on September 9, 2003
This delightful book is a collection of essays and interviews by Peter Drucker concerning the management, mission, performance strategies, people development and leadership development of the non-profit organization. The format of essay and interview gives the reader not only the wisdom of Druckers insights, but also the wisdom and practical applications of those who manage non-profits organizations. I am especially appreciative that Drucker did not ignore the church in this book; his insights to church management are worth the price of this book.
I have heard of this sage of business and economics for years, but have never had the privilege of reading one of his books. His advice is born out of years of experience in the business community. He has a knack to communicate complex ideas with simple words. The fact that his book was not especially written for churches (although it does not ignore them) is one of its greatest strengths for the pastor. It demonstrates that service is service; mission is mission; and leadership is leadership, no matter what the nature of the non-profit is. As I looked at the examples given in the text I can see the strength and weaknesses of the church.
It is a book full of helpful advice. Some of Druckers insights are: the importance of mission over natural charisma; one does not have to be a dynamic leader to do great things. It is important to set high standards for your people to aim at. Good intentions are not enough; one needs a plan, marketing, people and money to get good results. Leadership takes courage. Good ideas are a dime a dozen; we need people with ability and willingness to get results. It is important that we see the community and not church members as our consumer base. Change takes time, so be patient.
It's a great book for any leader of any non-profit.
on January 24, 2003
REVIEW: It has been said that the non-profit sector has been slow to accept the value of management education and practices basically because of the assumption that "management" means "business management". This book clearly bridges that gap and explains lucidly what makes for achieving non-profit leaders and effective non-profit institutions. The book is not a theoretical work or an academic one. It is rather an extremely practical show-and-tell about being a great manager in a non-profit organization. It is almost a "how-to" but doesn't stoop to the level of the ubiquitus but never effective "10 step program". You will be more effective by absorbing this material.
Drucker has done an excellent job at extracting material from three of his management books: The Effective Executive, Managing for Results, and a little bit of Innovation and Entrepreneurship [Note, these three are available as a collection called The Executive in Action]. The material is presented simply, concisely and is completely targetted to the non-profit sector with many examples including interviews with about 6-7 non-profit leaders. Highly recommended.
STRENGTHS: The book is fairly short, consise, easy to read yet full of great content. Each section includes a brief summary at the end and has at least one interview with a non-profit manager that makes the ideas even more practical.
WEAKNESSES: The book could use some select references to his other works and some graphics. But this is not Drucker's style.
WHO SHOULD READ THIS BOOK: Managers/leaders in the non-profit sector should consider this a must read. Other fans of Drucker that would like a refresher on some of his concepts.
on October 17, 2003
Non-profit institutions, the agents of human change, have moved from the margins to the center of American society because government has limited ability to perform social tasks. As non-profits are the nation's biggest "employer" when considering the numbers of hours contributed by volunteers they need good management. There is not much material available to help non-profit leaders and management with such areas as mission, strategy, organization, marketing, raising money, innovation, use of volunteers and human resources, the role of the board, and relationships with a diversity of constituencies. This lack of material combined with high levels of commitment may contribute to the high rate of burnout. Although non-profit institutions have been America's resounding success and growth industry over the last fifty years they still receive only 2-3% of GNP while the share for medicine and education has increased several times. Drucker considers the first task ahead for non-profits to be the conversion of "donors" into "contributors." Contributing time to a non-profit gives people a sense of community, purpose, direction and the ability to perform and achieve. But most non-profits still have to learn this. This book therefore sets out to do two things: provide advice from the business world appropriate to the non-profit and, through interviews with distinguished non-profit performers, show what can and should be done.
The book has five sections, the first being "The Mission Comes First: and your role as a leader." I provide a few snippets that were particularly meaningful to me. Some mission statements work while others don't work, the ultimate test being right action. Almost every hospital says "Our mission is health care" which is wrong because no one can tell you what action or behavior follows. The mission statements for some colleges are confused. On the other hand Sears Roebuck went from a near-bankrupt, struggling mail-order house at the beginning of the last century into the world's leading retailer within less than ten years by having a mission statement that was operational and focused on what they tried to do so that each person involved can say "This is my contribution to the goal." When an emergency room got its mission statement right, everyone was seen by a qualified person in less than a minute. But missions have to be reviewed, revised and perhaps measures need to be taken for organized abandonment. Things that were of primary importance may become secondary or totally irrelevant. The author tells us to watch this carefully or we may become a museum piece.
To get the mission statement right, there are a number of searching questions that must be asked such as "where can we, with our limited resources, make a difference?", "can we set a new standard?", "what are the opportunities or needs?", "do they fit us?", "can we do a good job?", "are we competent?", "do the needs match our strengths?" and "do we really believe in this?" The author closes this section with the following paragraph:
"So you need three things: opportunities; competence; and commitment. Every mission statement, believe me, has to reflect all three or it will fall down on what is its ultimate goal, its ultimate purpose and final test. It will not mobilize the human resources of the organization for getting the right things done."
