Peter Drucker, Business Thought Leader Known for Bringing Out the Best

Peter Drucker (November 19, 1909 – November 11, 2005), contrarian, prolific academic and management consultant, is well known for focusing on the human behavior of business instead of ‘crunching the numbers’. He believed strongly that organizations can bring out the best in people. Because of this view, large institutions and management had a social obligation to create a to take responsibility for the common good.

Drucker first coined the term “knowledge worker” in his 1959 book “The Landmarks of Tomorrow” and described the concept known today as outsourcing when he described the “front room” and “back room” of business and said: A company should be engaged in only the front room activities that are core to supporting its business. Back room activities should be handed over to other companies, for whom these are the front room activities.

Another favorite Druckerism of mine is that taking action without thinking is the cause of every failure. It’s true in business and outside of business.

Fascinated with the problem of authority Drucker was interested in the dynamics between bosses and their employees, especially when both were well-educated. Struggling companies looked to Drucker to help poke holes in their internal misunderstandings, and keep their workplace fresh. During his career he consulted with corporations such as GE, Coca-Cola, Procter and Gamble, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, and Girl Scouts of America.

Some of Peter Drucker’s notable observations include:

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
Peter Drucker

Executives owe it to the organization and to their fellow workers not to tolerate nonperforming individuals in important jobs.
Peter Drucker

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

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.
Peter Drucker

Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.
Peter Drucker

Checking the results of a decision against its expectations shows executives what their strengths are, where they need to improve, and where they lack knowledge or information.
Peter Drucker

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

Business, that’s easily defined – it’s other people’s money.
Peter Drucker

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

Most discussions of decision making assume that only senior executives make decisions or that only senior executives’ decisions matter. This is a dangerous mistake.
Peter Drucker

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.
Peter Drucker

My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.
Peter Drucker

The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.
Peter Drucker

Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.
Peter Drucker

We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.
Peter Drucker

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

People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.
Peter Drucker

Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.
Peter Drucker

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.
Peter Drucker

About the Author Bill Ringle

Bill Ringle is a CEO, former Apple exec, published author, and angel investor. Through Grow Business Now, he offers strategies and tools to elevate growth for executives and entrepreneurs from more than 46 industries. Bill has conducted nearly 200 podcast interviews on My Quest for the Best, where industry and business leaders share their secrets to success.

follow me on: