How Peter Drucker Mentored
A life of influence is always a choice never an accident.
Bob Buford, founder of Halftime, was mentored by Peter Drucker for over twenty years. Yesterday, Bob told me the four contributions Drucker made to him as a mentor.
Before sharing the four contributions, Bob reminded me that Drucker was the consummate question asker. His great strength was his use of the Socratic Method. Successful mentors probe with questions and clarify with restatements.
Bob said, Peter Drucker, as a mentor:
- Gave me permission to be me.
- Encouraged me along the way.
- Acknowledged my success.
- Held me accountable. He expected results.
The first three behaviors seem easier than the last. I asked Bob about holding people accountable.
“Accountability requires a volunteer.”
Holding people accountable:
Voluntary participation is the first essential of accountability. Other suggestions include:
- Accountability is for them not for you. If accountability is about making your life easier, it’s pressure or coercion. Accountability must be viewed as helpful not hurtful.
- Agree on behaviors and results. Accountability is a team effort, designed by all involved.
- Make it simple. Complexity destroys efficiency.
- Establish structure. Ask, for example, “When will you report your progress?” Set recurring accountability appointments.
- Create predictability. What happens if you succeed? What happens if you fail?
- Leverage the law of overflow. Accountability in one area often has positive impact in others. The discipline of getting out of bed may produce positive results in other areas, for example.
- Stay involved. Let them know you’re on their team, regularly.
People look for and enjoy accountability when they believe in it’s benefit and participate in designing it.
What mentoring strategies work for you?
What factors make accountability effective?
Great post Dan. Accountability is always the hard part, precisely, as you point out, because it is so often perceived as punishment imposed upon another. I always say that “accountability is a house,” not a consequence when something is it isn’t done, but rather a framework, a structure in which everyone clearly understands their responsibilities, contributions, and performance expectations. The only successful accountability is shared accountability, where leaders understand their obligations to their people and their outcomes as well. Accountability, properly understood and executed, is just another word for ownership.
I particularly love, “Accountability ,,, is just another word for ownership.”
Dan, this is an awesome list. In my case, I like to include one more thing: care. Really caring. Really caring, and communicating (both asking questions and clarifying and asking for accountability) in a way that conveys caring.
I mean the kind of caring that is loaded with the expectation of a person’s success. The kind of caring that is has the power of belief in the other inside it. The kind of caring that doesn’t buy into giving away personal power or accountability, because it knows that doing that denies self-worth.
Now, this is coming from a “thinking type” personality, and as a thinker, I am acutely aware that you don’t turn caring on and off: it happens when you are really interested in helping someone move their needle; when we want to help uplift them; when we turn on our empathy; when we’ve “been there” ourselves; when we have compassion for the journey of others, and we see how our own journey is connected…
The way I see it, we can understand my thoughts above to be included in your #7, but I had fun calling them out here. 🙂
Sometimes the most important things are left out. Thanks for adding the heart to this post.
I’m a thinking too. For me, caring is acting with another’s best interest in mind.
Thank you for sharing your insights.
You define accountability ‘like a boss’ [contemporary kid slang for expert / sage] Thank you Dan 🙂
Cool! thanks daddy! 🙂
Great post today Dan! Great!
I Mentor, I call it Sponsoring
Start with getting my own house in order.
I have found as human beings we communicate in more ways than verbally. If I am not congruent inside and out people can sense it.
I and I sincerely feel no other people can transmit to others what they do not have. Whether peopple like it or not the one that has to be worked on the most is themselves.
For me what makes accountability effective is transparency. Like a thumbs down without an explanation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL
I too have a challenge holding people accountable. It is because Alcoholism is a disease of perception. I am an egomanic with an inferiority complex. Try walking around all day with that in your head.
Back and forth back and forth all day long!
When I am self centered and not HigherPower Centered I am very preoccupied with what other people think of me. Then I seem to practice people pleasing and my actions are based on the desire for people above all else to like me. Bad strategy
Great strategy, Higher Power Centered and do my best and leave the results up to him that guides me I let him/her.
Dear friend of mine Liz I used to see at AA meetings a lot. She helped me so much by telling me everyt time we saw each other this:
“Scott don’t worry so much about what other people think of you cause they rarely do”!
Not many truer words ever uttered.
CYA Dan, thanks, great post.
Thanks Scott… love the addition of getting your own house in order. I bet you don’t mean perfect.
For me, a mentor who is growing is more useful than one who arrived.
Ego strives for perfection, I will work for progressing a little every day.
That Edging God Out thingy is a real nasty beast! I Highly Recommend not feeding the beast, I find it can’t be satiated, how bout you? Trust me I gave it my best, then total surrender!!!! Whew!!!! Horray Surrender! hehe
Other God’s Kids Centered, not Self-Centered.
My belief, we are a perfect eachness in the allness of God. Can’t try to be what we already are. Does an orange try to be an orange??? Kind of a silly orange I say!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes Dan, I do believe we are all perfect any opinion otherwise says God made junk! Wow!!! That is really a pretty gutsy opinion if you think about it. I say take it up with him/her!!!!!!!!!! That right there is a serious misperception, God did just right!
Original Blessing is quite a nice thought, lots better than some others I have heard. Choice is a wonderful starting point.
Step 11 sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the God of our understanding.
I Highly Recommend it.
Stillness, you would be quite surprised what you hear.
Regarding your comment; “I will work for progressing a little every day.”, I am in a Bible study in which the author of the book we are using says we should learn to appreciate “Imperfect progress”. We can digress, remain where we are, or progress. Our progress might not be perfect, but it is still progress. Let’s celebrate any movement forward, as long as it is in the right direction.
Blessings to you.
