November 29, 2005
by Bob Buford
The following essay was prepared for a discussion on bequests and legacies—part of a series of six discussions entitled "The Dialogues on Civic Philanthropy: Perfecting Our Grants" (2005-2006). By clicking the links to the right, you can access more information on this series, learn about the Dialogues project as a whole, read other prepared essays, and download discussion transcripts.
For his contribution to the discussion, Bob Buford offers us a glimpse into the legacy of one man, Peter Drucker, as something that shapes the life and work of another – Bob Buford himself. What is Peter Drucker’s legacy? Buford would like us to consider the notes he prepared for a 2002 magazine interview, which by plan or by accident was about Drucker. Directly below is the short introduction Buford wrote to adapt those notes for our discussion.
PETER DRUCKER, now well known as the leading modern theorist of both the theory and technique of management, is the “intellectual father” of most all that guides my approach to philanthropy. I’ve long since ceased trying to determine what thoughts are mine and which come from Peter. The Atlantic magazine editor, Jack Beatty, interviewed me for two hours in 1997 for a book titled, The World According to Peter Drucker. He only used six words that I said: “He’s the brains. I’m the legs.” Perfect!
With apologies for an unorthodox format, I’ve decided to share with you as my part of “Dialogues on Civic Philanthropy” a piece I wrote three years ago to get myself prepared for an interview on Drucker with Inc. Magazine. I have left it as I wrote it then.
The format is to say first what Peter does for me, then to next provide concrete examples of how I have applied Peter’s observations. As you will see, I am really more a Social Entrepreneur than a classic grant-making philanthropist. I create organizations to get things done. I invest in results, not just in process, cost and effort.
Long ago, Peter Drucker said, “It is your mission to work on transforming the latent energy in American Christianity into active energy.” I’ve been working on that agenda for over twenty years now. My, how I have been blessed to have such a mentor to guide my “high-yield philanthropy!”
I will be happy to answer questions on November 29.
What Peter Drucker Does For Me
By Bob Buford
June 14, 2002
1. He defines the landscape
2. He defines the opportunities, the void, what is needed now
3. He helps me to clarify my strengths and capacities
4. He identifies the myths, the false paths, the incorrect assumptions of “the industry” within which I am working
5. He encourages me to “go for it”
Bob Buford is chairman of the board of The Buford Foundation/Leadership Network.
To learn more about Leadership Network, see www.leadnet.org.
To learn more about Halftime, see www.halftime.org.
To learn more about Bob Buford, see www.ACTIVEenergy.net.
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