A young man asked, “Mr. Drucker, what is the most important decision an executive must make?”Peter Drucker replied, “The most important decisions that executives make are people decisions.”
His advice resonates through my mind today as if he had just said it a minute ago. Not only do I still hear him saying it, the memories of the hundreds of confirmations that I have experienced serve as echoes returning from the walls of the canyon of time.
I think not only of the confirmation that results from the good decisions. Those are like the pleasant, soft murmurs stirred by a summer breeze when compared with the damage resulting from bad decisions. Like destructive storms, they sometimes do irreparable damage often leaving a trail of disappointment and grief.
During my career at Chick-fil-A, I was keenly interested in who was selected to become franchisees and staff employees. In the early days, when I helped franchisees open their restaurants, I was also actively involved in coaching them in their employee selections.
I was often asked, “Jimmy, why do you spend so much of your time on the selection process?” My answer was, “I don’t have anything more important to do.”
I was approaching retirement before I heard Peter Drucker’s wise advice, but I had listened to other wise teachers of business practice, and I had seen the reality of good and bad people decisions.
If we listen to the lessons of experience, our own as well as that of others, we will learn what is most important.
However, unless you put it into practice, learning is worthless and a waste of time. Creative followers spend whatever time and energy is necessary to make certain that every people decision is a good one.
It does not matter whether you are the final decision maker or a contributor to the process of people decisions, your role is very important. You may know, learn or suspect something of critical importance in the selection process of a new employee or potential transferee.
Many times the receptionist or the driver who picked up a candidate at the airport gave me valuable input on a candidate who came to our office for an interview. I solicited and encouraged everyone who came in contact with franchisee and job candidates to make their impressions known to the decision makers. Even though they had no involvement in the final decision, their contributions were oftentimes extremely valuable!
It does not matter what your level of responsibility is, remember that people decisions are the most important decisions.
The Most Important Decisions Are People Decisions!
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