For me, the mutual engagement is as valuable as the mentorship, realizing that someone is keeping me on a path and visa-versa, has great value. However, a bit like GTD methods, bringing a person back on track is a very valuable component… We get derailed! – well I do! 🙂
Hi Ken. When I first started mentoring people, I felt awkward when people started talking about holding them accountable. But, I see the value and like you the “mutual” part makes it work for me.
People enjoy accountability when they’re part of the design; when they’re committed to the fulfillment of the shared mission. Inquiry enables people to come to terms with their own values and goals. It allows them to develop purpose for their actions and thus accountability is a natural outcome.
Great post Dan. I agree with the comments on holding the mentee accountable and would add that the mentor has to hold him/herself accountable for the relationship to have a positive outcome. A mentor has great responsibility to the mentee and as a result must be willing to commit the time and energy to insure a successful outcome. That’s acountabilty!!!!
What I really saw in your post Dan was relationship and empowerment. Your discussions on accountability lead me to think about empowerment. If we empower people, we give them the power and leverage to succeed and that means being accountable for behavior. Then you can’t have successful behavior without relationship because it is social in nature and we would be succeeding in our relationships with others for whatever outcome the goal(s) are. I always think about the few really good mentors I have had along the way in my life and continue to come into contact with. Thanks.
I inherited a team that had been left without leadership for well over a year. They developed some bad habits, and holding them accountable has become somewhat adversarial. When I first took charge of the team I spent the first few months trying to understand exactly how their lack of direction had affected them because I knew they weren’t entirely to blame. They weren’t even on the organization’s all employee distribution list. Initially I tried to get them involved in creating a plan on how we, as a team, would move forward. Accountability has become very adversarial. It’s not a good situation, and I’ve discussed it with my boss, but I am at a loss on what to do next. I have one employee who has never turned anything in on time, and sometimes doesn’t even start assignments although they’re clearly within his area of responsibilty. I’ve discussed this issue with him several times, provide time management training and have yet to see any results. I’m frustrated with this situation, but determined to turn this team around. Any ideas?
Without great knowledge of your specific situation, it appears that the specific employee you mention is simply not engaged with his work. This may be an issue with your entire team. Creating an engaged team is difficult, but I like that you’re trying to be inclusive. There are those on your team who will eventually respond to that– if you genuinely value their input and put some of their suggestions into practice. As for that specific employee, you might ask him why he isn’t engaged, show him the positive impact of his work, and ask what it will take for him to value his contribution. Just a thought! I know this is so much easier said (or typed) than done!
Hi Kathy first of all you are great!!!!!! Way to go asking for ideas!!!
Great book I found out about here FULL of ideas that might inspire you in a more beneficial direction. The Secret of Teams. Mark Miller. Great book!
I have resorted to begging and pleading but think Mr Miller has better suggestions for you.
Look, open your mind and the answers will come. You made the crucial first step admitting what you tried doesnt seem to be getting you what u want!!!! Bravo to you! That is so great!!!!
Now ask for help, you did by asking for ideas!
Now follow through with the suggestions you’ve been given.
To freshen your mind totally out of left field watch Peter Diamandis Ted talk. Sometimes it helps me to drop the rock and think about something else for awhile. The communication block will wait for you while you take a mini vacation.
Peter is so optimistic it just feels good to buy into his vision for a bit.
Anyway SALUTE!! Don’t know if any of this will help but good Onya mate! Mate-ess?
I believe you will persist till you succeed, do you?
My personality and strength centers lead me to connect dots fast and create solutions. While this is beneficial to me personally, it has hindered my mentoring relationships! I have found that, as difficult as it is, we cannot shape the future of those we mentor. That’s why I love that Bob says Drucker allowed him to be himself.
I also love your point about staying involved. How important is consistency, compassion, and continued interest!
How does one go about selecting a mentor? I’d like to better understand the mentor relationship and the “normal” expectations of such an arrangement.
Hey Josie if no one is gonna answer you I will!!
There was a movie years back the karate kid
Mr miyagi was a mentor to Daniel-son
Google it sure there are clips. Try Netflix
Think of a person who inspires you then just ask them to teach you how they understand themselves, gods other kids and the world!
Hope that helps
Do you have any more information or insight about the Socratic Method? I’m just beginning to discover the power of a question-centred approach to mentoring but am just following my own intuition at the moment without having read up much about it. The Wikipedia link was a little … academic 🙂 Any sources you would recommend on this topic, or your own pearls of wisdom? Would appreciate it!
Hi Chris. I use the term to explain an approach to learning where teachers ask questions rather than making statements. The idea is to help people come to knowledge on their own.
Thanks for asking.
In regard to questions, I like the book “Coaching for Engagement” by Bob Hancox and others.
Thanks Dan! Will check that book out.
Thank you for this post. I totally agree with the FOUR contributions for being an effective and successful mentor/advisor. I believe it is key to establish trust and that indeed asking the ‘right question’ is primordial. The right probe from the mentor triggers the mentee to see the truth of what is which then creates clarity about a situation and/or about behaviors. The question when thoughtfully ask, raises consciousness around the behaviors, actions and communication. It is a gift for a mentor to listen by being fully present to the individual and to restate without telling the mentee what to do. The more the mentee can reflect and see the answer for him/herself, the easier it is to embrace what gets in the way of an executive’s effectiveness and/or happiness, to care to change and be accountable. FOUR contributions, consciously done lead to transformative results and are empowering. It is very powerful. Not making assumptions and regular check-in ease the process of accountability; care to ask how helpful the process is, what doesn’t seem to help and ask for what might be more helpful in making accountability work.
I agree, “accountability” has become tainted with a domineering, dictatorial approach to leading/managing. I prefer to use the term “feedback”. Without it no progress can be made, and 99.9% of people understand and embrace this…