7 Lessons From The Greatest Business Thinker Ever

7 Lessons From The Greatest Business Thinker Ever

Posted by Rob Davis

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10/1/14 10:01 AM

As an operations company we are always looking for ways to improve. What better person to learn from than the great Peter Drucker himself. These 7 genious lessons have had an unimaginable impact on some of the greatest companies in the world. Maybe they can help you too...


1- “Results are obtained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems. ”

Problem-based thinking: How can we divide this cake fairly?

Opportunity-based thinking: How can we bake more cakes?

If you focus on problems, at best you maintain the status quo. If you focus on opportunities, you achieve results above and beyond what already exists.

Ask yourself: Are you spending most of your time putting out fires and focusing on problems—or are you focusing on exploring new opportunities?


2- “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency that which should not be done at all.”

Sometimes we focus so much on doing all things right that we foget to ask if it's actually nesessary to do at all.  Before you try to optimize your schedule, look at it first to see what you can cut-out all-together.

What daily tasks you can eliminate or delegate? If you stopped doing it right now, what could you use that time for?


3- “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”

Every management system you put in place should make the jobs of your employees easier to do, not harder. If you have to keep pushing people to do thingsyour way—maybe it’s the wrong way.

Ask yourself: What procedures do you have in place that rarely get done? Should you reconsider if they are even necessary?


4- “If the executive lets the flow of events determine what he does, what he works on, and what he takes seriously, he will fritter himself away 'operating.'”

The most successful people don’t just show up to work and answer phones calls and put out fires. They are focused on their battle plan every day. They don’t let people just barge into their office and dump their problems on them. A successful day starts off with deciding you’re going to play on the offensive, not defensive.

Are you controling schedule? Or are you spending your time putting out fires?


5- “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes."

Unless you are constantly building on and improving your knowledge in a certain field, you are losing it. If you thought you could learn the furniture industry in business school and then never revisit that knowledge, you might as well have not learned it in the first place.

In what areas have you stopped regularly building on your knowledge? What can you do to re-kindle your learning?


6- “The three most charismatic leaders in this century inflicted more suffering on the human race than almost any trio in history: Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. What matters is not the leader's charisma. What matters is the leader's mission."

There is no “best kind" of leader. There are social ones like Mark Cuban and quiet ones like Tony Hsieh. Both have taken their organizations to unimaginable success.

What makes someone a leader is not how enthusiastic they are at the podium. What makes someone a leader is what their vision is—and how well they lead others toward it.

How clear is your mission? Does everyone in the company believe in your mission?


7- “It takes far more energy to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.”

It’s easier to go from good to great than from bad to good. Focus on growing talents into strengths instead of trying to be everything to everyone.

A person or company who is good at a lot of things is replaceable. A person or company who excels in something is indispensable.

Ask yourself: What are your core competencies? What can you do to turn those competencies into  super-powers?

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What did you think?

Which Drucker quote spoke to you most? Which one do you disagree with?

Topics: Performance