Right now, the world seems poised on the edge of a turning point. Major issues such as unsustainable use of resources, high debt levels, unemployment, insufficient social security systems, and growing income inequalities threaten our security and well-being. It will take innovation and hard work to put the world on track toward long-term prosperity and sustainability.
Luckily, we have many tools to enable transformation. For example, new digital technologies can be powerful tools to create positive change if used thoughtfully and effectively. But the question remains: Who will successfully lead us through a transformation?
We need change on a global scale, and we need it to happen at all organizational levels. This means we need global leaders who can manage change. We also need the ideas and skills to affect change. To accomplish this, we should take inspiration from Peter Drucker and develop our transformational management skills.
Drucker was an Austrian author and management consultant. He is known today as the father of modern management. He significantly influenced management at many large organizations, and he developed the concept of management by objectives: the practice of managers and employees defining key goals to work toward together.
For Drucker, management included business administrators, entrepreneurs and other leaders. Good management meant not only successfully working towards an organization’s goals but also aligning those goals with the common good. Drucker believed that management plays a central role in modern society. The Drucker Forum explains, “He posited that the prosperity, vitality, and even survival of a society depended on the quality, earnestness, knowledge, and values of its managers and leaders.” Drucker’s ideas are still highly relevant today. Perhaps more than ever, we need managers to lead us through a great transformation and into long-term prosperity.
There are many challenges facing global leaders and managers today, but there are also many opportunities. One of the first challenges is incorporating other fields into management. Today, good management cannot work in isolation. We need to incorporate ideas and actions from economics, public policy, education and technology into management.
This means consistently dedicating time to learning and self-improvement. Great managers should read widely and learn from developments in other fields. We should also collaborate across disciplines. Managers can learn a lot from educators or investors, and the most effective transformational leadership will build on a broad range of knowledge and collaboration.
The other large challenge is one that managers have always faced: successfully creating change. The best ideas in the world won’t amount to anything if leaders are incapable of accomplishing them. Managers and aspiring leaders need to work hard to develop the skills needed to create change.
Our goal is to reshape management into an effective tool to reshape society. To achieve a great transformation, we’re going to need more global leaders with the skills and drive to create lasting change. If you’re an individual leader, be proactive. Work on honing your skills by reading, learning from others, and attending workshops and conferences. Leadership is a set of skills that can always be improved.
If you are an established leader, do your best to help develop new leaders inside and outside of your organization. Share your expertise with others by writing articles, speaking at conferences, or simply working together in person with others. To achieve a positive transformation within society, we’re going to need a host of global leaders who can advocate for and support change. We can all work together to develop management skills in ourselves and in others.