IBM and Peter F. Drucker: The Importance of Character and Manners
Courtesy is the "Lubricating Oil" of an Organization
But the [management feedback] analysis may also show that a person fails to obtain results because he or she lacks manners. Bright people - especially bright young people - often do not understand that good manners are the "lubricating oil" of an organization.
It is a law of nature that two moving bodies in contact with each other always create friction. And manners are the lubricating oil that enable these two moving bodies to work together, whether they like each other or not - simple things like saying "please" and "thank you" and knowing a person's birthday or name, and remembering to ask after the person's family.
If the analysis shows that brilliant work fails again and again as soon as it required cooperation from others, it probably indicates a lack of courtesy, that is, manners.
Peter F. Drucker
Management (Revised Edition)
"Managing Oneself" 1973
Hire Men of Character and Good Manners
"If you need a man, hire him, but hire the right kind of a man.
"Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler said there were only two things in connection with education that were of real importance, and without which you could not educate anybody or do anything with him. Those two things, he said were character and good manners. And he said a great many of our educational institutions were falling down on both those points.
"I have thought about that a lot. You men never had a successful experience in your life with a workman who did not have good manners. The fellow that is always rough and doesn’t show you the consideration and the courtesy to which, as foreman, you are entitled is not the kind of man you want in your department. You need the kind of men who are gentlemanly and courteous, and whose manners are backed up with good clean character.
"I want us to keep those two things in mind right through every branch and every department of our business. If we have anybody in any department—sales, factory or office—who we discover is a man of real character but does not display good manners, we must get rid of him and give the job to somebody who does possess those qualities. Then we will have a real organization.
"Of course, we must always set the right kind of example all the way along the line as to character and good manners. Then you can teach the men anything, because they are with you, they will listen to you. They are not trying to show off or be smart. They get right down to business."
Thomas. J. Watson Sr.
The World's Greatest Salesman
Speaking at Hundred Percent Club, 1933
Tom Watson Sr. was a master of balance. After telling his factory foreman that they should only hire men of character and courtesy, he balanced that with what many would consider an obvious statement; but a statement that needed to be expressed, "Of course, we must always set the right kind of example all the way along the line." Tom Watson Sr. was right, employee-owners will not try and show off or be smart - they will get right down to business. And isn't that the goal of business?
Peter E. Greulich Insight
March 30, 2013
March 30, 2013
Peter E. Greulich is an author, publisher and public speaker.
He has written three books on IBM and three essays on Thomas J. Watson Sr.’s leadership during the Great Depression. His latest book, Think Again!: IBM CAN Maximize Shareholder Value is a sweeping historical look at IBM and its nine chief executives. It puts a spotlight on IBM's current human resource practices in light of IBM’s time-tested, human-relationship achievements.
THINK Again! is a different perspective from Louis V. Gerstner’s Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance. Pete's thoughts are always a view from beneath—the perspective of an IBM employee-owner. IBMers with stories to share can reach Pete at IBMers @ mbiconcepts.com.