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Peter Drucker’s 4 Universal Entrepreneurial Disciplines

Whenever I come across the writings of Peter Drucker, I almost never fail to be impressed by his insight. It’s no wonder he was one of the most influential and forward-thinking management theorists in the world (and continues to be). If you’re a lawyer or law student and have never heard of him: shame, shame. If you have business clients, I guarantee you they have. His writings are geared to effective management, but often I find that they can be applied to other professional and personal pursuits. Recently I came across this this bit from Drucker about the required 4 Universal Entrepreneurial Disciplines for business, originally in Forbes in 1998 in the article: “Management’s New Paradigms:”

  1. Organized abandonment of products, services, processes, markets, distribution channels, etc, that are no longer an optimal allocation of resources.
  2. Organize for systematic, continuing improvement.
  3. Organize for systemic and continuous exploitation of successes.
  4. Organize systemic innovation – create different and new techniques that make your successful products, services, etc of today, obsolete.

Drucker is referring to the development of successful entrepreneurial traits for a business, but these principals are just as easily applied to starting a blog, developing new clients, or internal firm practices and procedures. They also apply to personal development: physical fitness, starting a new hobby, shedding bad habits, etc. The language Drucker uses implies so much.

#1 Not “re-think,” or “downgrade,” or “re-allcoate” but abandon that which does not work well. Cast it aside and never look back.

#2 Systematic, continuous improvement. Not going to a seminar or CLE once every few months, but integrating personal/professional development into your everyday routine.

#3 When you have success, don’t “build on it” or “synergize with it.” And certainly don’t bask in the glow of success. Instead exploit it – manipulate any success to one’s own advantage through any means necessary.

#4 Not improve your current products or business services – make them obsolete. Compete with and cannibalize your own business because if you don’t, someone else will.

They are four simple rules, but it is often the simple rules that are difficult to apply in life and business.

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About Keith Lee

I'm the founder and editor of Associate's Mind. I like to write, talk, and think about law, professional development, technology, and whatever else floats my boat. I practice law in Birmingham, AL.
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