for the 21st Century is giving the basics to enter the period of profound transition we know with the arrival of the "New Economy" and will make the difference for the people who read this book. We really have to thank Peter F. Drucker for this important contribution at the age of 90, a masterpiece after more than sixty years devoted to management development.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be ready to be shocked and enlightened, 21 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Every professional will wish to be able to write a book of such high quality at age 90. There is nothing to be found that is "old hat". He makes some "shocking" predictions about the future. The retirement age will rise to 79, which incredibly but true, is the same age as sixty-five was in 1936 considering the increase in life expectancy. Another remarkable insight is that we are experiencing an information revolution not because of computers but because of printing. There are two leading print companies Bertelsmann and Rupert Murdoch that have grown at least as fast as Microsoft. Publishers of speciality mass magazines have grown even faster. To more than three thousand in the USA! This despite the prediction that TV would kill off books and magazines. There are some very useful points on the information managers require to strategise and manage. Intelligible information about what is happening outside the company is becoming more important than information about what happens inside. On governance he asks what does "Capitalism" means when Knowledge governs rather than Money? One consequence is that management must both satisfy the legal owners, such as shareholders and satisfy the owners of the human capital that gives the organisation its wealth- producing power, that is the knowledge-workers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Penetrating Insights from the Master Management Philosopher, 24 May 2008
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A. O. P. Akemu "Ona" (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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I was introduced to Peter Drucker by my brother, who is a student of organisational behaviour. Like any engineering student I approached Drucker's thought with skepticism because I believed that organizations and human behaviour, unlike the laws of nature, are so complex that they do not lend themselves to the glib deterministic rules that management theorists propound. The thoughts of Peter Drucker, as expounded in this book, are prescient, apt and broad-ranging to address today's management challenges.

This book is not so much a list of do's and don'ts of management or organisational theory as it is Drucker's reflections on some of the challenges that workers in developed countries shall face in the next half century. He takes on six issues arranged in six different chapters. The first five chapters deal with the issues that shall determine organizational strategies such as:

- The declining birth rate in the developed world: This will have tremendous social and political consequences, as it is without precedent in the modern era. Therefore, organisations' strategy must take demographics into account
- Global competitiveness: No institution, whether business or NGO can succeed unless it measures up to the leaders in its field, anywhere in the world. It shall no longer be possible to base a business or countries' success on the availability of cheap labour.
- Distribution of disposable income : businesses will have to base their strategy on their knowledge of, and adaption to the changes in, disposable income

In the last chapter, which is to my mind the most perceptive, Professor Drucker shares his thoughts on the productivity of the knowledge worker and the increased importance of managing oneself. He argues that, just as the improvement in the productivity of the manual industrial worker was the key to emergence and wealth of the developed West and East Asia in the 20th century, the improvement of the productivity of the knowledge worker will be pivotal in the 21st century if the West is to maintain its economic position. He observes that the knowledge worker will have to manage him/herself in the future instead of waiting for the human resources department of his/her organisation. He also argues that, in order to perform at their best, knowledge workers must know themselves and to plan for the second half of their lives (due to longer life expectancies) by asking the following questions:

- Who am I? What are my strengths?
- How do I perform?
- In what organisation do I belong? What is my contribution?

The message in the last chapter hit close to home. As one in the early stages of a knowledge career, I found Drucker's thoughts to be perspicacious, clear and penetrating.

One small snag though: I thought his writing was clear - most of the time. Sometimes, whole words were written in capital letters. Perhaps, he did this to emphasize the importance of the idea under discussion. However, the effect was to put me off. I thought it was a bit rude to SHOUT at the reader. I am sure that most people who take the time to read Professor Drucker's works need not be shouted at. Professor Drucker also argued that the retirement would be raised to 79 from the current 65 in most Western countries. My thoughts while reading that chapter were, "What would the strike-happy French railway workers think about that one?"

