Peter Drucker’s Mantras for Success

Posted: October 1, 2008 in Quotes_n_Facts
Reference: 01 Oct 08
Each time you read something Peter Drucker has said, there’s the sensation that a flash bulb has gone off inside your head. This is because the Drucker-isms, as the legendary management gurus’s mantras as known, are something you’ve always known; but rarely heard put so succinctly.

Born on November 19, 1909, Drucker was the giant who defined management and aided in the rise of the modern corporations. Over the last few decades, new gurus may have replaced Drucker, but his books and his management principles continue to be a steadfast bedrock of the corporate world.

Among the other hats he donned included that of a finance reporter in Germany early stages of his career. Drucker, who was born in Vienna, moved to England — where he had studied — to escape Hitler. He took up a job as a securities analyst for an insurance firm. Four years later, he moved to the United States, where he began his academic career.
Drucker, who has authored numerous books on the principles that should govern the corporate world, helped develop the US’s first executive MBA programme at the Claremont Graduate University; the university’s management school is known as the Peter F Drucker School of Management (it was named in his honour in 1987).

He died on November 11, 2005, disillusioned with the increasingly capitalistic trend being displayed by the business world. His principles, however, stand rock-steady and continue to inspire millions of employees, employers and entrepreneurs across the world.

·Efficiency is doing better what is already being done.

·The productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker but of the manager.

·Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.

·No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organised in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.

·The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.

·Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.

·Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.

·All one has to do is to learn to say ‘no’ if an activity contributes nothing.

·What is the first duty — and the continuing responsibility — of the business manager? To strive for the best possible economic results from the resources currently employed or available.

· People do not know that you cannot successfully innovate in an existing organisation unless you systematically abandon. As long as you eliminate, you’ll eat again. But if you stop eliminating, you don’t last long.

· Leaders shouldn’t attach moral significance to their ideas: Do that, and you can’t compromise.

· The only things that evolve by themselves in an organisation are disorder, friction, and malperformance.

· One cannot buy, rent or hire more time. The supply of time is totally inelastic. No matter how high the demand, the supply will not go up. There is no price for it. Time is totally perishable and cannot be stored. Yesterday’s time is gone forever, and will never come back. Time is always in short supply. There is no substitute for time. Everything requires time. All work takes place in, and uses up time. Yet most people take for granted this unique, irreplaceable and necessary resource.

· The really important things are said over cocktails and are never done.

· Doing the right thing is more important than doing the thing right.

· Concentration is the key to economic results. No other principles of effectiveness is violated as constantly today as the basic principle of concentration.

· Long range planning does not deal with future decisions, but with the future of present decisions.

· Leadership is not magnetic personality — that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’ — that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.

· What gets measured, gets managed.

· No decision has been made unless carrying it out in specific steps has become someone’s work assignment and responsibility

· Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.

· Meetings are a symptom of bad organisation. The fewer meetings the better.

· The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.

· Company cultures are like country cultures. Never try to change one. Try, instead, to work with what you’ve got.

· Objectives are not fate; they are direction. They are not commands; they are commitments. They do not determine the future; they are means to mobilise the resources and energies of the business for the making of the future

· Any organisation develops people: It has no choice. It either helps them grow or stunts them.

· Don’t take on things you don’t believe in and that you yourself are not good at. Learn to say no.

· If you can’t establish clear career priorities by yourself, use friends and business acquaintances as a sounding board. They will want to help. Ask them to help you determine your ‘first things’ and ‘second things.’ Or seek an outside coach or advisor to help you focus. Because if you don’t know what your ‘first things’ are, you simply can’t do them FIRST.

· Teaching is the only major occupation of man for which we have not yet developed tools that make an average person capable of competence and performance. In teaching we rely on the �naturals’, the ones who somehow know how to teach.

· Don’t travel too much. Organise your travel. It is important that you see people and that you are seen by people maybe once or twice a year. Otherwise, don’t travel. Make them come to see you.

· The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say ‘I’. And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say ‘I’. They don’t think ‘I’. They think ‘we’; they think ‘team’. They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but ‘we’ gets the credit… This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.

· Too many leaders try to do a little bit of 25 things and get nothing done. They are very popular because they always say yes. But they get nothing done.

· Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.

· The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.

· Again, let’s start out discussing what not to do. Don’t try to be somebody else. By now you have your style. This is how you get things done.

· Leaders communicate in the sense that people around them know what they are trying to do. They are purpose driven — yes, mission driven. They know how to establish a mission.

· I tell all my clients that it is absolutely imperative that they spend a few weeks each year outside their own business and actively working in the marketplace, or in a university lab in the case of technical people. The best way is for the chief executive officer to take the place of a salesman twice a year for two weeks.

