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

Drucker, Peter with Jim Collins. The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization. Third Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008.

Planning is frequently misunderstood as making future decisions, but decisions exist only in the present. You must have overarching goals that add up to a vision for the future, but the immediate question that faces the organization is not what to do tomorrow. The question is, What must we do today to achieve results? Planning is not an event. It is the continuous process of strengthening what works and abandoning what does not, of making risk-taking decisions with the greatest knowledge of their potential effect, of setting objectives, appraising performance and results through systematic feedback, and making ongoing adjustments as conditions change.

Another reason to encourage dissent is that any organization needs its nonconformist. This is not the kind of person who says, “There is a right way and a wrong way– and our way.” Rather, he or she asks, “What is the right way for the future?’ and is ready to change. Finally, open discussion uncovers what the objections are. With genuine participation, a decision doesn’t need to be sold. Suggestions can be incorporated, objections addressed, and the decision itself becomes a commitment to action. …