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The five most important questions

2012/01/02

It was thanks to this post by John D. Cook on abandoning projects that I got interested in Peter Drucker. So I went to ebooks.com and looked up whether there exist any ebook versions of his works. I bumped into “The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization” which is focused on non-profit and social organizations. Being a public sector worker, the book seemed a natural candidate.

The book expands on an earlier 1992 version written by Drucker and contains essays by him and other experts in the field of management. All essays are centered around five basic questions which as Drucker writes it is important to ask:

“The most important aspect of the Self-Assessment Tool is the questions it poses. Answers are important; you need answers because you need action. But the most important thing is to ask these questions.”

The five questions are:

  1. What is Our Mission?
  2. Who is Our Customer?
  3. What Does the Customer Value?
  4. What Are Our Results?
  5. What Is Our Plan?

Non-profit organizations are about changing lives and these questions are a tool to achieve this. Even without reading the explanatory essays their importance is evident (as is answering them in a sincere way). And while the book itself is not a self-assessment tool for an individual, the questions themselves are a good start.

It is beyond evident to people that know me that the concept of organized abandonment is what I liked most in the book. I’ve been (unsuccessfully) advocating a similar stance within my employer’s organization for years but I had never seen it so clearly articulated until now. Plus this time it is not only me saying this, Drucker said that too, see? IMVHO, organized abandonment is the basic evolution mechanism for organizations (public and private sector).

This is definitely a book I will revisit in six months time. To evaluate its impact on my way of thinking within my own organization and to see whether I managed to pass anything along.

PS: I bought the PDF version of the book by mistake. Normally I try to read ePub versions on my BeBook Mini, but luckily in this case the BeBook rendered the PDF adequately.

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