· Few top executives can even imagine the hatred, contempt and fury that has been created — not primarily among blue-collar workers who never had an exalted opinion of the ‘bosses’ — but among their middle management and professional people.

· When you are the chief executive, you’re the prisoner of your organisation. The moment you’re in the office, everybody comes to you and wants something, and it is useless to lock the door. They’ll break in. So, you have to get outside the office. But still, that isn’t travelling. That’s being at home or having a secret office elsewhere. When you’re alone, in your secret office, ask the question, ‘What needs to be done?’ Develop your priorities and don’t have more than two. I don’t know anybody who can do three things at the same time and do them well. Do one task at a time or two tasks at a time. That’s it. OK, two works better for most. Most people need the change of pace. But, when you are finished with two jobs or reach the point where it’s futile, make the list again. Don’t go back to priority three. At that point, it’s obsolete.

· We suffer from over-choice: 67 varieties of toothpaste, 487 styles of shoes, 186 brands of cell phones with 137 telephone companies. We demand more variety than we could possibly need or want; and as a result, we get lost in options, opportunities, and choices. There are 87 varieties of lawyers, and 75 specialties inside medicine. The world of work can be a confusing landscape.

· That people even in well paid jobs choose ever earlier retirement is a severe indictment of our organisations — not just business, but government service, the universities. These people don’t find their jobs interesting.

· A critical question for leaders is: ‘When do you stop pouring resources into things that have achieved their purpose?’

· Morale in an organisation does not mean that ‘people get along together’; the test is performance not conformance.

· An employer has no business with a man’s personality. Employment is a specific contract calling for a specific performance… Any attempt to go beyond that is usurpation. It is immoral as well as an illegal intrusion of privacy. It is abuse of power. An employee owes no ‘loyalty,’ he owes no ‘love’ and no ‘attitudes’ — he owes performance and nothing else.

· Ideas are somewhat like babies — they are born small, immature, and shapeless. They are promise rather than fulfillment. In the innovative company, executives do not say, ‘This is a damn-fool idea.’ Instead they ask, ‘What would be needed to make this embryonic, half-baked, foolish idea into something that makes sense, that is an opportunity for us?’· Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship… the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.

· Once a year ask the boss, ‘What do I or my people do that helps you to do your job?’ and ‘What do I or my people do that hampers you?’

· Great leaders find out whether they picked the truly important things to do. I’ve seen a great many people who are exceedingly good at execution, but exceedingly poor at picking the important things. They are magnificent at getting the unimportant things done. They have an impressive record of achievement on trivial matters.

· How does one display integrity? ‘By asking, especially when taking on office: What is the foremost need of the institution�and therefore my first task and duty?’

· Ask yourself: What major change in the economy, market or knowledge would enable our company to conduct business the way we really would like to do it, the way we would really obtain economic results?

· Ask yourself: What would happen if this were not done at all?

· So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.

· The subordinate’s job is not to reform or re-educate the boss, not to make him conform to what the business schools or the management book say bosses should be like. It is to enable a particular boss to perform as a unique individual.

· Effective leaders check their performance. They write down, �What do I hope to achieve if I take on this assignment?’ They put away their goals for six months and then come back and check their performance against goals. This way, they find out what they do well and what they do poorly.

· The individual is the central, rarest, most precious capital resource of our society

· The most efficient way to produce anything is to bring together under one management as many as possible of the activities needed to turn out the product.

· The computer is a moron.

· Successful leaders make sure that they succeed! They are not afraid of strength in others.

· The CEO needs to ask of his associates, ‘What are you focusing on?’ Ask your associates, ‘You put this on top of your priority list — why?’ The reason may be the right one, but it may also be that this associate of yours is a salesman who persuades you that his priorities are correct when they are not.

· Free enterprise cannot be justified as being good for business. It can be justified only as being good for society.

· Executives owe it to the organisation and to their fellow workers not to tolerate nonperforming individuals in important jobs.

· A manager is responsible for the application and performance of knowledge.

· Accept the fact that we have to treat almost anybody as a volunteer.

· Business, that’s easily defined — it’s other people’s money.

· Few companies that installed computers to reduce the employment of clerks have realised their expectations… They now need more and more expensive clerks even though they call them ‘operators’ or ‘programmers.

· What’s absolutely unforgivable is the financial benefit top management people get for laying off people. There is no excuse for it. No justification. This is morally and socially unforgivable, and we will pay a heavy price for it.

· Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

· A man should never be appointed into a managerial position if his vision focuses on people’s weaknesses rather than on their strengths.

· Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.

· Performing organisations enjoy what they’re doing

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