Peter Drucker passed away on November 11, 2005. He left a wealth of knowledge and keen insight in the areas of management and leadership. In fact, some might say that Peter Drucker and management are synonymous. Long recognized as the “father of modern management,” Forbes once called him the most perceptive observer of the American scene since Alexis de Tocqueville. Drucker’s wisdom has shaped the mission and strategy of countless organizations.
Here are ten of the most profound lessons that I’ve learned from Drucker:
1. The mission comes first. The mission of nonprofits (including churches) is changed lives.
2. To manage your time, you need to know where it goes. The only way to know where you spend your time is to log it. Your memory tells you that you spend time where you think you should spend your time, but it’s wrong.
3. An organization begins to die the day it begins to run for the benefit of the insiders and not for the benefit of the outsiders.
4. Know the value of planned abandonment…you must decide what not to do.
5. Know the value of foresight…you can’t predict the future, but you must assess the futurity of present events.
6. Focus on opportunities, not on problems. Most organizations assign their best resources to their problems, not their opportunities.
7. Management is a social function and has mostly to do with people, not techniques and procedures.
8. People decisions are the ultimate control mechanism of an organization. That’s where people look to find out what values you really hold.
9. All work is work for a team. No individual has the temperament and the skills to do every job. The purpose of a team is to make strengths productive and weaknesses irrelevant.
10. The three most important questions are “What is our business?”, “Who is the customer?”, and “What does the customer consider value?”