Drucker Day 2015

Good Process AND Creativity

Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership

Drucker Day 2015

Drucker Day:

I enjoyed the good fortune of having the time to drive up to Claremont, California, to attend the 2015 Drucker Day at the Drucker School of Management hosted by the Claremont Graduate University (CGU). The theme this year was The Creative OrganizationPreparing and Managing Top Talent. It was a day well spent.

As you might expect, given our proximity to Hollywood, the “Creative Industry” focuses on the TV, Film, and Entertainment industries. But certainly not entirely. And the discussion around managing and developing creative talent cut across all business

sectors. Those of you who know me will realize that this was an exercise in trying to break the cycle of confirmation bias. I am the TV and Film industry’s worse nightmare! I watch no TV or Cable productions. I fast-forward through advertisements on my podcasts (whether video or audio). And I am pretty “blind” to other promotions that might pop-up in my field of view. So spending time with entertainers was a day of learning and a challenge for me.


All the speakers were CGU graduates and were excellent presenters. I won’t bore you with all the speakers and panelists—but here are two. The morning Keynote Speakers was Eugene Young (EMBA 2011), President of Ryan Seacrest Productions, who spoke on “Succeeding in a Time of Creative Disruption.” The afternoon keynote speaker was Tawni Cranz (EMBA 2011), Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, who spoke on “Leading Creative Teams.” Both keynotes were noteworthy to me in that they emphasized how technology had disrupted the industry as their companies had known them.

The best way to predict the future is to create it.
— Peter F. Drucker

Out in Front

Of particular interest is how Netflix drove the change to stream video ahead of the customers. You may recall all the angst over the difference in the DVD versus Streaming model and consumer pricing when Netflix made a move to streaming video rather than delivering DVDs. They did this despite an incredible amount of capital tied up in DVD production, duplication, and delivery systems. Netflix developed massive databases to predict what consumers wanted to see were geared toward the delivery of DVDs. They obsoleted all of that to move to the streaming side of the business.

You must increase employee freedom as the business complexity grows.
— Tawni Cranz

For his part, Eugene Young pointed out how the whole industry (production of TV/Film entertainment) is in chaos due to the change in consumer demand for internet streaming of entertainment. Cord-cutting is real. The industry is being way too slow to respond to this threat to the business model. But, they are indeed aware and casting about for an appropriate response.

Cord-cutting is real. Total chaos in the TV industry. Social media is ‘ruling’ the consumer.
— Eugene Young

Disrupt Yourself

The lesson here, for me, is that the companies who are courageous enough to cannibalize their products/services and move into the brave new world will do well. The other lesson for me is that we all, in the end, are trying to learn how to manage creative talent. Those of us NOT in the creative industry can certainly understand how to encourage creativity within a framework. That is how Netflix and others provide forward-looking products, services, and business models. They set guidelines and set the people free to be creative within that framework.

How are you doing at managing creative talent? Are you able to establish guidelines and set people free to be creative within them? Have you found a good process AND allowed for creativity? That seems like a challenging and worthy goal to me.

[Lightly edited on 9/2020 for our new website.]