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The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization Paperback – April 18, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“I rarely read long tomes of hundreds of pages but this book is great; it’s short and sharp and is good practical brain food.” (B2B Marketing, October 2015)

From the Back Cover

With Peter Drucker's five essential questions and the help of five of today's thought leaders, this little book will challenge readers to take a close look at the very heart of their organizations and what drives them. A tool for self-assessment and transformation, answering these five questions will fundamentally change the way you work, helping you lead your organization to an exceptional level of performance.

PRAISE FOR The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization

"The Leader to Leader Institute has done a great service in bringing us this monograph. Good leaders come up with answers, but great leaders ask the right questions—and this wonderful work helps all leaders do exactly that."
Jim Collins, author, Good to Great and the Social Sectors

"An amazing resource that can help even the most successful organizations become more successful!"
Marshall Goldsmith, author, What Got You Here Won't Get You There, winner of the Harold Longman Best Business Book of 2007

"Peter Drucker's Five Most Important Questions continue to be the indispensable questions an organization must ask itself, regardless of size or sector, if it is determined to be an organization of the future."
Kathy Cloninger, CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA

"At a time when the need for more effective management and more ethical leadership is the moral equivalent of global warming, Drucker's common sense and courage should be modeled by everyone."
Ira A. Jackson, dean, Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, and board member, The Drucker Institute

"Nobody, not even Socrates, has ever asked better questions than Peter Drucker. All the personality, all the wisdom is here to make your work dramatically more effective."
Bob Buford, author, Halftime and Finishing Well, and founding chairman, Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; unknown edition (April 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470227567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470227565
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andrew Everett on March 12, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book offers a strategic planning framework for nonprofit organizations. It can help board members set the direction by asking five questions:

What is our mission? The mission must reflect opportunities, competence, and commitment. Drucker cautions: “Never subordinate the mission in order to get money. If there are opportunities that threaten the integrity of the organization, you must say no.”

Who is our customer? “The primary customer is the person whose life is changed through your work... Primary customers may be infants, or endangered species, or members of a future generation.” Drucker notes that customer needs evolve. “And there are customers you should stop serving because the organization has filled a need, because people can be better served elsewhere, or because you are not producing results.” Philip Kotler adds, “Our business is not to casually please everyone, but to deeply please our target customers.”

What does the customer value? “Leadership should not even try to guess the answers but should always go to the customers in a systematic quest for those answers… People are so convinced they are doing the right things and so committed to their cause that they come to see the institution as an end in itself. But that’s a bureaucracy.”

What are our results? “Look at short-term accomplishments and long-term change… One of the most important questions for leadership is, Do we produce results that are sufficiently outstanding for us to justify putting our resources in this area?”

What is our plan? “The plan begins with a mission.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first edition of Peter Drucker's self-assessment tool for organizations arrived in 1993 and introduced these five key questions: 1) What is our mission? 2) Who is our customer? 3) What does the customer value? 4) What are our results? and 5) What is our plan?

This supplementary tool (just 101 easy-reading pages) includes expanded observations from Drucker along with color commentary from six distinguished management gurus, including Jim Collins, Philip Kotler, James Kouzes, Judith Rodin (Rockefeller Foundation president), V. Kasturi Rangan (Harvard Business School), and Frances Hesselbein (chairman of Leader to Leader Institute and former CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA).

Referring to Question #5 on planning, Drucker comments, "Planning is not an event. It is the continuous process of strengthening what works and abandoning what does not, of making risk-taking decisions with the greatest knowledge of their potential effect, of setting objectives, appraising performance and results through systematic feedback, and making ongoing adjustments as conditions change."

Peter Drucker says that one benefit of a self-assessment process is that you can evaluate how you match opportunities with your competence and commitment. And he adds that the time to do a self-assessment is when you are successful, not when your leading indicators are lagging.

This is a helpful new resource for all of us. If you've ordered my new book, Mastering The Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Non-profit, be sure to read the first four chapters (buckets) that expand on the five Drucker questions: the Results Bucket, the Customer Bucket, the Strategy Bucket and the Drucker Bucket.
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I hate long boring text! This was concise, well informed, practical, and very effective. Anyone leading, serving on the board of, or simply volunteering in a third sector entity will find this book invaluable. I used it in a church setting and was very impressed with the results.
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Peter F. Drucker has been an incredible influence on me. Not only am I an admirer of his seminal work in management but also the good he advocated in his consulting service with many social sector institutions. This most recent edition of his "The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization" is like having Drucker sitting right next to you, offering his sage advice on effectiveness. In addition to Peter's writings, are chapter insights offered by leadership experts such as Frances Hesselbein, Jim Collins, and James Kouzes among others.

Drucker's Five questions are: What is our mission? Who is our customer? What does the customer value? What are our results? And, what is our plan? Though they may seem simple, an adequate answer to each should take much time and thoughtful consideration among your organizations leadership, staff, board, and customer response. All answers should also lead to action and then again assessment, asking more questions, and more answers with action and so on. The distinction between primary and secondary customers and discussion on measuring changed lives quantitatively and qualitatively is far worth the price of the book for anybody who works in the nonprofit world.

I have used these questions to direct the birth of my first organization this year as a catalytic leader, and also as a consultant and coach to several first time business owners. I have family in politics, peers in ministry, and entrepreneurial friends, all of which have benefited from working through the self-assessment process this book offers. As Drucker states; "Properly carried through, self-assessment develops skill, competence, and commitment. Active and attentive participation is an opportunity to enhance your vision and to shape the future" (p. 85).
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