The industrial revolution was thunderous. You could hear the factories and trains; you could see cities transforming; you could smell the changes. Our current revolution is silent. We can’t look out our windows and see the catalysts for the opportunities that will change the way we and our children do business, get educated and go about our daily lives. The silent revolution is built around human assets. It’s all about knowledge, information, and collaborative connections and partnerships-the powerful new tools driving our future don’t announce themselves with the clanking and sputtering of 19th-century factories, tanneries and mills, or the sprawling parking lots of 20th century malls.
The impact of this silent revolution is far from quiet. The role of management at every level is amplified. So is the influence of the customer. And the need for innovation, too. And the value of collaboration, and connections between countries, between colleagues, even between competitors. The worker’s ability to learn is far more important than ever, along with the growth of “smart” products that can diagnose their own problems and sometimes repair themselves.
In this revolution, managers are seeing the heightened risks from wrong decisions, no decisions, or poor execution of right decisions. We are navigating a new world that-far from being flat-is interconnected on every level. Distance often isn’t important when services can arrive on-line instantly; time has a new meaning when we measure progress in milliseconds rather than hours and minutes.
Let us learn from one of the best management thinkers, Peter F. Drucker, as we unleash and harness our talents while plunging ourselves and our children into this silent revolution.
Elizabeth Edersheim is the perfect guide for this journey. For the last 16 months of Drucker’s life, she had extraordinary, unprecedented access to him. She talked with the father of modern management about business practices, economic changes, and contemporary trends-many of which he had predicted decades ago.
As the New York Times said, “The story of Peter Drucker is the story of management itself.”