Mark Schaefer on Learning His Expertise and Humility from Dr. Peter Drucker

Bonus Content: Mark Schaefer on Peter Drucker

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Mark Schaefer learned his craft from one of the greats. This is the most valuable part of the interview. I hope you enjoy it. Check out the full interview here

“I studied under Peter Drucker for three years. Wow. It was just a magnificent, life-changing opportunity.” 

Mark shared a number of things he learned from Professor Drucker on this episode of the Publio Podcast. He described Drucker as “the most famous business management, marketing consultant, and author in history, period.” Despite his incredible success, Mark was struck by Drucker’s humility. 

“He was so humble,” Mark emphasized. 

Drucker’s teaching method involved using the Harvard Case study approach, where they would study detailed case studies of real-life business scenarios. Mark recalled Drucker getting frustrated with the arrogance some of the more experienced business people in the class displayed. They thought they could solve the problems in the case studies easily. The problems were complex and required rigourous analysis. 

Drucker’s key lesson on leadership, which Mark finds particularly relevant in today’s rapidly changing business landscape, is that success is not about being right. It’s about being effective.

“The key to great leadership is not having all the right answers. It’s asking the right questions. You’ll find the answers,” Mark quoted Drucker.

Mark also shared how Drucker’s own humility has influenced him. “That’s my consulting style, I’m very humble,” He explained. “I don’t go in there and tell people what to do.” 

Instead, he focuses on recognizing and honoring the expertise of people, whether it’s coaching one person or working with a Fortune 500 team. Mark believes that everyone has something to offer, and as a consultant, his role is to facilitate their discovery process. 

Mark doesn’t need to tell them the answer. “The answers are probably there and they’re just not asking the right questions. There’s probably something very obvious that they’re missing and maybe I can see it right away,” he said. 

The process of discovery and learning is important no matter your expert level. Being a consultant means that others are the important ones in the conversation. You are formulating the questions. 

“I honor their expertise. That I will never have, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be useful.”

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