The Corporation as Human Effort
Peter F. Drucker studying the General Motors organization in the 1940's under Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. wrote the following:
"It is the right as well as the duty of every managerial employee to criticize a central management decision which he considers mistaken or ill advise. In fact, the one definition I could obtain as to who is considered an executive in General Motors was: 'A man who would be expected to protest officially against a policy decision to which he objects.' Such criticism is not only not penalized; it is encouraged as a sign of initiative and of an active interest in the business. It is always taken seriously and given real consideration."
Peter F. Drucker, 1964
The Concept of the Corporation
Advice to Young Men Entering the Business
"Take orders gracefully. A man who cannot take orders gracefully will never be in a position to give orders. Do not be afraid to be critical of us, if you think we are not running this business properly. But do not criticize us to your fellow workmen. Go direct to headquarters. We are always anxious to receive constructive criticism, but we do not care for destructive criticism. That helps no one. Always make up your mind before you criticize that you are going to think out some plan that you believe is better, and then come and present it to us. You would be surprised at the number of changes we make in the handling of the affairs of IBM through suggestions we receive from men like yourselves. We want you to keep that in mind and be among the builders of this company. We want you to think of The IBM as it will be ten years from now when this factory will be twice as large as it is today and work with a view to placing yourself in a position to say at that time, 'Well, I have helped build half of this factory since I have been with this company.' "
Thomas. J. Watson Sr., October 1930
We Forgive Thoughful Mistakes,
Volume III of Tom Watson Sr. Essays on Leadership
Speech to Tabulating Machine Sales School Number 57
March 9, 2013