Peter Drucker Asked Some Really Hard Questions…
Thought for the day: Genius is rarely a single moment of clarity; rather, it is a life long pursuit of small steps of focus.
Leaders often are the people willing to ask the right questions. Sometimes the right questions are the hard questions…and even occasionally are STRANGE questions. Several years ago, it was my great privilege to be with Peter Drucker in a small symposium in Claremont, California (Rick Warren was in our small gathering that day). We spent the whole day talking and learning about grand theories and practical strategies for achieving more in our settings. After we were finished, he was asked to summarize the day. He did so by asking two TOUGH questions:
1) “Based on what you have heard here today, what are you going to STOP doing”? His point was that most leaders do too much. After a day-long seminar, we did not need one more thing to do. We actually needed fewer things to do but just do them better. His question was a moment of absolute genius. All of us in the seminar were amazed at the simplicity of the concept and the difficulty of the assignment.
Here’s my question for you: If you were to stop doing something, what would it be? And, what would you then be free to pursue?
2) Drucker’s second question was “Do you know your vision well enough to say “No”? The assumption most of us have is that if our vision is clear, we’ll know what to say “yes” to. I think that Drucker’s point was that if we know our vision well, it gives us the freedom to say “NO” to things…and therefore to make our “YES” more meaningful. The question penetrated our hearts as we thought about all the personal and organizational “clutter” that we had allowed in our lives.
Great leaders ask and answer tough questions. Are there things that you or your organization can stop doing in order to do what you are doing better? When was the last time you said NO to something because it didn’t fit with your personal or organizational mission? Peter Drucker asked two hard questions, which I have ended up asking myself and others over and over again…