meet my imaginary friend

#27 – The Essential Drucker by Peter Drucker

Did you ever have an imaginary friend when you were young?

I didn’t. And I thought: it’s not too late to start.

So meet my imaginary friend – Peter Drucker.

THE Peter Drucker.

The father of modern management, etc. etc.

Today, Peter asked me many simple questions, some which I struggle to answer.

They don’t teach you these in school.


Are you doing the right things (efficient) or are you getting the right things done (effective)?

How do you know the things you are working on are the right things?

Are you like the great majority of the people who focus on efforts rather than results?

You may be producing output. But are people using it? How can more people make use of your work?

How can you help your organization do less?

How do I perform – do I like working with others or alone? Do I work well under stress or do I prefer a structured environment? Am I better at making decisions or advising?

Am I trying to change myself even if it’s probably going to fail or am I working hard to improve the way I perform?


“the knowledge worker is, first of all, expected to get the right things done. And this means simply that the knowledge worker is expected to be effective.”

“Knowledge workers cannot be supervised closely or in detail. They can only be helped. But they must direct themselves, and they must do so toward performance and contribution, that is, toward effectiveness.”

“What happens inside any organization is effort and cost… There are only effort centers. The less an organization has to do to produce results, the better it does its job.”

“What seems to be wanted is universal genius, and universal genius has always been in scarce supply. The experience of the human race indicates strongly that the only person in abundant supply is the universal incompetent.”

“I soon learned that there is no “effective personality.” The effective people I have seen differ widely in their temperaments and their abilities, in what they do and how they do it, in their personalities, their knowledge, their interests—in fact in almost everything that distinguishes human beings.”

“Effectiveness, in other words, is a habit; that is, a complex of practices. And practices can always be learned.”

“The effective person focuses on contribution. He looks up from his work and outward toward goals. He asks, “What can I contribute that will significantly affect the performance and the results of the institution I serve?” His stress is on responsibility.”

“The great majority of people tend to focus downward. They are occupied with efforts rather than with results. They worry over what the organization and their superiors “owe” them and should do for them. And they are conscious above all of the authority they “should have.” As a result, they render themselves ineffectual.”

“Effective people find themselves asking other people in the organization, their superiors, their subordinates, but above all, their colleagues in other areas, “What contribution from me do you require to make your contribution to the organization? When do you need this, how do you need it, and in what form?”

“The man who asks of himself, What is the most important contribution I can make to the performance of this organization? asks in effect, What self-development do I need? What knowledge and skill do I have to acquire to make the contribution I should be making? What strengths do I have to put to work? What standards do I have to set myself?”

“We know very little about self-development. But we do know one thing: people in general, and knowledge workers in particular, grow according to the demands they make on themselves. They grow according to what they consider to be achievement and attainment.”

“Like one’s strengths, how one performs is individual. It is personality. Whether personality be “nature” or “nurture,” it surely is formed long before the person goes to work. And how a person performs is a “given,” just as what a person is good at or not good at is a “given.” It can be modified, but it is unlikely to be changed. And just as people achieve results by doing what they are good at, people also achieve results by performing how they perform.”

“Again, do not try to change yourself—it is unlikely to be successful. But work, and hard, to improve the way you perform.”

(Dear readers, I failed at reading and writing last week. I will move on “toward the light”.)

I’m inspired by Mark Zuckerberg’s annual projects and decided to have one of my own. Read a non-fiction book every week and write about it. Subscribe to my newsletter.


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