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The Great Peter Drucker

It will come as no surprise to those familiar with PRISMS, or any of our other ProEd performance programs for that matter, that Dad (Russ Granger Sr.) was a huge fan of Peter Drucker – especially since so many of Drucker’s ideas and views made their way into ProEd course content. Jeff Shore over at Entrepreneur Magazine profiles the venerable management expert, author and teacher this month with 10 critical quotes.

In the age of Google great quotes may be easy to come by, but they are deceptively difficult to formulate. Pithy, meaningful, memorable ideas that resonate – and in particular those with an ageless quality, as relevant now as they ever were – are like great poetry or especially clever copy writing. A few words, strung together for human intellectual consumption, somehow connect with us emotionally, too. We feel the essential truth of a great insight, and respond to the well-crafted articulation.

Here are a few favorites from Shore’s top ten:

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

Drucker beat the “urgent versus important” drum a lot, presumably because he saw so many examples of it in corporate America and in business in general. It’s remarkably easy to get caught in the loop of activity and feel as though something is being accomplished, when in fact you’re really only spinning your wheels. Constant evaluation is needed to determine whether activity is really and truly strategic.

“What gets measured gets improved.”

An old Drucker quote for a new generation if ever there was one. Along with a host of amazing opportunities offered us by digital channel marketing and engagement, the ability to track, monitor, and measure virtually every online activity has enabled us to optimize far more effectively than we ever could before. It has shed a whole new light on the opportunities offered by measurement. Drucker would have loved digital.

“Results are gained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems.”

I love this one because it challenges some assumptions still embedded in our business consciousness. Life itself may be able to be characterized as a series of problem-solving incidents, but business success depends largely on knowing which problems to solve and which ones to ignore. A problem employee, for example, one with behavioral or productivity issues, may loom large as a daily challenge, one that seems to demand immediate attention, but likely has little or nothing to do with actual business opportunity. And yet, how often do we divert our attention from real commercial concerns to address troublesome but ultimately inconsequential details?

Drucker is for the ages.