Happy New Year. Welcome back. As many boomer entrepreneurs contemplate what’s next in their lives, I thought it might be interesting to see how Peter Drucker might help them create the future of their dreams.
This time of year, I partner with clients about what the future looks like. What do they need to do to move towards their long-term goals?
For these clients, its’s about building a successful succession strategy that engages their strengths, gifts, and life experiences in a new way. It’s about freedom. It’s why many of these men and women have been so successful in their lives. My role is to be a bridge to their brighter future!
Several years ago, I got a wonderful book that helps me discuss the future with my clients on building a brighter future. The book is called Living in More Than One World by Bruce Rosenstein. Its subtitle is “How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life.” Let’s see if we can help you create a more prosperous future.
Let me share a small section of the book that can help you better evaluate your options for your life. I can’t recommend the book enough if you’re trying to decide what the second half of your life could look like. Our future is only limited by our own beliefs.
The book is full of great questions and then shares specific examples that make you feel like you’re working with Peter Drucker directly. By investing time in understanding your options, the better prepared you are for a brighter future. As Elizabeth Barrett Browning said, “Light tomorrow with today”. Let’s get started.
The first trait Peter Drucker possessed was he led his life by looking towards the future. This meant that he was always looking for new opportunities to learn and grow. If you focus on the future, you are more likely to see new opportunities for growth and success. It’s an interesting fact that most of the successful leaders I know that live long lives have a future based time perspective. It’s one of the ways they keep energized by the possibilities.
The second trait Peter Drucker possessed was he was always looking for new opportunities. He spent significant time observing both the large and small trends in our society. He had an insatiable curiosity and was always asking questions and looking to uncover clues that led to larger opportunities for him to grow. You might ask yourself when you last saw an opportunity and took action on it. Has there ever been a time when you saw an opportunity and failed to seize it?
I have several close friends who have seen major trends, but failed to act on them and they regret it. I think Pete Drucker never missed an opportunity to notice and share what he saw. He wasn’t always right, but he developed strong instincts based on what he learned about earlier opportunities and how they blossomed.
Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway believes there is always a new opportunity available. Both men felt effective entrepreneurs and executives both know when the time is right to seize opportunities. And when to walk away!
The third trait that Peter Drucker possessed was he was willing to not take action even when others thought it was the right time and opportunity. Climbing on a bandwagon was not something Peter ever did. He believed it was important to produce critical ideas on your own. Throughout his career, he was able to see similar information as others, but come to different conclusions.
Succeeding in life is as much about the choices you make. Learning how to evaluate a situation correctly takes time and patience but pays large benefits to the person who does this effectively.
As you considered the last time you chose not to go along with the crowd? History is littered with group thinking that was wrong. As an executive coach, I see people failing to make the right decision for themselves. Ultimately, trying to please everyone is a recipe for failure. But you know that, you’re a successful leader!
The final trait that Peter Drucker possessed that Bruce Rosenstein shared was “Forget Safe Options, Aim High.” Do something that changes the world. If you have accomplished much in your life, there is a tendency to play it safe in the second half. I’m sure Peter would tell you, the second half is just a prelude to a future you can’t believe. Take time to consider your options, but never let how much time you have left decide if you want to do something.
Many people who bloom later in life miss the opportunity to change the world because they do not take on the unique opportunities that are presented in fear they might not complete them. With many of us expected to live into our 90s and beyond, this is a perfect time to take on our next challenge!
A better approach might be taking on mentees who can help you finish the project faster, or even continue it after you’re gone. Many of the world’s greatest scientific breakthroughs have occurred when the team that was founded by a brilliant scientist outlasts the scientist’s life. Be willing to take on larger tasks and there is a good chance you will be around to complete them.
You can find out more about Bruce Rosenstein and what he learned working with Peter Drucker, as well as his other resources and books at his website.
See you next week.
An earlier version of this blog appeared on Developing High Performing Teams