Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Finishing Well

Peter F. Drucker, the world’s foremost pioneer of management theory, died Friday morning at the ripe age of 95. The Claremont Graduate University summarized his life as follows:

"Drucker was the Marie Rankin Clarke Professor of Social Sciences and Management at Claremont Graduate University (CGU) from 1971 to 2003 where he continued to write and consult up to the time of his death.

Drucker’s career as a writer, consultant and teacher spanned nearly 75 years. His groundbreaking work turned modern management theory into a serious discipline. He influenced or created nearly every facet of its application, including decentralization, privatization, empowerment, and understanding of “the knowledge worker.”"

Peter Drucker was also instrumental is teaching and mentoring some of the contemporary church's best leaders, including Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and Bob Buford of the Leadership Network. When Buford set out to reposition his life for the second half, he consulted with Drucker. Drucker gave him this advice on starting a new organization to encourage building for the kingdom of Jesus Christ:

-"Build on the islands of health and strength" (that is, recruit leaders from successful churches as Leadership Network's first customers);

-"Work only with those who are receptive to what you are trying to do;"

-"Work only on things that will make a great deal of difference if you succeed."

What I love about Peter Drucker, besides the monumental amount of insightful writing into management and the human condition, is the fact that he finished the race of life well.

Many Christ-followers do not finish their life well. They succumb to temptations and pressures that have dogged them for years. Dr. Robert Clinton, in his vast work into leaders in the Bible, says that only about 1/3 of all Bible leaders finish well. We scarcely have to look around at the church and business world to realize that this number isn't much better in today's society.

Read the following account from the August 2nd edition of Newsweek and tell me if you're excited about finishing life in this way:

Peter Drucker was a shining example of finishing the race well. The apostle Paul writes about the race of life in one of his letters:

Philippians 3:12-15 TNIV

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

Peter Drucker wrote many things on finishing well, and this is one of them:

Recognize the downside to “no longer learning, no longer growing.”

“I see more and more people who make it to their mid-forties or beyond, and they’ve been very successful,” Drucker said. “They’ve done very well in their work and career, but in my experience, they end up in one of three groups.

One group will retire; they usually don’t live very long.

The second group keeps on doing what they’ve been doing, but they’re losing their enthusiasm, feeling less alive.

The third group keeps doing what they’ve been doing, but they’re looking for ways to a make a contribution. They feel they’ve been given a lot and they’re looking for a chance to give back. They’re not satisfied with just writing checks; they want to be involved, to help other people in a more positive way.”

And they’re the ones, Drucker said, who finish well.

Lets finish well people.


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