Drucker : Decision Basics

We have come a long way on this adventure. We started by asking the question – how can I know what is worth selling? Put another way, how do people come up with really great ideas that help others?

Figuring this out is an adventure. But not like jumping out of airplanes or swimming with sharks. It is an adventure in how we approach what we do every day.

Here is a recap. Peter made the point that this means we need to learn how to be more “effective” – to value how to get “effects” from ourselves and others. This is at the core of a modern idea – progress, moving things forward. BTW, check out this quote from Crane Brinton

That life for all mankind here on this earth can be better … is at least as a generally shared belief or hope among the mass of mankind, only a few centuries old.

And we now take it for granted. Peter Drucker argues that making this happen is just a matter of practicing the right skills.

We need to practice using time better in order to get more creative and to get more creative work from others

We need to learn to ask the right question – every day. Remember the question?

We need to learn how to see and use strengths, rather than try to fix weaknesses

We need to understand and build focus – say “no” to good stuff.

And there is one more thing to master — and that is how to make great decisions. From my experience, this is the most challenging of the lot. Why? Because a decision changes us and the world around us. And no one loves change so much that we want to “push the button” and let go of the past. We are just not wired to do that.

Yet decisive people do that as they need to. They meet challenges with great decisions and we admire them for it. It is a high complement to call someone “decisive”. But what does it mean? What is different about those persons? And can we learn how to do this?

Peter Drucker argues we can.

The first thing to understand is that decision making IS hard. It saps our energy and distracts us from the flow of events around us. So we don’t want to do it very much. We want to make a few great decisions – not a lot of small ones. So an alarm bell should go off if you face tough decisions every day. Something aint right.

Second, we need to know what we are looking for in the decision. One very important point here is that we will be measuring effects not inputs. In other words, great decisions have great effects — even if they are more expensive than we might like. You might keep saying this to yourself – think EFFECTS not EFFORTS,.

To get a sense of this, let’s play a game. Let’s group people into 3 groups. They are (1) givers – people who instinctively think about what the people around them need and then try to give it regardless of what they get back, (2) takers – people who instinctively think about how to get more back than they give to others, and (3) matchers – people who believe in fairness in all things. They give and take proportionally.

So – which group is the least successful in life? What do you think? And which group is the most successful in life? The answers are below.

So how to see great effects? First things first – to get a sense of the effect of a decision, we need to properly frame the question we are asking. We need to think in terms of issues first — NOT FACTS. We need to SEE THE ISSUE – rather than look at the facts.

Remember this — issues first then facts. NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

I will get into why this is so critical tomorrow.

answer – the givers are the least successful and the givers are also the most successful. The takers and the matchers are in the middle. Why? Strategic giving can have a HUGE and CASCADING effect. Takers and matchers cannot achieve this. Read more!

Givers, Takers, and Matchers: The Surprising Science of Success


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