Create Your Own Personal Peter Drucker-Related Semester

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Self-Directed Learning of Peter Drucker

In my previous Corporate Learning Network post, I curated Peter Drucker quotes about teaching, learning and knowledge. I mentioned that he devised his own self-study programs on many different topics, in the days before widespread online availability of information.

Because we have considerably easier and more plentiful access these days, I suggest developing your own personal three-month course, focused on Drucker’s considerable body of work. It should be based on Drucker’s writings, and also on websites, articles and books about his life and work.

In the outline below, I divide the semester into weekly segments, starting with the week of September 14, and ending the week of November 30. I’ve included sample topics each week, but feel free to adjust based on what you would most like to study.

One benefit of designing this self-study system is searching for and finding relevant, actionable information (a key Drucker topic).

Potential Starting Sources of Information

For each topic/week:

  • Find and read at least one article or book section by Drucker
  • Find and read at least one article or book section by other writers about Drucker
  • Find and watch one video (such as a lecture, or conference session, related to the topic)

In order to get the most out of this exercise, each week after you have read the chosen material, write a brief (1-2 pages) statement on the following:

  • Drucker’s central point regarding the topic, based on your interpretations of the readings
  • Applicability to your current life and work
  • Future implications for your life and work

Weekly Syllabus

Week 1: September 14, 2020

Suggested topic: Drucker on Self-Management
Drucker Book suggestion: Management Challenges for the 21st Century, 1999

Week 2: September 21, 2020

Suggested topic: Drucker on Effectiveness and Decision Making
Drucker Book suggestion: The Effective Executive, 1967 (50th anniversary edition, 2017)

Week 3: September 28, 2020

Suggested topic: Drucker on Teaching and Learning
Drucker Book suggestion: The Age of Discontinuity, 1969

Week 4: October 5, 2020

Suggested topic: Drucker on Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship
Drucker Book suggestion: Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Practice and Principles, 1985

Week 5: October 12, 2020

Suggested topic: Drucker on Teamwork
Drucker Book suggestion: Management: Revised Edition, 2008

Week 6: October 19, 2020

Suggested topic: Drucker on Nonprofits and Social Impact
Drucker Book suggestion: Managing the Non-Profit Organization, 1990

Week 7: October 26, 2020

Suggested topic: Drucker on Communication
Drucker Book suggestion: The Ecological Vision: Reflections on the American Condition, 1993

Week 8: November 2, 2020

Suggested topic: Drucker on Information and Knowledge
Drucker Book suggestion: Managing in the Next Society, 2002

Week 9: November 9, 2020

Suggested topic: Drucker on Marketing
Drucker Book suggestion: Management: Revised Edition, 2008

Week 10: November 16, 2020

Suggested topic: Drucker on Leadership
Drucker Book suggestion: Management: Revised Edition, 2008

Week 11: November 23, 2020

Suggested topic: Drucker on Developing a Global Worldview
Drucker Book suggestion: A Functioning Society: Selections from Sixty-five Years of Writing on Community, Society, and Polity, 2003.

Week 12: November 30, 2020

Suggested topic: Drucker on the Future
Drucker Book suggestion: Managing in the Next Society, 2002

Final Project

Write an essay of 750-1000 words about the main points of what you've learned; what topics were most valuable and what readings you would like to pursue in more depth in the future.

Projected Outcome

The course should prove to be a great exercise in finding and evaluating quality information, and turning that information into knowledge. You can also use this as a template for designing a winter 2021 semester.

Keep all of the material in one place, either in a computer file, or a notebook. That way, you’ll easily be able to view your progress, and connect the dots of what you’ve learned week-to-week.

I suggest also keeping a list of the sources you used (titles and authors of books and articles), as well as useful websites. Perhaps you'll also discover people that you'd like to learn more about, or to connect with.

This exercise might also prompt you to pursue more formal learning possibilities, either through universities, community colleges, online learning platforms, industry certifications, workplace learning programs or MOOCs (massive open online courses).

Devising and carrying out an organized self-study program like this will prove that you're a self-starter who can generate your own momentum. Give yourself extra credit if you decide to study with other people, or to take on a project (work-related or otherwise) based on what you’ve learned. For even more extra credit, apply this format/template to other subjects you’d like to learn about. The possibilities are endless!


Imagery: Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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