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APRIL 22, 2007
 Cover Story
 BT Special
 Back of the Book

Mobile Security
Today, it is all about information and how the right information is sent to the right people at the right time and right place. Uncertainty about how to secure mobile phones in the face of increasing threats is slowing individual adoption of mobile applications. There are many facets of mobile security, including network intrusion, mobile viruses, spam and mobile phishing. Analysts expect big telecom companies to develop security solutions on various security platforms.

Rough Ride
These are competitive times for the Indian aviation industry. As salaries zoom, players are scrambling to find profits. Even the state-owned Indian is now seeking young airhostesses to take on the competition. It is planning to introduce a voluntary retirement scheme for airhostesses above 40 years. On an average, they draw a salary of Rs 5 lakh a year. The salaries of pilots, too, are soaring. According to industry estimates, the country needs over 3,000 pilots over the next five years.
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Business Today,  April 8, 2007

Drucker Distilled
A Peter Drucker retrospective turns the spotlight not on the man, but his ideas.
By Elizabeth Haas Edersheim
Pp: 256
Price: Rs 1,230

Much before the present day management gurus arrived on the scene, armed with their exclamation marks and superlatives, there was one man who had said and written pretty much everything one needs to know about management. He didn't set out to become a management guru (in fact, he hated that description); all he wanted was to become a writer (his stint as an investment banker was perhaps an aberration), and he did so, moving to the United States as a correspondent for the Financial News (as the Financial Times was called then). And when General Motors hired him to investigate what goes into the making and running of a modern corporation, he wasn't even experienced in business. His first book had been on politics and economics of the 1930s. But such was the genius of Peter Drucker that his first book on management The Concept of the Corporation, produced in 1946, proved to be way ahead of its time. In it, Drucker, born in Vienna in 1909, talked about concepts that were to become business buzzwords only decades later-things like empowerment, corporate social responsibility, and human capital.

In the decades that followed, Drucker continued to churn out path-breaking work, including books such as the Practice of Management (1954), The Age of Discontinuity (1969), and Managing in Turbulent Times. No wonder, almost everyone considers him the father of modern management. But what does The Definitive Drucker offer that the man's own writings and those of others on him don't? The publishers of the book have chosen to describe it as the "final advice from the Father of Modern Management". It's a factually correct description of the book, and not just a clever marketing line. The book was written at the invitation of Drucker, who asked the writer, a former McKinsey consultant, to focus not on him and his achievements, but his ideas. So, over a 16-month period (until Drucker died in November 2005), Edersheim spent two hours every day at his home in Claremont near Los Angeles, discussing and debating about some of his most important ideas. In the words of the author, "I wanted to distill his ideas into a practical handbook about how to help organisations thrive as their traditional ways of doing business are overturned."

And distill Edersheim has. She has packaged Drucker's most important insights into five themes, involving customers, innovation, collaboration, talent management, and disciplined decision-making. No doubt, you would have encountered a lot of it in The Essential Drucker, but in this book, Drucker has given Edersheim the freedom to interpret his views from a new perspective. Therefore, you will find the author's own voice intermingling with that of the management giant. If you are a Drucker fan-and it's hard to imagine how you can't be one-The Definitive Drucker will be the last piece of advice you receive directly from the man himself.

By James M. Kouzes and
Barry Z. Posner
Pp: 342
Price: Rs 399

Credibility is such an important quality in a leader that it's impossible to think that a leader could exist without it (unless, of course, your dad owned the company). A leader becomes a leader only because people choose to follow him or her; if Mahatma Gandhi had not seemed credible in his bloodless fight against the British empire, then few would have followed his path. Independence may have come at a much larger cost of lives-indeed, if it came at all. So, why would anyone want to write a book to state the obvious? Apparently, to sink a hand into this formidable-sounding, but amorphous, quality called credibility, and put a finger on its key constituents. What do the authors come up with? The fact that character counts, that things work on trust, and that, among others, leadership is a dialogue, not a monologue.

It's an appropriate time to be talking about these issues, especially in India. As small companies grow big, and the big ones get bigger, there's a desperate need to create leaders at different levels of the organisation. Senior executives need to pull middle managers to their own competency levels, while the middle and junior managers have to turn raw talent into a competitive asset. Aspiring leaders will find plenty to take away from Kouzes and Posner's work.