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Have the Courage to Ask

Peter Drucker has a great way with words. He distills meaningful concepts into short phrases more effectively than anyone I have ever met. I have had the privilege of being on the Board of the Drucker Foundation (and now the Leader to Leader Institute) for many years. At one of our early Drucker Foundation Board meetings, Peter observed, “The leader of the past knew how to tell, the leader of the future will know how to ask.” Why is asking so important? Almost all of the leaders that I meet manage knowledge workers. Peter has defined knowledge workers as people who know more about what they are doing than their boss does. It is hard to tell people what to do and how to do it – when they already know more than we do! In today’s rapidly changing world, we need to ask, listen and learn from everyone around us. As Peter recently stated “Leaders need to be willing to start with asking the question, ‘What needs to be done?’”[2] Asking works! This isn’t just a theory – as ...