28 Peter F. Drucker Quotes to Energize Your Work Week

Contributor: Bruce Rosenstein
Posted: February 25, 2018

Every day I post quotes by Peter Drucker on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I’ve curated these quotes over many years, and I find them to be inspirational and useful in my work and life. Here are some of my favorites, grouped by topic:



“Effective innovations start small. They are not grandiose. They try to do one specific thing.”

“The large organization has to learn to innovate, or it won’t survive.”

“Systematic innovation requires a willingness to look on change as an opportunity.”

“Innovation is not a technical term. It is an economic and social term.”

“The test of an innovation is whether it creates value.”




“Self-development may require learning new skills, new knowledge, and new manners.”

“The first priority for one’s own development is to strive for excellence.”

“Listening for the signal that it is time to change is an essential skill for self-development.”

“Self-development becomes self-renewal when you walk a different path, become aware of a different horizon, move toward a different destination.”

“Just as no one learns as much about a subject as the person who is forced to teach it, no one develops as much as the person who is trying to help others to develop themselves.”


Manager and secretary working in the office

“The manager of tomorrow will increasingly have more than one career.”

“We will have to learn to develop second careers for accomplished professional and managerial people when they reach their late forties or so.”

“Most of us, if we live long enough, must change careers. If career planning means not being open to opportunity, it doesn’t work. Planning should tell you only which opportunities are the right ones for you and which are the wrong ones.”

“The stepladder is gone, and there’s not even an implied structure of an industry’s rope ladder. It’s more like vines, and you bring your own machete.”

“I was probably thirty before I had the foggiest notion where I belonged.”

The Future

Cyber Security & AI: Intersecting Needs With Innovation

“The future requires decisions-now. It imposes risk-now. It requires action-now.”

“Managers must accept the need to work systematically on making the future.”

“The future will not just happen if one wishes hard enough.”

“Planning is frequently misunderstood as making future decisions, but decisions exist only in the present.”

“To make the future demands courage.”



“Knowledge differs from all other means of production in that it cannot be inherited or bequeathed. It has to be acquired anew by every individual, and everyone starts out with the same total ignorance.”

“Increasingly, the true investment in the knowledge society is not in machines and tools. It is in the knowledge of the knowledge worker.”

“It is the very nature of knowledge that it changes fast and that today’s certainties will be tomorrow’s absurdities.”

“Knowledge workers own the means of production. It is the knowledge between their ears. And it is a totally portable and enormous capital asset.”

“The critical feature of a knowledge workforce is that its workers are not labor, they are capital.”

The Corporation


“As with every other institution, the survival and successful functioning of the corporation depends on the solution of three interdependent problems: the problem of leadership, the problem of basic policy, and the problem of objective criteria of conduct and decision.”

“An equally important task for top management in the Next Society’s corporation will be to balance the three dimensions of the corporation: as an economic organization, as a human organization, and as an increasingly important social organization.”

“Little ideas have frequently been the seeds from which giant corporations have grown.”

How can you apply one or more of these quotes in your work and life: today, this week and in the future?