Status Check – Three types of growth by Peter Drucker

I received a lot of emails about my blog post “Why do I think many software engineers are on drugs?” The emails were mixed. Some that agreed with my viewpoint and some violently refused to even consider that there may be some truth in it. Here is some food for thought for software engineers and, actually, any knowledge workers.

The legendary Peter Drucker wrote a couple of decades about kinds of growth for organizations that is relevant even today. He said that there are three kinds of growth

1. Muscle growth
Any growth which, within a short period of time, results in overall increase in the total productivities of the enterprise is healthy growth. It should be fed and supported.

2. Fat growth
Growth that results in volume and does not, within a fairly short period of time, produce higher overall productivities is fat. A certain amount of fat may be needed; but few businesses suffer from too little fat. Any increase in volume that does not lead to higher overall productivity should be sweated off again.

3. Cancerous growth
Any increase in volume that leads to reduced productivities, except for the shortest startup periods, is degenerative if not pre-cancerous. It should be eliminated by radical surgery – fast.

While Drucker talked about this in the context of enterprises, the same theory can be applied to individuals. Your own job should lead to more muscle growth. The reason I wrote “Why do I think many software engineers are on drugs” is mainly because I observed that most large software jobs outsourced have very little room for muscle growth for large number of engineers.

Have a great Wednesday!

Related article: Over-compensated to death (Aug 25, 2006)