Leverage everything

Each day has 24 hours – no more, no less. If you have defined your mO you know what your priorities are. If you don’t honor your priorities you won’t reach your mO.

Peter Drucker used to say that a minimum of six straight hours of concentration were needed to generate anything worthwhile. Especially in the summers he would hole up in his home office and allegedly not venture out until at least six hours had passed. A rough draft would then move from his home in Claremont to Orlene, the most loyal secretary in the universe, who reigned at his campus office a short distance away. Rough drafts never left the hands of Orlene until they were cleaned up and Peter claimed to never let a rough draft out of his or Orlene’s sight. I tried to look at one once, and my supposedly good friend Orlene nearly perpetrated some Middle East justice on the hand that reached for the rough draft.

For any archivists or curators out there who think they have a Drucker rough draft, only two responses can be made – 1) it’s not authentic, or 2) you stole something that Peter did not intend for you to have. Every summer, Drucker knew what his “business was”… the summer project he had committed to. At the end of the summer we received the results.

That product could end up in numerous places, under various umbrellas. A few possibilities were his class lectures, magazine articles, HBR publications, chapters in a forthcoming book, and so on. When he took on a project all of its possibilities seemed to occur to him at once.

I watched this for a few years and decided it was a good idea.

If someone asks you to write a chapter for a festschrift or something else ostensibly sounding cool and scholarly (even tenurific), step away from the phone. Until you can conceive of at least three or four other uses for the project or variations on that product, hang up then say no, then turn the phone off.

So say you’re a blogger… unless each blogoid (somewhat similar to CNN’s factoids) has a future in your next lecture, book, article, anthology, newsletter, class assignment or Christmas letter, don’t write it.

This has the magical effect of turning 24 hours into 36.

About Wes Balda
Dr. Wes Balda is President of the Simeon Institute and prior Executive Director of the Oregon Business Institute at the University of Oregon. He also led the Centre for Advancing International Management [AIM Centre] and was Professor of Management at St. George’s University. Previously he was Dean of a School of Management in Oregon, and Director of Executive and PhD Programs at The Drucker School, Claremont Graduate University.