In the section "Leadership is a Foul-Weather Job" Drucker takes a refreshingly different approach by recalling that Winston Churchill was the most successful leader of the last century. But from 1928 to 1940 he was on the sidelines and almost discredited because there was no need for a Churchill. Fortunately he was there when the crisis came. The one predictable thing in an organization is the crisis. That is when you do depend on the leader. But to wait until the crisis hits is abdication. One has to make the organization capable of anticipating the storm, weathering it, and being ahead of it. That is called innovation or constant renewal. You have to build an organization that is battle ready. Having told us this the author goes on to say "Problems of success have ruined more organizations than has failure, partly because if things go wrong, everybody knows they have to go to work. Success creates its own euphoria. You outrun your resources. And you retire on the job, which may be the most difficult thing to fight." Let me quote one more observation on leadership. "To every leader there is a season. There is profundity in that statement, but it's not that simple. Winston Churchill in ordinary peaceful, normal times would not have been very effective. He needed the challenge. Probably the same is true of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was basically a lazy man. I don't think FDR would have been a good president in the 1920s. His adrenalin wouldn't have produced. On the other hand, there are people who are very good when things are pretty routine, but who can't take the stress of an emergency. Most organizations need somebody who can lead regardless of the weather. What matters is that he or she works on the basic competencies."
We are indeed fortunate that such an outstanding mind as Peter Drucker has turned his attention to the non-profit sector. There will be few institutions that cannot improve their performance by absorbing the lessons from this book. In this period of rapid change as Drucker says "the only predictable thing is a crisis." If you are a trustee of a non-profit you need this book as a constant reference and guide. If you hold a position of power you should be thoroughly familiar with every piece of information that is relevant to your institution. If you are working for an organization that you fear may be heading downhill this book will help you to become the champion. There is so much wisdom in this book that only the foolhardy will believe that they have a superior wisdom and can do without it.
on September 28, 2001
A tremendous book. This book has to be one of the main titles in any library of the non-profit or future non-profit manager. The amount of expertise that Mr. Durcker relates is amazing. His conversational style, as well as conversations are very engaging and easy to read. Although this is not a "pleasure" read, it is pleasurable to read. One never feels preached at or lectured to, just informed by THE MAN!!!
There are many, many inmportant theories that are related in this book. I feel that the for-profit manager can also gather good knowledge reading this book. I also liked the format of the written chapter seperated by the Q & A discussion chapter. The chapter discussion with Philip Kotler and Dudley Hafner were my favorites. There is good, solid advice on management practices, and there are also many items that can be used to improve personal management style. Marketing and "Fund Development" are also presented in a knowledgeable and engaging fashion.
I don't like to talk too much about the contents of a book, but I feel very comfortable telling you that if your are studying to be a non-profit manager, or sharpening your current techniques, then read this book, as well as all the other Peter Drucker books you can. One cannot go wrong with this kind of intelligence. A hearty thanks to you Mr. Drucker....
on March 4, 2002
Having sat on the boards of two international nonprofit organizations for decades, I can say that this book could have saved me years of confusion and ineffectiveness, had I come upon it earlier in my career. I am purchasing it for all the people I am mentoring, and highly recommend it as basic but indispensable reading to anyone working or planning on working in the nonprofit sector. Thanks, Peter!
on May 14, 2000
As usual Peter Drucker has come up with an enlightening piece of management theory. This book is for anyone entering the world of non-profit.
Mr. Drucker details the unique motivations of the non-profit organization and explains the management methods necessary to navigate this organization type.
Another great work by Drucker. Even if you are not in the non-profit world I recommend that you read this.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
PART ONE: THE MISSION COMES FIRST: AND YOUR ROLE AS A LEADER. 1. The Commitment. 2. Leadership Is a Foul-Weather Job. 3. Setting New Goals-Interview with Frances Hesselbein. 4. What the Leader Owes-Inteview with Max De Pree. 5. Summary: The Action Implications.
PART TWO: FROM MISSION TO PERFORMANCE: EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES FOR MARKETING, INNOVATION, AND FUND DEVELOPMENT. 1. Converting Good Intentions into Results. 2. Winning Strategies. 3. Defining the Market-Interview with Philip Kolter. 4. Building the Donor Constituency-Interview with Dudley Hafner. 5. Summary: The Action Implications.
PART THREE: MANAGING FOR PERFORMANCE: HOW TO DEFINE IT; HOW TO MEASURE IT. 1. What is the Bottom Line When There is No "Bottom Line"? 2. Don't's and Do's-The Basic Rules. 3. The Effective Decision. 4. How to Make the Schools Accountable-Interview with Albert Shanker. 5. Summary: The Action Implications.
PART FOUR: PEOPLE AND RELATIONSHIPS: YOUR STAFF, YOUR BOARD, YOUR VOLUNTEERS, YOUR COMMUNITY. 1. People Decisions. 2. The Key Relationships. 3. From Volunteers to Unpaid Staff-Interview with Father Leo Bartel. 4. The Effective Board-Interview with Dr. David Hubbard. 5. Summary: The Action Implications.
PART FIVE: DEVELOPING YOURSELF: AS A PERSON, AS AN EXECUTIVE, AS A LEADER. 1. You Are Responsible. 2. What Do You Want to Be Remembered For? 3. Non-Profits: The Second Career-Interview with Robert Buford. 4. The Woman Executive in the Non-Profit Institution-Interview with Roxanne Spitzer-Lehmann. 5. Summary: The Action Implications.
on August 7, 1998
I read this book as a newcomer to the world of a non-profit executive. I have listened to Peter Drucker and used his advice in the for-profit sector and his stellar advice is invaluable as usual. If you want to improve your organization or are entering into non-profit management, you should read this book first. If you can handle what it tells you, you will be successful. If you don't care about being successful then don't waste your money!
on February 8, 2004
This book contains a lot of useful information, yet the only problem lies on his way to express and prove it. Normally, I saw he made a point, then gave an example for that point which also help him jump to another point... After all, it's really hard to absorb something out of this book. It will be better if the author pays more attention to explain his point, makes his argument stronger.