Dan Pink Summons the Spirit of Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker is one of the most well-known names in the world of business, often credited with creating the field of management. In the many business courses I have taken over the years, the odds were high that his name and his contributions would be a featured part of the course.

So when I saw the title of Dan Pink’s latest Pinkcast: “Here’s Peter Drucker’s simple method for improving your performance“, I was all in.

This episode looks at one of Drucker’s self-management techniques known as “feedback analysis,” which involves writing down your expectations today to improve your performance tomorrow.

This technique can be broken down into two simple steps:

  1. Whenever we are about to make an important decision, write down in advance what we expect will happen
  2. In nine to twelve months, compare the actual results to our expectation

Dan notes that he uses a modified version of this, and has found the following benefits:

  1. It helped him to see his blind spots. Many problems seemed obvious in retrospect and as a result, Dan got better at identifying and avoiding problems in the future.
  2. Dan got better at understanding his strengths and weaknesses, both of which are critical for high performance. The gap between his expectations and reality enabled him to focus on what he was good at and delegate what he was not so good at.
  3. This technique made Dan a bit bolder. Dan realized that he was often a little too pessimistic and hence too cautious in trying new things.

Here’s the video:


My fear is that if I tried this technique, I might find out I didn’t accomplish nearly as much as I expected and so I would go into a funk and never want to try this again…

*image from Toolshero

27 thoughts on “Dan Pink Summons the Spirit of Peter Drucker

  1. I find merit in what Pink discusses, as I would have guessed that patterns would evolve. Waiting to revisit it 6-12 months later seems like a long time to wait to make evaluations, but I assume he’s talking about long-term projects.

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  2. I would find this hard to do. I am not always sure what my expectations are and the work to delineate them seems a chore. But I do believe it would be a great technique for those so inclined. Great post to share, Jim!

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  3. As ignorance is supposed to be bliss I think I’ll stick with my own personal version of nirvana. I wouldn’t want to find out that I’m not perfect and spoil the illusion 😉

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  4. If anything this just reiterates the need to slow down and reflect every so often on who we are at this juncture in our lives and what we are doing and where/what we hope to move toward so that we can better understand what’s required to get there? It reminds me of sometimes having this goal in your mind but then life happens and circumstances evolve and the goals you had 5 years ago that you are still chasing to this day could very well mean nothing to you now because it’s no longer what you strive for or it’s no longer what will bring you peace and happiness…

    Hmm I seem to have gone off topic here but these are the thoughts that sprang to mind as I read your post today 🙂


    1. I agree witht he importance of taking the time to reflect; I just don’t know if I could formalize such a process, even though it appears beneficial to do so.

      With life getting in the way, there are many things that could throw us off track, and I think the takeaway from that is sometimes plans go awry. But most of us know that already 🙂

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