In his book, Management Challenges for the 21st Century, Peter Drucker analyzed and discussed the new paradigms of management.
Although much of the discussion revolves around the perspective of the organization, these are my takeaways on how we can apply his teaching on our journey of being a knowledge worker.
While Peter Drucker advocated that managing the knowledge workers’ productivity will be one of the greatest managerial challenges for organizations, the same challenge applies to the knowledge workers themselves.
Workers used to be able to conduct their career with just one employing organization. They started with one organization, adapted and grew with the organization, and retire from the same organization. That is not the case anymore for many of us.
More than likely, we will outlive our employing organization due to changes in the business environment, merger and acquisition, or simply the organization going out of business. Not to mention with the change in the technologies, the structures of many professions are changing at a rapid pace these days.
As a result, knowledge workers will outlive any one employer. We will have to prepare for more than one job, more than one assignment, or even more than one career. Since the employer may not be around to provide on-going development and training, we will have to learn ways to manage ourselves and to develop our careers.
We will have to find ways to put ourselves in the best position to make a contribution and generate value. The contribution and value are the fuel that generates momentum in our career and work. We will have to learn to stay physically able and mentally alive during the fifty-year or longer working life. We will also have to learn how and when to change what we do as the environment shifts.
Knowledge workers, therefore, face drastically new demands as compared to the manual workers. Drucker asserted that we must ask ourselves the following questions:
1. Who am I? What are my strengths? How do I work?
2. Where do I belong?
3. What is my contribution?
4. How do I take the relationship responsibility?
5. How do I plan for the second half of my life? )