"The spirit of an organization is created from the top."

By Peter F. Drucker
May 30 - June 05, 2005




The proof of the sincerity and seriousness of a management is uncompromising emphasis on integrity of character. This, above all, has to be symbolized in management's "people" decisions. For it is character through which leadership is exercised; it is character that sets the example and is intimated. Character is not something one can fool people about. The people with whom a person works, and especially subordinates, know in a few weeks whether he or she has integrity or not. They may forgive a person for a great deal; incompetence, ignorance, insecurity, or bad manners. But they will not forgive a lack of integrity in that person. Nor will they forgive higher management for choosing him.

This is particularly true of the people at the head of an enterprise. For the spirit of an organization is created from the top. If an organization is great in spirit, it is because the spirit of its top people is great. If it decays, it does so because the top rots; as the proverb has it, "Trees die from the top." No one should ever be appointed to a senior position unless top management is willing to have his or her character serve as the model for subordinates.

ACTION POINT: Evaluate the character of the CEO and top management when considering a job offer. Align yourself with people who have integrity.

Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices.


"Raising the productivity of service work is the first social responsibility of management."

The need to raise the productivity of service work is a social priority in developed countries. Unless it is met, the developed world faces increasing social tensions, increasing polarization, increasing radicalization. It may increasingly face a new class war. Unless the productivity of service work is rapidly improved, both the social and economic position of a large class- as large a group as people making and moving things ever were at their peak - must steadily go down. Real incomes cannot for any length of time be higher than productivity. The service workers may use their numerical strength to get higher wages than their economic contribution justifies. But this only impoverishes all of society with everybody's real income going down and unemployment going up. Or the incomes of the unskilled workers are allowed to go down in relation to the steadily rising wages of the affluent knowledge workers, with an increasing gulf between the two groups, an increasing polarization into classes. In either case the service workers must become alienated, increasingly bitter, increasingly see themselves as a class apart.

We know how to raise service work productivity. This is production work and what we have learned during the past hundred years about increasing productivity applies to such work with minimum adaptation. The task is known and doable, but the urgency is great. It is, in fact, the first social responsibility of management in the knowledge society.

ACTION POINT: Set annual targets for raising the productivity of your service staff. Rewards those who are successful in meeting these new targets.

The Ecological Vision.


"It is not enough to aim. You must hit."

An Italian proverb.

"Advertising can get people into a store, but it can't make them buy."


"The greatest pleasure in life is achieving things that people say can't be done."



SCOTT VOLKERS, Australian swimming coach and coach of Olympians Susie O'Neil and Samantha Riley. Part of a message contained in a note handed to O'Neil the night before her gold-medals swim at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Australian Magazine, 11 January 1997.

"Cheat me in price, but not in the goods I purchase."

Spanish Proverb.

"In an age when consumers need to catalogue and organise huge amounts of information on a daily basis, brands with the strongest positive identities win. They are trusted and familiar brands that have maintained a consistent message and image. They have remained true to a 'brand ethic.'"

RUDY MAGNANI and PETER BENKENDORF, American marketing consultants and principals and Magnani & Associates, Chicago.

"Organise for the next day at the end of the previous day. This is what gives me peace of mind at night, a feeling that I am on top of things, and a real excitement about coming into work the next morning. Simply by arranging the next day - defining on paper what I want to accomplish - I feel that I have a head start."

MARK H. McCORMACK, Americansports marketing consultants, founder and CEO of International Management Group, and author.

"Sending men to war without training is like abandoning them."

CONFUCIUS (c.551 - c.479 BC), Chinese teacher, philosopher and political theorist. Analects (6th century BC)