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The 5 best questions of the year

This year I’ve run across a wonderful piece of Peter Drucker’s legacy. I always admired his insight and focus on the essential. With this piece on “The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization” Drucker wanted to help non-profits manage their organizations. It turns out he help the rest of the world as well. The questions are: 

1) What is our mission? – what a great question to focus what you are all about. While it might seem easy, it usually is not. Try letting people write down their understanding of the mission and it becomes clear that a clear mission is a lot of work. It also cuts right at the question on how to react to change inside and outside of the organization.

2) Who is our customer? – Peter Drucker recommends to look at 2 types of customers. The typical customer who buys the services or products. And then the internal customer that you need to deliver those. Like employees. Only through good understanding of your target will the organization be focused.

3) What does the customer value? – what do customers want. Now that always seems obvious, but working in an organization it is easy to overshoot the market, to deliver non-essentials and loose essentials. It requires constant renewal to focus on the costumer’s value and not just through study, but through going there and feeling their pain.

4) What are our results? – focusing on outputs. Another great question for a team. While this also seems trivial, I hardly see any organization that agrees on this. Top management overestimates the understand of the employees and if there is little agreement on this, there is a lot of waste.

5) What is our plan? – out of all the first questions you bild the plan.


The leader of the past was a person who knew how to tell. The leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask,” – Peter Drucker – .


Applied to Obama’s campaign: Obama’s Drucker-style win (business week)


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