Drucker on Time As a Resource

Time Management

“Mike, everything you are teaching us makes so much sense.  We can see how it could work.  BUT WE DO NOT HAVE THE TIME TO PUT IT INTO PRACTICE.  WE ARE JUST TOO BUSY FIGHTING FIRES.”

This is a line that I hear just about every time I train!  There is without doubt an issue of time management going on here – that the Drucker quote below might shed some light on.  However I think that what they really believe, perhaps sub-consciously, is,

“Mike, we are in a routine here.  We like to moan about it – but we don’t want to (or feel that we can’t) change it.  It is convenient to us to blame our performance on others (senior management, funders, customers, governments) because that means that I NEVER have to become fully responsible.”

So on to the Drucker quote….

“Time is also a unique resource. Of the other major resources, money is actually quite plentiful. We long ago should have learned that it is the demand for capital, rather than the supply thereof, which sets the limit to economic growth and activity. People — the third limiting resources — one can hire, though one can rarely hire enough good people. But one cannot rent, hire, buy, or otherwise obtain more time.

The supply of time is totally inelastic. No matter how high the demand, the supply will not go up. There is no price for it and no marginal utility curve for it. Moreover, time is totally perishable and cannot be stored. Yesterday’s time is gone forever and will never come back. Time is, therefore always in exceedingly short supply.

Time is totally irreplaceable. Within limits we can substitute one resource for another, copper for aluminum, for instance. We can substitute capital for human labor. We can use more knowledge or more brawn. But there is no substitute for time.

Everything requires time. It is the only truly universal condition. All work takes place in time and uses up time. Yet most people take for granted this unique irreplaceable, and necessary resource. Nothing else, perhaps distinguishes effective executives as much as their tender loving care of time.

Man is ill-equipped to manage his time.”

Peter Drucker – The Effective Executive

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Maslow on Management


Maslow on Management

First published back in the 1960s Eupsychian Management made neither the best sellers list nor the bookshelves in airports and railway stations. In fact it barely sold its first modest print run. No doubt this was in part because the business book industry had yet to take off, and in part because of his obscure choice of title. Re-published as ‘Maslow on Management‘ almost 40 years later it seems to be creating a bit more of a stir.

Maslow was one of the the fathers of ‘Third Force’ or ‘Humanistic Growth’ psychology. (First force psychology was that of the Freudians and Jungians; second force was that of the behaviourists – Skinner and his pigeons.) Third force or human growth psychology was developed by Freud, Rogers, Fromm, Adler and Maslow as a serious attempt to understand human potential and how it can best be realised.

In the early 1960s Maslow spent a summer observing life in a business and maintained a journal that reflected his observations and thoughts on  the practice of management and the relevance of third force psychology to the world of commerce – and vice versa. This journal became ‘Maslow on Management‘.

Maslow was a contemporary of Drucker and one of the things he found was that much of what Drucker had written about effective and efficient management as a theorist and consultant with no psychological training was aligned with Maslow’s own thinking. Management theory and Third Force Psychology converged on a set of ‘truths’ about management and the realisation of human potential – individual, team organisational and social. Wow!

As Maslow said:

…this is not about new management tricks or gimmicks or superficial techniques that can be used to manipulate human beings more efficiently. Rather it is a clear confrontation of one basic set of orthodox values by another newer system of values that claims to be both more efficient and more true. It draws on some of the truly revolutionary consequences of the discovery that human nature has been sold short.