Peter F. Drucker on Organizations
No management book of lists* would want to be without some of the pearls of Peter Drucker (1909–2005). Here they are.
- The poor manager costs much more than the good manager.
- The manager must above all manage self.
- Most of us are good at improving things but not doing the right things.
- Too many executives invent urgent work to get out of the things they don’t want to do.
- If more than one-third of one’s time is spent at meetings, then something is wrong.
- A manager should ask, “What are the few things I can do well?”
- Managers must be able to summarize a problem in four minutes.
- Don’t ask what can the manager do well, but what has been done well.
- Managers often don’t know how to motivate people; rather they know how to discourage them.
- A manager should not have to learn a foreign language in order to understand the research staff.
- A most important managerial quality is courage.
- Being bright does not mean that you are doing the job.
- Effectiveness is not ability nor talent, but a habit.
- Engineers and accountants are inclined to think that human beings behave like metals and figures.
- A manager must take responsibility for the advancement of personal competence.
- A manager should stand back when changing jobs and ask, What are the important new things required of me? not, How do I repeat yesterday’s successes?
- Many people are promoted on proven incompetence – incompetence is one of the few things we can prove.
- Best managers are those who think through organizational dilemmas.
- The incompetent make themselves known fast, and so do the brilliant.
- There is a lawyer hidden in almost every manager’s breast.
- Authority usually stems from character.
- People are paid to put knowledge to work.
- Advertising money is very expensive; 50 percent is wasted anyway, and it all depends which 50 percent.
- Only about ½-1 percent of promotion is really effective.
- No customer loyalty can survive a 2 percent discount.
- Markets are unsentimental.
- Customers pay for future expectations.
- There are no profits inside a business, only costs.
- It’s a social duty to make a profit.
- Few businesses lack ability – they mainly lack effectiveness.
- If an organization cannot hold or attract people, it is doomed.
- Profitability is the productivity of capital.
- Many companies have magnificent personnel policies on paper – that’s all they are.
- In determining effectiveness in your own company, look at the whole range of products and services together.
- Family businesses thrive on a great deal of sentimentality. The time comes when they can afford to be rid of the family. Family members should be put at the top only if they are really good.
- There are many companies who look for a qualified and experienced person under 40 – but with 40 years’ experience.
- There is more organized ignorance around than knowledge.
- You can usually get all the figures except those you need.
- A greater store of manuscripts than those in the Bodleian Library is to be found in the unused reports of consultants.
- The main impact of the computer so far is that it gives unlimited employment to clerks.
- Control is knowing what facts to have and what they mean.
- Information: in the office are you using it to enable you to get people to do what they are paid to do, or to do the unnecessary three times as fast?
- Information never flows up and down – mainly laterally.
- The one thing that is predictable is the unforeseen.
- Resources left to themselves reallocate themselves.
- Most people, if given the chance, do interesting work, but not necessarily work producing results.
- Everything degenerates into work.
- The purpose of routine is to enable a moron to do what a genius did yesterday.
- There are no one-dimensional problems.
*From The Smart Manager’s Book of Lists by W.J. Reddin. Used with permission.