Birthdays, 21st Century Managment, Drucker...8-3-97

Birthdays are always a wonderful event, no matter what one's age. I just celebrated mine this past week in a neat way. One night was in CT where two of my grandchildren, Rachel Marie and Trevor James, helped me blow out the candles. Another night was here in Upstate NY with two of my daughters who live near me and their significant others. The other children and my Mom called, and Rotary sang me "Happy birthday!" Doesn't get much better than that. I remarked to my family that I didn't feel any older, just a bit wiser, and grateful to be better in so many ways.

That's what life's all about, isn't it? Learning from the past, planning for the future, and living in the now. As I catch up on some reading and research, complete a marketing brochure for a client, work on another client's marketing plan, tweak a couple of web pages I designed, work on creating a multimedia slide show for another client's web site, work on another article for Entrepreneur magazine, and get ready for a busy Monday, I'm reminded of the fact that life's a wonderful, unpredictable journey to be enjoyed and lived to its fullest.

Here's some more items with a common thread of interest to all of us: Mercer Management studied the results of nearly 800 big companies and found that the market value of companies that used a strategy of profitable growth increased 21% between 1991 and 1996 while cost-cutting companies' value rose only 12% (translated = the secret of success is keep growing); the nation's unemployment rate is at a near 24-year low of 4.8% (translated = the job market is the tightest it's been in decades); a New York investment banking firm's forecast shows that over the next five years consumers will spend increasingly less time with TV and more time going online (translated = those with web sites properly indexed will be ahead of the curve).

All of this made me think back to a presentation Peter Drucker gave at the Forbes CEO Forum this past June on "Management in the 21st Century." When the computer came out 40 years ago, Drucker predicted the new technology would transform the way we do business. However, he cautioned that the impact has been on the way we run operations. Drucker said "we're moving more and more from command and control to alliances, independent contractors, outsourcing, temps, and consultants." He predicted that in the future the number of people who work for companies, but are not employees, will exceed the regular employees on payroll.

Physical resources and skills no longer give a company an advantage - only information knowledge and knowledge workers do. It's important to know your customers and your current market, as well as to develop measurement indicators of fundamental facts of what you have to learn about new markets. Positioning now changes every 3-4 years, which means we have to train people, and train them quickly. AT&T's CEO, who recalled a time when Drucker asked, "do you ask your people what they thought about the training and then make changes accordingly?" When the CEO answered "yes" Drucker replied, "That's stupid! They haven't applied it yet!" Interesting concept.

Well, Bonnie and Clyde (the house & office "grand-cats") are signaling me that it's time for their supper. A small duty in exchange for their quietly loyal and pleasant company. So long for now, and have a great week.

1997 Marlene B. Brown, M.S.,CSP,CEO-MarmeL Consulting & TechnoTouch Marketing PO Box 83, Clark Mills, NY 13321 * Tel: 315-853-1318 * Fax: 315-853-4636 Feel free to forward as long as you keep author's byline intact. Thanks & let us hear from you. Visit our Web site at: