September 27, 2021

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”
-Peter Drucker
Practicing economic development today requires the ability to balance historic opportunities and maddeningly broken systems. I am sure I’ve written about Peter Drucker’s book Managing in Turbulent Times before, but it seems a good narrative to return to now.

As I think about our national and local strategies I think the four principles apply.

First, organized abandonment. A simple reminder that you will not gain advantage or get on the right track through cost saving. Prioritizing and deciding what to keep and not to keep so you can focus is a far better strategy.

Second, continuously improving your productivity by doing the right things better and better. Enough said.

Third, exploit success. Translation, they “starve problems and feed opportunities” relentlessly. We will always have problems, we don’t always have opportunities, and we must leap at them.

Finally, we must persistently innovate to create distinctly new services and products. As the article says, improvement is not innovation. Innovation requires fresh perspectives and new approaches. This alone should reinforce an emphasis on diversity.

As we manage through turbulent times, let’s recall these principles and apply them within our communities.

-Kenny McDonald