In conclusion, the book is a mine of ideas on the future of organisations and knowledge workers in the developed world. I found it to be a stimulating and engaging read. It deserves my 4 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars PETER DRUCKER'S FINEST WORK FOR YOU, FOR ACTION TODAY!, 29 April 1999
By A Customer
MANAGEMENT CHALLEGES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY is a breakthrough work. Through 6 astonishing essays, Professor Drucker sets the agenda for the next 50 years, for every organization and individual on the planet. He begins by pointing out that the way most people think about management is all wrong, and immediately needs to be changed. He outlines the needed changes. He then picks the key strategy issues that will strongly affect all organizations for the next 50 years. Next, he points out that we live in turbulent times and that one must lead the changes that one's organization must make faster than the competition. There is no choice, except to fail to survive. From there, he points out that we have information TECHNOLOGY, but very little information worth looking at on the devices the technology brings us. He goes on to define what must be done to create the right information. In a remarkable section, he then tells how to create knowledge worker productivity (something he has said in the past that no one knows how to do). Finally, he provides a remarkable essay on how to get the most out of yourself, for yourself. These essays were previewed in leading publications, and substantially improved from the originals. There is no repetition of his work and thinking from earlier books. This is like finding a whole new Peter Drucker. I especially loved the new examples that he included, as well as his historical references that only Peter Drucker can make. YOU ARE MAKING A BIG MISTAKE IF YOU FAIL TO BUY, READ, AND APPLY THE IMPORTANT LESSONS OF THIS BOOK. If you read only one book by Peter Drucker, read this one!!! I was especially pleased to see that he addressed the stalls that delay organizational progress such as the old habits reinforced by tradition, unwillingness to address the new through disbelief, poor communications at all levels (he states the rules that you must follow to be a better communicator and be more effective), needless interactions fostering mindless bureaucracy, the temptation to procrastinate (standing still in front of a truck about to run you over is a mistake you will not repeat), avoiding the unattractive key issues of your organiztion (he recommends doing the dirty jobs yourself for several weeks a year in order to understand how to improve), and failing to set high standards. As always, the book is filled with powerful questions that you can answer for yourself in order to accomplish much, much more and feel great while you do so. Read and apply the lessons of this book and you will have many more 2,000 percent solutions (achieving 20 times the usual results with the same resources or getting the same results 20 times faster). I feel honored and delighted to have received an advance copy of this remarkable book from Professor Drucker.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT BOOK ON THE FUTURE OF SOCIETY, 12 Jan 2000
First published in Forbes magazine, California Management Review and Harvard Business Review, the six chapters in this book contain nothing that is an excerpt from Peter Drucker's earlier management books. Indeed, this book supplements Drucker's many earlier management books by looking ahead to the future of management thinking and practice.
At 90, Peter Drucker is, by all accounts, the most enduring management thinker of our time. Born in Vienna, educated in Austria and England, he has worked since 1937 in the United States, first as an economist for a group of British banks and insurance companies, and later as a management consultant to several leading companies. Drucker has since had a distinguished career as a teacher, including more than twenty years as Professor of Management at the Graduate Business School of New York University. Since 1971 he has been Marie Rankin Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management, Claremont Graduate University in California, where he still teaches in the fields of management and business policy.
With a long-term business perspective second to none, Drucker's books span sixty years of modern history beginning with The End of Economic Man (1939) and Managing in a Time of Great Change; Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices; Innovation and Entrepreneurship; The Effective Executive; Managing for Results and The Practice of Management.
This book looks afresh at the future of management thinking and practice and defines new ways of delivering success. It deals exclusively with tomorrow's hot management issues-the crucial, central, life-and-death issues that are certain to be the major challenges of tomorrow. The biggest challenge will be knowledge worker productivity-what is it; how can it work; how do we manage knowledge workers and ourselves? Two fundamental issues addressed are changes in the world economy and the subsequent changes in management practice which will bring about new realities requiring new corporate policies as well as presenting new opportunities for the individual knowledge worker.
Many of the individual knowledge workers affected by these challenges will be employees of business or working with business. Yet this is a management book rather than a business management book. The challenges it presents affect all organisations of today's society, particularly the more rigid and less flexible, i.e. the ones more rooted in the concepts, assumptions and policies of the 19th century. The challenges and issues discussed in this book are not new and are already with us in every one of the developed countries and in most of the emerging ones. They can already be identified, discussed, analyzed and prescribed for. Some people, someplace, are already working on them. But so far very few executives and even less organisations are. Those who do work on these challenges today, and thus prepare themselves and their organisations for the new challenges, will be the leaders and will dominate tomorrow.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Management Challenges for the 21st Century, 30 Oct 2012
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Realy good book if you want to understand how the economic world works at a glimpse. I use it in my Leading and manageing within Organizations module but if can be additional reading for everybody who want to get a new perspective.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE AGENDA FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS, 13 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Peter Drucker has become very much unlike Peter Drucker in this book, and for the better. He tells us what to work on, how to do it, and gives us the key questions to stay focused on the right aspects of the issues. He has gone from guru to guidance, and I appreciate the change. Any business will be greatly improved by paying attention to his ideas, beginning with being a better manager of oneself. The CEOs I work with often undermine their own success by not systematically improving how they function. This book gives them a way to do that. I plan to share it with everyone I know. For even more help in how to address these challenges, you should read and apply the lessons of THE 2,000 PERCENT SOLUTION, which is an outstanding book on how to improve organizations through systematic, effective innovation. You should also read THE PURSUIT OF PRIME, to diagnose your organization's development, and THE BALANCED SCORECARD to help you implement your new strategy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, 10 Mar 2008
Inspired me to take on an MBA, professionalise my management and leadership role and explore further
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