Tag Archives: Peter Drucker

Newest Forecasting Questions from Superforecasting Open Judgment Group

Many of you attended or have listened to the synopsis I gave on Superforecasting:  The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner (Crown Books, 2016) at the First Friday Book Synopsis.

Here is a follow-up with some of the questions that participants are forecasting from the Good Judgment Open Group:

Newly Published Questions

Most Forecasted Questions

Three New Debut Best-Sellers

There are three  hardcover business books that debuted on today’s Wall Street Journal best-selling list (May 28-29, p. C 16).

They are:

# 4 – NEVER SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE by Christopher Voss (Harper Business)

# 5 – YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A SHARK by Robert Herjavec (St. Martin’s Press)

#10 – MAKERS AND TAKERS by Rana Foroohar (Crown Business)

We will watch to see which of these, if any, make the New York Times business best-seller list.  That is our primary source for selecting books for the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas.  Click here for information about our monthly event.

Of interest, our August selection at the FFBS, The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass) climbed from # 7 to # 3 this week.  The Chris Anderson book, TED:  A Guide to Public Speaking (Houghton-Mifflin) dropped from # 3 to # 9 this week.

Conditioning + Fundamentals + Unity – Coach John Wooden’s Formula for Success

• “Success is peace of mind which is s direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

• For Coach Wooden, 10 national championships are summed up in the simplicity of an elegant formula:
10 = C + F + U
(Conditioning + Fundamentals + Unity).
John Wooden, Wooden on Leadership


I have recently revisited the book Wooden on Leadership (I presented my synopsis of this book for the first time back in March, 2006).  John Wooden was the coach of the unequalled UCLA Men’s basketball Team.  He led them to 10 national championships, (number two on that list is a tie between Adolph Rupp and Mike Kryzewski, with four each.  Look at that number again – the two #2 coaches have four titles each, Coach Wooden has ten!).  His other records are almost too numerous to list.  So, in other words, in Men’s Basketball, there is Coach Wooden, and everyone else…

Coach John Wooden receiving the Medal of Freedom from President Bush

Recently, President Obama announced that the great Women’s Basketball Coach Pat Summitt would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestorwed by a president.  Pat Summitt may be the only true peer to Coach Wooden (or, maybe, Coach Wooden may the the only true peer to Coach Summitt).  She won 8 national championships with the Women’s team at Tennessee, but, sadly, her career was cut short with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  When she receives her honor, that will increase the number of basketball coaches on the list to two – Coach Summit and Coach Wooden.  (President George W. Bush awarded the medal to Coach Wooden in 2003).

In revisiting Wooden on Leadership, I learned again that what matters is basic, simple…  His pyramid is legendary, but his approach is pretty fully revealed in that simple formula above.

Conditioning + Fundamentals + Unity. 

Pretty good advice for all of us.

Conditioning:  Coach Wooden wanted his player to still have their energy and focus in the last minutes of each game.  That required conditioning.

We are not a very fit nation.  Obesity is on the rise.  And every extra pound lowers our stamina just a bit.  And lower stamina means  a little less energy to do our work, and definitely makes it harder to maintain our focus.

Coach Wooden ran tight practices, planned to the minute.  He believed that a two hour practice, well-planned and run, was more valuable than any longer practice that was not organized well.  From his book:

You “expand time” with proper organization and execution – an hour becomes longer than 60 minutes.  A well-organized leader can get more done in two hours than a poorly organized coach gets done in two days.

Fundamentals:  what are the basics?  For Coach Wooden, he literally started every season with a meticulous lesson/demonstration on how to put on your socks.  Without learning this true fundamental, players developed too many blisters.  (And his former players would remember this, and refer to it, for a lifetime).   The question “What are the basics?” needs to be revisited time and time again.

In a recent presentation of this synopsis to a group of leaders within an organization, I began with Peter Drucker’s three foundational questions:

What is your business?
Who is your customer?
What does your customer consider value?

And then, I referred to the process of answering these three questions as the business basics – the business fundamentals.

Unity:  No matter how talented any one player is, when that person undermined team unity, the team suffered.  Coach Wooden wrote:

The star of the team is the team.
It takes ten hands to score a basket.

Team unity, organizational unity…  these are critical.  Any threat to such unity must be dealt with, and quickly…

I have read a lot of books on leadership.  But this one should be close to first on any leadership reading list.  It reminds us all of the starting point, the basics, the true essence of leadership.  Read it.  I think it will make you want it be a better leader, and a better person.


