Peter Drucker Quotes
Wisdom from the giant of giants!
Wisdom from the giant of giants!
Searching for Peter Drucker quotes? Peter Drucker (1909 to 2005) influenced management thinking like few others. In our view his ideas should be essential reading for any manager or student of management.
Since writing “The Practice of Management” in 1955, Drucker led the way in developing the modern discipline of management. No site discussing a “better way to manage” could omit the wisdom of Drucker. We frequently draw on the wisdom and insights that Drucker’s writing brought to management theory. So, whether you’re studying for a business management degree, or simply keeping yourself up-to-date as a practicing manager, enjoy reading this collection of Drucker quotes.
In addition to the excellent selection of quotes below, you’ll also find many articles on this site which use Peter Drucker quotes to illustrate a point. Few have put things better than Drucker. For example, we discuss Drucker’s advice on looking to the future in our article: “Business Goal Setting Using the F Plan“. We also relate several of Drucker’s stories which powerfully illustrate his thinking on management.
In The Key Success Factor in Getting Things Done we use Drucker’s story about William Pitt the Younger to illustrate what really matters in management.
Some of Drucker’s thoughts on real leadership are distilled in a story about motivation in the workplace. This article asks the question – how do you define your work? Drucker’s story helps to answer that challenging but critical question.
We’ve included a wider selection of links to our articles built on Drucker’s wisdom at the end of this page. Surely the best place to start though is here, with some of Drucker’s most insightful quotes. They are as relevant for practicing managers, as they are for those studying a business and management degree, or those doing both on an executive MBA program.
So here are some of our favourite Peter Drucker quotes – pointing to a better way to manage.
Firstly, some Peter Drucker quotes which are short, to the point, and will hopefully give you cause to think:
A major focus of this site is the recognition that a strength-based approach to management is needed. Although we might intuitively agree with this statement, so much of what we see in organisations is a focus on weaknesses and correcting problems. There is a growing emphasis on the need to address this mis-direction, to build on strengths rather than weaknesses, though this “modern” thinking is not really new at all.
Ever ahead of his time, Peter Drucker was advocating just such an approach, from as early as the 1950’s.
From one of his first books: the Practice of Management(1955), we can see an early Peter Drucker quote depicting a visionary theme which remained constant throughout his writing:
He went on in his later work to keep emphasising:
In summary, Drucker’s advice on a strength-based approach is:
Drucker constantly emphasised the responsibility of an organisation in developing its people. As ever Drucker didn’t hold anything back when he argued that:
Asking good questions is a powerful way to focus on what matters. In our article “The Best Management Tools Ever” we ask how can you develop the right questions to ask.
What better place to start than with questions asked by a leading thinker? Here are some Peter Drucker quotes to help you ask the right questions. Firstly, one to ask yourself:
On the first duty of a manager:
Questions to ask about where performance really matters:
To find time-wasters ask:
A question to ask about the future:
What about questions to ask when testing a good idea?
These Peter Drucker quotes demonstrate how he was able to make questions about crucial business issues resonate on a personal level:
Have you ever wondered how one of the most influential management thinkers of his time chose which clients he would work with? One of our favourite Peter Drucker quotes, poses that very question. The answer, in this and other quotes below, succinctly echoes a key element of “The Happy Manager” ethos:
Drucker argues that
Another Peter Drucker quote has stood the test of time. Written in his 1955 book “The Practice of Management”, it defines an element of leadership which every good manager would be wise to consider:
(Apologies for the apparent gender bias. We’re sure it wasn’t intended!)
As we have seen elsewhere, happiness is not simply the pursuit of pleasure. Happiness is seeking a balance between pleasure, commitment and meaning – a sense of purpose in one’s life. Happy managers will find it useful to apply this thinking to themselves, and to the people they manage. This final quote again echoes this fundamental philosophy of “The Happy Manager”. Drucker argued that the critical question we should all ask ourselves is not:
“How can I achieve?” but “What can I contribute?”
An excellent source of Peter Drucker quotes is his book The Daily Drucker containing insights and quotations for each day of the year, this book is well worth adding to your own management library. An essential desktop companion for every manager, it contains an inspirational thought or idea for every day, followed by an action point. “The Daily Drucker is for anyone who seeks to understand and put to use Drucker’s powerful words and ideas.”
You can also see our must read page in our Book Shop which includes some of the books used to gather the Peter Drucker quotes found on this page.
If you’ve enjoyed reading these Peter Drucker quotes then, as promised, here is a wider selection of articles building on the wisdom of Drucker.
We’ve already pointed you to three of our key Peter Drucker articles:
You might also be interested in Leadership Quality: Seeing the Bigger Picture. This article contains the famous stonecutter story, which illustrates Drucker’s knack for finding a different angle!
We end our article Valuing a Good Manager with a critical question from one of Drucker’s short stories. “Would you want one of your sons to be managed by this person…?”
Next you might like to read our articles based on his books. Books which we whole-heartedly endorse!
Peter Drucker on The Profession of Management. Peter Drucker is widely regarded as the father of modern-day management. This book is a collection of his landmark articles with the Harvard Business Review.
Finally, you’ll also find Peter Drucker quotes in our other quotes articles. These help to see how his depth of thinking can be used in a variety of contexts:
If you’re looking for more resources on motivation at work, we’ve bundled together these six PDF e-guides to help you put motivation at the heart of performance. At half the normal price! Read the guides in this order and use the tools in each. These guides are great value, packed with practical advice, tips and tools on how to motivate yourself (and others) to perform. (6 pdf guides, 176 pages, 26 tools, 15 tips and 22 insights for half price!)
Excellent information to get everything back into perspective.
I am currently producing learning materials to support the Institute of Leadership and Management’s VRQ at Level 4 and would like to incorporate some of your stuff into the workbooks.
Excellent really helpful!!
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