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December 17, 2008

The IDB Project | Chapter 11

The IDB Project is a series of posts sharing summaries, snippets, and takeaways from INSIDE DRUCKER’S BRAIN (Jeffrey Krames)


Life-and-death Decisions

“Without a decision maker, you’ll never make a decision.”Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker stressed the importance of leadership within an organization because, without leadership, too much dithering and not enough decision-making would happen. In Drucker’s words, not making a decision “is as long-lasting in its consequences or as difficult to unmake.”

A company has life-and-death decisions to make every day. These life-and-death decisions concern people and priorities.

People Decisions
Whom to hire, fire, and promote rank as the most important of all decisions a company can make. Courage, character, discipline, and confidence are some of the qualities Drucker believe great employees should possess. (For more qualities, re-read Ch. 9 of The IDB Project.)

Peter Drucker emphatically contended, “Any manager or individual who does not perform at a high level should be removed.” He had little patience for holding onto to under-delivering employees because ultimately, their under-delivering will negatively impact the long-term prosperity of the business.

Interestingly, Drucker has a unique take on whom to promote. “I would never promote a man into a top level job who had not made mistakes, and big ones at that. Otherwise he is sure to be mediocre.” (THE PRACTICE OF MANAGEMENT, 1954)

Priority Decisions
In MANAGING FOR RESULTS (1964), Drucker explained, “Economic results require that staff efforts be concentrated on the few activities that are capable of producing significant business results. Managers must minimize the amount of attention devoted to products which produce primarily costs.”

Drucker preached a business is more effective when it is more selective. While not a mantra of his, “Fewer. Bigger. Better.” sums up Drucker’s thinking. Meaning, it is critical for companies to focus on fewer priorities designed to have bigger impact to deliver better results.

Next, Chapter TWELVE of the The IDB Project.


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