Issue No. 331 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting features a new book on the five Drucker Questions—jam-packed with color commentary from top leadership experts and Millennials! And this reminder: subscribe here for Drucker Mondays, as 52 guest writers share their favorite quotes and commentary from the new book, A Year With Peter Drucker.
The Well-Oiled Machine of Mediocrity!
Caution! This will mess with your misinformed mantras!
According to Peter Drucker, “All the first rate decision makers I’ve observed had a very simple rule: If you have quick consensus on an important matter, don’t make the decision. Acclamation means nobody has done the homework.”
“Bottom line, Drucker is astoundingly more relevant today than ever. He was a Millennial in his thinking before we knew of the Millennials.”
That’s the fresh insight and color commentary from Raghu Krishnamoorthy, in the new book, Peter Drucker’s Five Most Important Questions: Enduring Wisdom for Today’s Leaders, by Peter F. Drucker, Frances Hesselbein, and Joan Snyder Kuhl.
My copy of the “Five Questions” book (the 2008 version) has endured almost as many frequent flier miles as I have. So I was delighted when the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute (formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management) delivered this new hardback—commemorating 25 years of the institute’s work.
Still thin enough (90 pages, plus resources and study questions) so both staff and board members will actually read the book, this updated gem walks leaders through “The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization.” They are:
1. What is our mission?
2. Who is our customer?
3. What does the customer value?
4. What are our results?
5. What is our plan?
Drucker’s brief insights on all five questions are enhanced with new color commentary from a blue ribbon panel of leadership gurus, including: Jim Collins, Marshall Goldsmith, Philip Kotler, Jim Kouzes, Judith Rodin, V. Kasturi Rangan, and many others. Each chapter includes commentary from a Millennial writer—with stunning observations and honesty:
Commenting on “Question 3: What Does the Customer Value?” Nadira Hira writes, “It’s so tempting to believe that we know better than ever before what our customers value.” She wonders—thoughtfully—if with all of our mobile connectedness we’re using twenty-first century technology effectively.
Hira notes that the best organizations “should never stop at the first, simplest, or most available answer. They dig; they frame, and reframe; they explore all the angles they can imagine to help customers discover deeper truths about their ideal experience. From taking quick advantage of every bit of technology around, to doing as Peter F. Drucker did decades ago—talking, live and in earnest, to real customers old and new—they interrogate.”
Preach it! Over my last 10 years of consulting—one theme is consistent. It’s the very rare client that invests significant time, money, research, and snooping to discover real gold in the answers to Question 3: What Does the Customer Value?
This 2015 edition delights and surprises:
Question 1: What Is Our Mission? Heed this wisdom from Jim Collins on sticking to your mission: “Just because something is a once-in-a-lifetime funding opportunity—is merely a fact, not necessarily a reason to act.”
Question 2: Who Is Our Customer? On Uber (the global ride-sharing service) and other disrupters: “Of course, the traditional taxi drivers are outraged, and some cities have banned Uber because it is threatening the well-oiled machine of mediocrity.”
Question 3: What Does the Customer Value? Jim Kouzes: “Everything exemplary leaders do is about creating value for their customers.”
Question 4: What Are Our Results? Adam Braun’s “Millennial Takeaway” notes: “At one point a few years ago when we had built just a few schools, I wrote in my journal that if Pencils of Promise built 30 schools by the time I turned 30, I could die a happy man. Today we’ve opened more than 150. But here’s the important part—I was wrong about being able to die a happy man. I still want to do so much more. As soon as something becomes possible, you start thinking of what you can do next.”
Question 5: What Is Our Plan? Drucker lists five elements of effective plans:
• Risk Taking
On abandonment he preaches, “Ask of any program, system, or customer group, ‘If we were not committed to this today, would we go into it?’ If the answer is no, say ‘How can we get out—fast?’”
If you’ve never drilled down into these five Drucker questions, this jam-packed book of wisdom is a must-buy. Practical. Timely. It’s a do-it-yourself strategic planning tool. You’ll underline insights on every page. For example:
Kotler: “Nobody can guarantee your job. Only customers can guarantee your job.”
Drucker: “Self-assessment is the first action requirement of leadership: the constant resharpening, constant refocusing, never being really satisfied.”
Kotler (again): Marketers must understand the four customer roles often in play when a family purchases a car: initiator, influencer, decider, and buyer.
Krishnamoorthy: “You are going to the hospital to prevent diseases from happening, not just to cure what you already have. Value, therefore, has to be translated from the mind-set of the product to the mind-set of the customer.”
Drucker: “The question, What do customers value?—what satisfies their needs, wants, and aspirations—is so complicated that it can only be answered by customers themselves. And the first rule is that there are no irrational customers.”
To order from Amazon, click on the graphic below for Peter Drucker’s Five Most Important Questions: Enduring Wisdom for Today’s Leaders, by Peter F. Drucker, Frances Hesselbein, and Joan Snyder Kuhl.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) “Concentration,” one of Drucker’s five planning elements is “building on success, strengthening what does work,” he writes. But you “must choose the right concentrations, or—to use a military term—you leave your flanks totally uncovered.” So…what works now that we should strengthen even more?
2) “Risk taking,” says Drucker, must balance the short range with the long. “There is no formula for these risk-taking decisions. They are entrepreneurial and uncertain, but they must be made.” Is your organization risk-averse? If so, what opportunities have you missed?
Leadership Tip of the Day - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
As we cycle through the 20 buckets, here is an insight from Chapter 2, The Customer Bucket, in Mastering the Management Buckets. According to Bernhard Schroeder: “It’s your customers’ expectations you are trying to meet, not your own.”
The above insight is from the Oct. 14, 2015 daily eNews, "Leadership Tip of the Day." For a free subscription from the Hesselbein Institute, click here. For more insights and resources, visit the Customer Bucket webpage.
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