Byron's Babbles

Information Not Power

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Learning Organization, Strategic Planning by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on June 28, 2015

spirit_of_76_flag_waving_hg_clrJust a few days away from the Fourth of July and hit the half way point of A Year With Peter Drucker (2014) by Joseph A. Maciariello. It is fitting that the week 26 lesson from Peter Drucker had to do with centralization, confederation, and decentralization. The British set up the colonies as a centralized or unified government where the autonomy and authority rested mainly at the top with the king or king appointed governors. Then in 1774 the colonies established the Continental Congress (Maciariello, 2014). This same Continental Congress endorsed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. During the period of time from the Declaration through the end of the Revolutionary War our government was in the form of a confederation. In other words, maximum autonomy was granted to the colonies.

Then in 1787 when the Constitutional Convention met a federal system of government was formed with an executive, a congress, and a judiciary. This was put into play with the ratifying of the Constitution of the United States in 1789. All powers not specifically given to the federal government were given to the states with the passing of the Tenth Amendment. The system of government established by the U.S. Constitution is often designated as federal decentralization (Maciariello, 2014). year-with-peter-drucker

So, what can we learn from this? Drucker believed that a global society where the trend was moving toward knowledge-based organizations would see organizations and governments being held together by information, not power. Drucker believed that top leadership would have to take charge of two key resources: key people and money. Interestingly, this is consistent with another book I am reviewing right now as part of a book launch with Becky Robinson and Weaving Influence. The book is The Disciplined Leader: Keeping the Focus on What Really Matters by John Manning. In the book, which is set up in 52 lessons, he posits that what all great disciplined leaders do is focus on what really matters. What the research showed is the focus must be on people. Great leaders understand that people are the most vital asset in a successful organization. As Manning states: “The Disciplined Leader knows how to Focus on the Vital Few and ignore or delegate The Trivial Many (Manning, 2015, p. 5).” Think about it, the people is where the information is.gI_62003_disciplined_leader_linkedINad

Drucker pointed to Toyota as an example of what many would call operating under decentralization, where the individuals units have rules, but operated independently. Drucker argued this is really a confederation. In a confederation the independent units operate independently, but carry out the overall spirit of the organization as a whole. A unit of confederation is independent, but it operates under loose direction of the parent organization (Maciariello, 2014). The organization that operates with people and information as its most important parts, a confederation, is held together by values, strategy, and information.

If your organization is held together by power and not information, your ability for continuous improvement may be hindered.


Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Manning J. (2015). The disciplined leader: Keeping the focus on what really matters. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.


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