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

Revitalize your business with these five questions

By Peter F. Drucker
10-minute read
Audio available
The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization by Peter F. Drucker

The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization (2008) presents readers with five simple yet highly effective questions that any manager, owner or stakeholder should ask in order to increase their organization’s chances of success. While these questions are focused on non-profit organizations, the lessons are applicable to any organization seeking to make a difference.

  • Business owners, managers and other stakeholders
  • Students of business and management
  • Readers interested in improving leadership skills

Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) was a pioneer of management theory. He worked as a writer, teacher and consultant specializing in strategy for business and social sector organizations. He has authored over 30 books, including Concept of the Corporation (1946) and Post-Capitalist Society (1993).

 

© Peter F. Drucker: The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization copyright 2008, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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

By Peter F. Drucker
  • Read in 10 minutes
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  • Contains 6 key ideas
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The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization by Peter F. Drucker
Synopsis

The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization (2008) presents readers with five simple yet highly effective questions that any manager, owner or stakeholder should ask in order to increase their organization’s chances of success. While these questions are focused on non-profit organizations, the lessons are applicable to any organization seeking to make a difference.

Key idea 1 of 6

A clearly defined mission helps you keep focused on your objectives.

If you’re the leader or manager of any sort of organization, there are five questions that you should ask yourself if you want your organization to be the best that it can.

The first question is “What is our mission?” It’s the number one question because it identifies the objectives and goals that you and your organization are aiming to fulfill. The answer to the question is no less than the primary reason for your organization’s existence, and therefore it will be the guiding force and the common bond that holds your organization together.

Given how important your mission statement is, you should take care to make sure it accurately reflects the commitment, ability and hope of the organization. However, the statement should still be both accurate and concise enough to fit on a t-shirt.

While consulting at a hospital, Drucker was tasked with helping administrators come up with a new mission statement for the emergency room (ER). Their first attempt was “Our mission is health care.” However, it became apparent that the ER wasn’t caring for health as much as it was caring for illness.

They also wanted to recognize the fact that in eight out of ten cases the job of the ER staff was to tell patients their problems could be solved by a good night’s sleep. With these considerations in mind, the mission statement became “To give assurance to the afflicted.”

Immediately, the hospital found that this mission helped ER staff re-evaluate their priorities, and the patients began to be seen much quicker.

A strong mission statement can also help your organization adapt to a changing world, while not losing sight of its core objectives.

In every organization, there can come a time when your principles need to be fixed. To do this, you need to separate the flexible elements from those that are non-negotiable.

Take a modern church, for instance. If a church is to endure, it needs to recognize that people, and how they worship, change over time. Yet for the most part, the mission or ideology of a religion is non-negotiable.

Likewise, the mission of the international scientific community isn’t going to change much, even when old theories are replaced by new ones. No matter what, the core mission remains the same – the advancement of human knowledge.

Last but not least, a strong mission can help you decide whether an opportunity is right for you.

The Girl Scouts of the USA’s mission is “To help a girl reach her highest potential.” When it was offered a lucrative deal to canvas for a charity organization, the management declined as the opportunity would not help the girls to reach their potential.

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