Anyone who owns a business is aware there are thousands of books and opinions out there regarding how to help make your business successful. Management guru Peter Drucker wrote a 100-page book titled, The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization. In this short but enlightening book, Drucker shared
everything he believed anyone needed to know about how to lead an organization and be successful in their business endeavors.
Take some time to ask your employees these crucial questions and allow them to freely answer and offer their thoughts on each one. You may find that by answering these questions together you open up a totally new view of what is important and a much stronger focus that could positively change the future of your business.
1. What is your mission?
Every business needs a reason to be, and this is most often encapsulated in a concisely worded mission statement. This shouldn't be an elaborate document you file away in a drawer, but one that your organization and people live by every day of the week. Says Drucker, "The effective mission statement is short and sharply focused. It should fit on a
T-shirt. The mission says why you do what you do, not the means by which you do it."
2. What is your plan?
Given how quickly everything changes today, it's more important to have a plan than ever. For a plan to be effective, it should comprise certain elements. According to Drucker, "A plan ... is a concise summation of the organization's purpose and future direction. The plan encompasses mission, vision, goals, objectives, action steps, a budget, and appraisal." If you or your team can't answer this question, you won't know where you're going or how you're getting there.
3. What are your results?
Every initiative you undertake will have results, which will need to be collected and reviewed. Says Drucker, "Progress and achievement can be appraised in qualitative and quantitative terms. These two types of measures are interwoven -- they shed light on one another -- and both are necessary to illuminate in what ways and to what extent lives are being changed." You and your team should make sure you know not just what your results are, but how you can evaluate them.
4. Who is your customer?
In many cases, a company's leaders are uncertain about whom, exactly, their customers are. And even if they have some idea, these leaders fail to make their customers the primary focus of their attention. According to Drucker, "Answering the question 'Who is our customer?' provides the basis for determining that customer's value, defining your results, and developing the plan." Once you figure out who your customers are, then focus your efforts on satisfying their needs.
5. What does your customer value?
The natural next step is to figure out what your customer values and what they're willing to pay for it. However, this may not be an easy question to answer. Drucker writes, "The question 'What do customers value?' -- what satisfies their needs, wants, and aspiration -- is so complicated that it can only be answered by customers themselves." While this may be the most important of the five questions, he says, it's also the one that businesses most often fail to ask themselves.