12 classic quotes from Peter Drucker

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Ian Hawkins

Drucker quote the best way to predict the future is to create it

Peter Drucker was described by BusinessWeek Magazine as 'the man who invented management'. Agree or not, he was certainly a key figure behind the philosophy of management and business leadership, a prolific author, and originator of many a manager's mantra. Here are 12 of his classic quotations that have stood the test of time well into the digital age (number 8 is practically the First Law of RPA); if some of them feel familiar, it's likely they've been replicated on a keyring, coaster or motivational poster hanging in a reception near you. 

1. The purpose of a business is to create a customer.

2. Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

3. The new information technology... internet and email... have practically eliminated the physical costs of communications.

4. The best way to predict the future is to create it.

5. My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.

6. Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.

7. People who don't take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.

8. There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

9. We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.

10. Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.

11. Management by objective works - if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time you don't.

12. No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.


Is Peter Drucker your go-to guru, or do you think he's less relevant in a world of automation? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.