Peter Drucker vs. Henry Kissinger
Peter Drucker, from Claremont, and Henry Kissinger, from Harvard, had two very different styles. Especially when dealing with students or staff.
Drucker from Claremont had a heart for his students. Professor Gordon Bjork, Claremont, wrote in The Wall Street Journal, November 22nd, that:
He had a standing offer to students to reread their reworked papers for a higher grade — and he demanded the same high quality of exposition in their work that he exhibited in his own.
Kissinger, from Harvard, also demanded the best work from his staff. And he demanded that they rework briefing papers. Again and again.
But with a minor difference. As the story goes, Kissinger would accept the staffer’s briefing paper, dismiss the underling, and put the paper in a drawer.
He would summon the staffer the next day, give the paper back and ask the subordinate, “Can you do better?”
Intimidated by the brilliant Kissinger, the staffer would rework the paper and return. Kissinger would do a number of laps like this with his people.
Finally, Kissinger’s staff would say, “Yes, this is the very best — I cannot do any better.”
“Great,” would reply Kissinger. “Now I can read it.”
Kissinger never read the first drafts.
Kissinger served on the Harvard faculty from 1954 to 1971.
Kissinger is universally respected and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. For something about an “uncertain peace in Vietnam.”
Drucker was universally loved and respected by students of all ages.
The world would be a better place with more Druckers.
And, perhaps, fewer Kissingers.
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Thank you (foot)notes:
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