I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today had I not read Bob Buford’s book, Half Time: Moving from Success to Significance, twenty years ago. I was approaching ‘mid-life’ and was a bit lost and confused. His book reminded me that this season or stage of life did not need to be a crisis (dare I say mid-life crisis). Buford’s book taught me this season of life can be a catalyst for purpose, impact, and growth.
I get a bit misty-eyed now realizing how important that book became in the new formation of my life and leadership. Shortly after documenting my life of significance, I founded Leadership Quest, dedicating myself to helping leaders discover their greatness, potential, and embracing a life of significance.
At the close of Buford’s book, he outlines the profound influence of Peter Drucker on his life. (Are you seeing a pattern of mentorship and influence?)
Peter Drucker taught for more than 30 years at California’s Claremont Graduate School, where the Management Center is named after him. He published more than thirty books on management and leadership.
Here’s some wisdom from Peter Drucker, by Bob Buford:
1. Mission comes first
Mission should drive everything you do and everything your organization does. Don’t ask, “What should I do?” but rather ask, “What needs doing?” Ask something that creates extraordinary value.
2. Build on islands of health and strength
Work on things that will make a great deal of difference if you succeed. You don’t need to reinvent yourself for a successful next season; instead, you need to find ways to deploy your ‘best self’ in new and significant ways.
3. Focus on opportunity, not problems
According to Drucker, most organizations assign their BEST resources to problems when instead, they should direct their best people, thinking, and resources to find and exploit opportunities.
4. Planned Abandonment
Drucker felt it was important to decide what not to do. The human tendency is largely driven by ego and we say, ‘yes’ to too many things. Focus on what yields the best results.
5. Become an adult
Drucker once said, “The beginning of an adult life is when you can ask the question, ‘What do I want to be remembered for?‘” Nothing will focus your attention on legacy more than writing your own epitaph. It forces you, while in good health, to think about what matters most to you.
Note: Thank you to Bob Buford and the late, Pete Drucker, for being my mentors from afar. There would be no “Steve Gutzler and Leadership Quest” without you!