Halftime founder Bob Buford reflects on Peter Drucker

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Photo: Bob Buford is to the left and Dean Niewolny, director of the Halftime Institute, is to the right.

Bob Buford, former CEO of Buford Television and founder of the Halftime Institute, visited the Lipscomb University campus Wednesday, May 7, to discuss lessons learned through his personal relationship with management pioneer Peter Drucker.

An audience of local businesspeople, students and faculty heard Buford discuss his latest book "Drucker & Me: What a Texas Entrepreneur Learned From the Father of Modern Management" at a luncheon hosted by Lipscomb’s College of Business.

Buford took leadership of Buford Television after taking over for his mother when he was 30 years old. During this time, Buford and Drucker, professor of social sciences and management at Claremont Graduate School, began a very close friendship that lasted until Drucker passed away in November 2005. Buford’s book details the long friendship between the two men and all that Buford learned along the way from Drucker.

The author of the book “Halftime” has become well-known in his own right for his approach to life, encapsulated in the phrase “from success to significance,” the slogan for his Halftime Institute, the leading authority on creating a lifetime’s second half defined by joy, impact and balance.

Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, who was in attendance to introduce Buford, his personal friend of 25 years, credited “Halftime,” with inspiring him to run for public office. He spoke very highly of Buford during his introduction. "Bob sees life as a gift and doesn't want to waste it,” said Haslam.

During his talk, Buford said Drucker passed on three questions everyone should ask themselves during different seasons of life: "Who am I, now?" "Where do I belong?" "What’s my contribution now?"

Buford also spoke about what to look for in a great mentor. “Being a mentor is a two-way street,” he said, and advised potential mentees to find a mentor who will get as much satisfaction out of the relationship as the mentee.

Although Buford said that Drucker provided much wisdom over the years, he highlighted four specific things he contributed to his life.

“He gave me permission to be me,” Buford said, and he gave encouragement, acknowledgement, and accountability. 

Buford wrote “Halftime,” in 1994 and launched the Halftime organization in 1997. He also was the motivation behind the launch of The Drucker Institute in 2005 after Drucker’s death.

Buford is a graduate of the owner/president management program at Harvard Business School. Among other things, Buford is actively involved in the Young Presidents’ Organization and World Presidents’ Organization. He and his wife, Linda, live in Dallas.