Tag Archive: Peter Drucker

Second post in the serie concerning the Peter F. Drucker book “The Five Most Important Questions you will ever ask your organization” is: What is our mission?

The chapter comments on 4 sub-questions:

  • What is the current mission?
  • What are our challanges?
  • What are our opportunities?
  • Does the mission need to be revisited?

Creating the mission statement can be very difficult – it cannot be impersonal, it has to have deep meaning, be something you believe in – something you know is right.

Peter Drucker takes an example from a major hospital, who stated: “Our mission is health care”. Drucker worked with the hospital administration to correct this statement and turned it into “to give assurance to the afflicted”. Taking a look at the emergency room – this was exactly what they were doing. Both in case of illnesses, but also telling the 8 out 10 that a good night rest would solve the problem for them.

What I like most about this chapter is Drucker pointing out that a mission says why you do what you do, not the means by which you do it. You should be able to match the mission with the things you are doing right now – all the time. Everyone in the organisation should be able to nod and say “what I am doing contributes to the goal”. It must be clear and inspire.

In the Danish DONG energy, in the performance unit I work in our mission is “we develiver as promised – everytime”. We develop project for our oil and gas assets – and I think this mision statement follows Druckers thoughts very well. Even though I do not sit in the projects, but work on our project procedures in our project model, I can see how my daily work contributes to this goal. I create the tools for the rest of the organisation to deliver on quality, time and cost (or as promised).

…you will ever ask your organization.

The title comes from a book I bought in London in December. It is a book by Peter Drucker with some of the worlds top thinkers within management, e.g. Jim Collins and Philip Kotler. I have read a few of Druckers books already and this book will be the next in line.

The book comes from Leader to Leader institute, which is an institute focusing on leadership in the social sector a.k.a. non-profit organizations. But I believe a lot of the content and questions this book raises are surely also relevant for normal profit seeking organizations.

As I have read the introduction, I understand that it is a re-print or 2. edition from a book with same title published in the 90’s.

The Five Most Important Questions are (according to Peter Drucker) these:

1. What is our mission

2. Who is our customers

3. What does the customer value

4. What are our results

5. What is our plan

Just initially looking at the questions, I understand that is was the same questions we were struggling to answer when we had our own company. They seem simple and writing a marketing plan is also straight forward. But going just a bit under the surface you understand the complexity in the questions and how they lead to other important questions that are crucial for your business.

I will try to read the book and give some short answers and views on each question in Peter Drucker’s book The Five Most Important Questions.

I would like to dedicate a serie of posts about the famous Peter Drucker. Known to many as the “Father of modern management” and to me as a great philosopher.

Peter Drucker has over the past 50-60 years been leading on thoughts on business, entreprenourship, innovation and management. Born in 1909 he had closely followed the change from industrialization and into our known knowledge society. He wrote a ton of exciting books and articles until his death in 2005.

From Wikipedia I have gathered some of his key points:

Several ideas run through most of Drucker’s writings:

  • Decentralization and simplification. Drucker discounted the command and control model and asserted that companies work best when they are decentralized. According to Drucker, corporations tend to produce too many products, hire employees they don’t need (when a better solution would be outsourcing), and expand into economic sectors that they should avoid.
  • A profound skepticism of macroeconomic theory. Drucker contended that economists of all schools fail to explain significant aspects of modern economies.
  • Respect of the worker. Drucker believed that employees are assets and not liabilities. He taught that knowledge workers are the essential ingredients of the modern economy.
  • A belief in what he called “the sickness of government.” Drucker made nonpartisan claims that government is often unable or unwilling to provide new services that people need or want, though he believed that this condition is not inherent to democracy.
  • The need for “planned abandonment.” Businesses and governments have a natural human tendency to cling to “yesterday’s successes” rather than seeing when they are no longer useful.
  • A belief that taking action without thinking is the cause of every failure.[18]
  • The need for community. Early in his career, Drucker predicted the “end of economic man” and advocated the creation of a “plant community” where individuals’ social needs could be met. He later acknowledged that the plant community never materialized, and by the 1980s, suggested that volunteering in the non-profit sector was the key to fostering a healthy society where people found a sense of belonging and civic pride.
  • The need to manage business by balancing a variety of needs and goals, rather than subordinating an institution to a single value.[19][20] This concept of management by objectives forms the keynote of his 1954 landmark “The Practice of Management”.[21]
  • A company’s primary responsibility is to serve its customers. Profit is not the primary goal, but rather an essential condition for the company’s continued existence.[22]
  • Organization should have a proper way of executing all its business processes

Many of these points inspire me as a manager and as a person. His views are often deeply philosophical and challanging the perception of normal business.

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Let’s say it – we are going to face recession.

I remember I saw in Lithuania a CNN program where they were guessing if it would be just a slight setback or recession. People was optimistic – as was I at that moment. For me, it was just some house owners in US having some money problems.

But we are now facing the full strength of recession – maybe the worst in the history of economics. And that makes me think of the fundaments of our society.

The great thinkers of industrialization was liberals and was talking about letting the market forces, demand and supply, control the market. At these times we see companies crippled and in desperate need of help from government to survive. Worst is that the governments come to aid.

I am not particular liberal – but a bank which one year earns billions of Euros and the other year gets government help to survive gives me a wrong impression of the “liberal forces of the marketplace”. I ask these great thinkers to take stand and let these huge corporations fall to the ground.

It is a law of the market. Get too big and you will collapse – nothing is eternal – and the governments are just prolonging the death og e.g. big banks and industrial giants.


Unfortunate it is more than just financial issues – we talk normal people with normal jobs. And these people are the concern of the governments of the free liberal world. With the threat of thousands of unemployed the governments around the world sees it as a cheap cost to send a few trillions out in the market place.


My morale is: The thoeries of the industrial age is no longer valid. Something changed the game rules – and now governments are trying to compensate for this. Is it right to do? Well, the alternative is not appealing.

It proves maybe more that theories of persons like Peter Drucker is more correct. Elements as the purpose of business is to give people persons in life, that companies have a bigger social role than the aim for profit.

I would love to hear or read Peter Druckers own views on this matter.

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