Peter Drucker's Five Most Important Questions
Peter Drucker's Five Most Important Questions provides insightful guidance and stirring inspiration for today's leaders and entrepreneurs. By applying Drucker's leadership framework in the present context of today's leaders and those who lead with them, this book is an essential resource for people leading, managing and working in all three sectors - public, private and social. Readers will gain new perspectives and develop a solid foundation upon which to build a successful and bright future. They will learn how to focus on why they are doing what they're doing, how to do it better, and how to develop a realistic, motivational plan for achieving their goals. This brief, clear, and accessible guide - peppered with commentary from distinguished management gurus, contemporary entrepreneurs and dynamic millennial leaders - will challenge readers and stimulate spirited discussion and action within any organization, inspiring positive change and new levels of excellence. In addition to contributions from Jim Collins, Marshall Goldsmith, and Judith Rodin, the book features new insights from some of today's most influential leaders in business (GE and Salesforce.com), academia (Harvard Business School and Northwestern University), social enterprise (Levo League, Pencils of Promise and Why Millennials Matter) and the military (United States Military Academy), who have been directly influenced by Drucker's theory of management.
Peter F. Drucker is known as the 'father of modern management,' and is a best-selling author of thirty-two books including the best-seller The Effective Executive. He is world-renowned thinker on leadership and management and his work has been featured in every major business periodical. A consultant to senior executives for more than fifty years Drucker passed away in 2005. Since Drucker's death, interest in him, his concepts and his books has only grown. His ideas continue to be as relevant today as they were when he first voiced them.
Frances Hesselbein is the President and CEO of The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute, founded as The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management and renamed to honor Hesselbein's legacy and ongoing contributions. Hesselbein was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of America's highest civilian honor, by President Clinton in 1998 for her leadership as CEO of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. from 1976 - 1990, as well as her service as "a pioneer for women, volunteerism, diversity and opportunity." In 2009, the University of Pittsburgh introduced The Hesselbein Global Academy for Student Leadership and Civic Engagement to produce experienced and ethical leaders who will address critical national and international issues and advance positive social and economic initiatives throughout the world. Hesselbein is the recipient of twenty-one honorary doctoral degrees. She is editor-in-chief of the award-winning quarterly journal Leader to Leader and is the coeditor of twenty-seven books in twenty-nine languages. Hesselbein has traveled to sixty-eight countries representing the United States. She is the author of Hesselbein on Leadership, My Life in Leadership and More Hesselbein on Leadership. You can follow Hesselbein on twitter @ToServeIsToLive.
Joan Snyder Kuhl has over 13 years of corporate management experience working in the roles of sales, marketing, organizational effectiveness, training and development at Eli Lilly, Forest Laboratories and Actavis, Inc. After a decade as a campus speaker, mentor and coach to thousands of Millennials from around the world, Joan Snyder Kuhl launched Why Millennials Matter . Why Millennials Matter is a Gen-Y speaking, research, training and consulting company based in New York City that focuses on raising awareness to employers about the value of investing in their younger workforce and the Millennial consumer segment. She is an int
Peter Drucker's Five Most Important Questions
Who Is Our Customer?
Peter F. Drucker
Who is our primary customer?
Who are our supporting customers?
How will our customers change?
Not long ago, the word customer was rarely heard in the social sector. Nonprofit leaders would say, "We don't have customers. That's a marketing term. We have clients . . . recipients . . . patients. We have audience members. We have students." Rather than debate language, I ask, "Who must be satisfied for the organization to achieve results?" When you answer this question, you define your customer as one who values your service, who wants what you offer, who feels it's important to them .
Social sector organizations have two types of customers. The primary customer is the person whose life is changed through your work. Effectiveness requires focus, and that means one response to the question, Who is our primary customer? Those who chase off in too many directions suffer by diffusing their energies and diminishing their performance. Supporting customers are volunteers, members, partners, funders, referral sources, employees, and others who must be satisfied. They are all people who can say no, people who have the choice to accept or reject what you offer. You might satisfy them by providing the opportunity for meaningful service, by directing contributions toward results you both believe in, by joining forces to meet community needs.
The primary customer is never the only customer, and to satisfy one customer without satisfying the others means there is no performance. This makes it very tempting to say there is more than one primary customer, but effective organizations resist this temptation and keep to a focus-the primary customer.
Identify the Primary Customer
Let me give you a positive example of identifying and concentrating on the primary customer in a complex setting. A mid-sized nonprofit organization's mission is to increase people's economic and social independence . They have twenty-five programs considered to be in four different fields, but for thirty-five years they have focused on only one primary customer: the person with multiple barriers to employment . In the beginning, this meant the physically handicapped. Today, it still means people with disabilities but also single mothers who want to be finished with welfare, older workers who have been laid off, people with chronic and persistent mental illness living in the community, and those struggling against long-term chemical dependency. Each belongs to a single primary customer group: the person with multiple barriers to employment. Results are measured in every program by whether the customer can now gain and keep productive work.
The primary customer is not necessarily someone you can reach, someone you can sit down with and talk to directly. Primary customers may be infants, or endangered species, or members of a future generation. Whether or not you can have an active dialogue, identifying the primary customer puts your priorities in order and gives you a reference point for critical decisions on the organization's values.
Identifying Supporting Customers
The Girl Scouts of United States of America is the largest girls' and women's organization in the world and a nonprofit that exemplifies service to one primary customer-the girl-balanced with satisfaction of many supporting customers, all of whom change over time. A long-held Girl Scouts priority is offering equal access to every girl in the United States. This has not changed since 1912 when the Girl Scouts founder said, "I have something for all the girls." Frances Hesselbein, at the time she was national executive director (1976-1990), told me, "We look at the projections and understand that by the year 2000, one-third of this country will be m