Quotes from Peter Drucker

22 Nov

1. Help is defined by the recipient
2. The critical question is not “How can I achieve?” but “What can I contribute?”
3. There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer. He alone gives employment.
4. It is easier to raise the performance of one leader than it is to raise the performance of a whole mass.
5. An executive should be a realist; and no one is less realistic than the cynic.
6. You cannot prevent a major catastrophe, but you can build an organization that is battle-ready, where people trust one another. In military training, the first rule is to instill soldiers with trust in their officers — because without trust, they won’t fight.
7. Listening (the first competence of leadership) is not a skill, it is a discipline. All you have to do is keep your mouth shut.
8. It is easy to look good in a boom.
9. Luck never built a business. Prosperity and growth come only to the business that systematically finds and exploits its potential.
10. The one person to distrust is the one who never makes a mistake. Either he is a phony, or he stays with the safe, the tried, and the trivial.
11. There are keys to success in managing bosses. First, put down on a piece of paper a “boss list,” everyone to whom you are accountable. Next, go to each person on the list and ask, “What do I do and what do my people do that helps you do your job?” And, “What do we do that makes your life more difficult?”
12. Workmanship is essential: In fact, an organization demoralizes itself if it does not demand of its members the highest workmanship.
13. A decision is a commitment to action. No decision has, in fact, been made until carrying it out has become somebody’s responsibility.
14. It’s much easier to sell the Brooklyn Bridge than to give it away. Nobody trusts you if you offer something for free.
15. The ultimate test of an information system is that there are no surprises.
16. Until a business returns a profit that is greater than its cost of capital, it does not create wealth — it destroys it.
17. The question has to be asked — and asked seriously — “If we did not do this already, would we go into it now?” If the answer is no, the reaction must be “What do we do now?” Very often, the right answer is abandonment.
18. Freedom is not fun. It is a responsible choice.
19. One can’t manage change. One can only be ahead of it.
20. Just go out and make yourself useful.
21. Conventional wisdom is often long on convention and short on wisdom.
22. Businessmen owe it to themselves and owe it to society to hammer home that there is no such thing as “profit.” There are only “costs”: costs of doing business and costs of staying in business; costs of labor and raw materials, and costs of capital; costs of today’s jobs and costs of tomorrow’s jobs and tomorrow’s pensions. There is no conflict between “profit” and “social responsibility.” To earn enough to cover the genuine costs, which only the so-called “profit” can cover, is economic and social responsibility — indeed, it is the specific social and economic responsibility of business. It is not the business that earns a profit adequate to its genuine costs of capital, to the risks of tomorrow and to the needs of tomorrow’s worker and pensioner that “rips off” society. It is the business that fails to do so.
23. I would hope that American managers — indeed managers worldwide — continue to appreciate what I have been saying since day one: Management is so much more than exercising rank and privilege, it’s so much more than ‘making deals.’ Management affects people and their lives, both in business and many other aspects as well. The practice of management deserves our utmost attention; it deserves to be studied.
24. Management by objectives works if you first think through your objectives. Ninety percent of the time you haven’t.
25. Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately generate into hard work.
26. So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.
27. What everyone knows is usually wrong.
28. Popularity is not leadership. Results are. Leadership is not rank, privileges, titles, or money. It is responsibility. There may be ‘born leaders,’ but there surely are too few to depend on them.
29. 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 higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.
30. Leadership is the lifting of a man’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a man’s performance to a higher standard and the building of a man’s personality beyond its normal limitations.
31. Of all the decisions an executive makes, none is as important as the decisions about people, because they determine the performance capacity of the organization.
32. In today’s marketplace, productivity is the true competitive advantage.
33. The effectiveness of an organization depends on work being done at the lowest possible organization level.
34. The one truly effective way to cut costs is to cut out an activity altogether. There is little point in trying to do cheaply what should not be done at all.
35. The best way to predict the future is to create it.

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Posted by on November 22, 2005 in Biz/Tech, Books


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