Take a good luck at Coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success.  It provides quite a life-long agenda…

Click on image for larger view

The Five Issues – for Organizational Success

What do you need to focus on for organizational success?  I think the number of issues is small.  But so very few organizations master these.

Assuming you know and are successfully focused on your actual business (a big assumption — Peter Drucker:  “What is your Business?”), here’s my current list:

1)    Build leaders
2)    Engage employees
3)    Find and nurture genuinely happy customers
4)    Always improve, and always innovate
5)    Build and maintain exceptional quality, regardless of your “product”

I can think of “subsets” for each of these.  For example, to take just one:  in order to always innovate, you need to break down silos and practice continual collaboration…

And, I think these same issues cross all industries.

And there may be others…

What would you take away from, or add, to this list?

Lifelong Learning – One Life-Long String of Refresher Courses

“The only job security is found in your own ability to keep learning!”
Peter Drucker

“Through learning, we re-create ourselves.”
Peter Senge


We all know the challenge – to keep learning.  But, in most cases, learning is not learning something new, but instead, remembering what we knew, but forgot — or remembering what we knew, but never actually implemented.  (back to that knowing-doing gap).

Thus, one way to look at the lifelong learning challenge is as one life-long string of Refresher Courses.

I thought of this as I was perusing CoxToday (the Spring, 2011 issue:  you can download the issue here), the publication of the Cox School of Business at SMU.  In “What Do Recruiters Look For In BBA Graduates?”  Paula Hill Strasser, MBA Business Leadership Center and BBA Leadership Institute, describes key skills, especially “soft skills,” that are quite important in landing those first jobs, and then succeeding in those jobs.  She lists 4 primary ones, and then a few others:

1)    Good presentation skills (“Communication is first”).
2)    Excellent writing
3)    Leadership Skills
4)    International Immersion
5)    and those soft skills like:  professionalism, strong work ethic, negotiation skills, conflict management skills, team building skills…

Strasser:  “There is a belief that soft skills have become the hard skills for many new hires because it’s easy to measure quantitative skills.”

Here’s my thought.  SMU may realize that these are critical to their graduates as they start out in their business careers, but in our experience (my work with Karl Krayer, and others), this list represents the perpetual curriculum for the business refresher course learning that can never stop.

Think about it:  have you ever sat through a less than stimulating presentation; have you ever heard of a poorly functioning team; have you ever seen the effects of a mediocre (or worse) leader?  These cry out for some serious, ongoing refresher work.  None of these are skills that you can learn, master, and then never need to refresh.

Companies provide training, mentors, “CEUs,” but it really is up to the individual to take advantage of such opportunities.  And each individual has to take the opportunity seriously – that is, actually learn.  You know:  you can lead a horse to water….

And if a company or organization has not built a culture of lifelong learning, you will see these skills diminish.  It simply takes constant attention, with regular, perpetual, ongoing refresher efforts.

What about you?  Are you regularly refreshing your knowledge, practicing your skills, and staying current?  If not – it’s time to start.  So…start!


(disclosure:  I am an instructor in the Edwin L. Cox Business Leadership Center at the Cox School of Business — a wonderful program for their students).

Clarity; Focus; Definition; “What kind of company do you want to be?” – observation/insight from Farhad Manjoo

The incoherence, I think, is a sign of something deeper: Research in Motion doesn’t know what kind of company it wants to be.
Farhad Manjoo, What on Earth Happened to BlackBerry?:  Research in Motion’s new tablet is a misguided mess.


I know practically nothing about technology.  I use a Mac, an iPhone, and I’m on a waiting list for the iPad 2.  These are made for a non-techie like me.

But I like to read Farhad Manjoo on Slate.com.  He teaches me, enlightens me, and though he must be some kind of techie genius, he writes in language I can understand.

In an article on the current state of Research in Motion (Blackberry), this quote jumped out at me:

The incoherence, I think, is a sign of something deeper: Research in Motion doesn’t know what kind of company it wants to be.

Of course, it reminds us of Peter Drucker’s famous first question:

“What is your business?” 
(Drucker’s other two questions:  “Who is your customer?  What does your customer consider value?”)

Clarity; focus; definition.  These are not “modern,” innovative” concerns.  These are always absolutely required for business success.

What kind of company do you want to be?  Start there, and start building. And if you ever forget this — if you can’t answer this in a crisp, short, coherent, sentence — then it’s time to start over.