My week with (a book about) Peter Drucker

book 2Recently, I participated as a guest writer for my friend John Pearson’s year-long blogged journey through A Year with Peter Drucker: 52 Weeks of Coaching for Leadership Effectiveness by Joseph A. Maciariello. Each Monday, John features a Drucker fan and his or her favorite snippet from that week’s topic.

I claimed Week 19 and the opportunity to reflect on what it means to “see the future that has already happened.”

As an invitation to Generous Matters readers to take a look at John’s 52-week homage to Drucker, I’m repeating my Monday morning post here.


When embarking on a planning process, organizational leaders need look no further than the trends of the day for a glimpse into their ministries’ tomorrows. That’s the word from Peter Drucker.

In particular, he challenges CEOs and board members to keep an eye on demographics – the one thing we “can count on and one doesn’t have to have opinions on.” The best plans “capitalize on emerging trends and use them to create a new future for the organization.”

Ministry leaders describe the organizational ground as shifting under them. But truth be told, change seldom surprises like an earthquake. Change is almost always a long time coming, with ample warning in the trends around us.

Which is why wise CEOs and discerning boards regularly scan the environment for signs of what Drucker refers to as “the future that has already happened” and then to plan accordingly.

If Drucker’s words have a familiar ring, think Isiah 43:19. God-followers are admonished to see the new that God is doing, present tense. The future is not some far-off, mysterious maybe. It springs up, now. God is active in the trends, “making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Our part is to perceive, believe, and act on what God is up to in the world.

Board members, ministry heads, and other staff do well to scan the external environment for opportunities that can be exploited and threats that must be avoided. The best boards take strong, decisive action in response to trend lines. In turn, the confident CEO welcomes the board’s participation in identifying and responding to the “future that has already happened.”

For more great resources from John Pearson, check out John’s Buckets Blog  and the Weekly Staff Meeting enewsletter.

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