The Question Peter Drucker Got Right 70 Years Ago

One of the most critical questions that Peter Drucker used to ask clients was: What Business Are You In?

70 years later, Drucker’s seemingly simple question is more relevant than ever. Executives realize that things change rapidly and that there’s an acceleration in the speed of change. When Peter Drucker started writing about management, it was common to hear about 5-year strategies at GM or Ford. Today, you would be crazy to design a strategy beyond 2 years. Even industries like medicine are seeing shorter timelines as vaccines get created and released in 1 – 2 years instead of 10.

All this change means that companies must constantly evaluate if they are in the right business. Conversely, all the change around them means that eventually, a company will find itself in the wrong business. Think of companies like Sears, Blockbuster, and Blackberry as what could happen if you don’t proactively define your business.

Today, you can find countless examples of companies making the transition right before our eyes. Here are a few examples showing how vital this question can be.

Netflix:

  1. Mail delivery of movies
  2. Digital streaming of movies
  3. Studio that creates their own content
  4. Entertainment subscription with movies, tv shows and video games.

Apple:

  1. Desktop computers
  2. iPods / iPads
  3. Phone company
  4. Services like health and entertainment content

Amazon:

  • Book seller
  • Online store for everything
  • Cloud provider (AWS)
  • Store for everything including groceries through Whole Foods

The changes that allowed these businesses to make these leaps are all around us. You can either ride with them or let them wash you away. Sears could have become Amazon, Blockbuster could have become Netflix, and Blackberry could have become Apple or Google in phones. Instead, they never thought or acted on the right business for them.

One more thing before you go! Do you know how to get more insights out of your data? 

All companies are sitting on a goldmine of data that they haven't fully explored. It's not about technology or capturing more data. The key is to learn how to make the most of your current data and convert it into actionable insights. This is the main idea behind my first book, The Data Miage: Why Companies Fail to Actually Use Their Data

I'm excited to announce the release of the book through all major retailers. If you're interested, you can download the first chapter for free using the form below. You'll learn what the best data-driven companies do differently and how to make sure you're playing the right data game.