Peter Drucker was one of the giants: a leading thinker about management, a consultant, prolific author, and educator. Though he died over 10 years ago his works are as relevant today, or more so, than the many business “books du jour” that pop up on the best seller lists from time to time.
I have three favorite quotes from Peter Drucker that I often use when mentoring entrepreneurs:
The purpose of a business is to create a customer.
It amazes me how many entrepreneurs fail to grasp this basic principle, as they are wholly focused on the supply side – their product or service – of the marketplace equation and fail to even think about the demand side, customers.
Another quote that all companies need to heed, but especially startups, is:
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
Progress has been made on this front, at least in Silicon Valley, where the concept of KPIs – Key Performance Indicators, seems to have taken root. If your startup lacks a system of KPIs it’s never too late to implement one.
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
This maxim can be used to justify having a Chief Executive Officer (vision and mission) AND a Chief Operating Office (day-to-day operations). However, when I see a startup – and I’ve seen many – with BOTH a CEO and a COO I see a top-heavy organization. Startups need to be lean; the CEO has to be both CEO and COO, and often CTO as well.
While I highly recommend reading Peter Drucker’s books, you can find more great quotes from him at BrainQuotes. Sort of a cheat sheet to Drucker’s wisdom about business.
If you’re up for reading a full book start with The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management.