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The Effective Executive

The Effective Executive

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Published by BenjaminRavaru
Peter Drucker - summary
Peter Drucker - summary

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Published by: BenjaminRavaru on Sep 02, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Reviewed Jan 08 M Rhodes
The Effective ExecutiveHarper CollinsISBN:0-06-053768-X Author:Peter DruckerOverview 
This is perhaps the seminal work on how an executive should manage his self to be bothefficient and effective. Although a relatively small book, Drucker has presented theessential elements of executive effectiveness in a clear, no nonsense way. His points are well made and well supported by short case studies and clear examples developing into aclear and concise discussion of how an executive can become more effective. Essentialreading from one of the premier management thinkers of our time.
Chapter 1 – Effectiveness Can Be Learned
The executive's role is to 'effect' and' execute' but most executives although intelligent andknowledgeable seem to lack the ability to put that knowledge and intelligence to real effect.Brilliant men are often strikingly ineffective. Intelligence, imagination and knowledge areessential resources but only effectiveness converts them into results.In the modern economy, the knowledge organisation is the central reality where the centreof effort is about applying knowledge and maximising its usage. Working on the rightthings is what makes knowledge work effective. This can be measured as we used tomeasure output or quality. A knowledge worker cannot however be supervised closely orin detail, he must be motivated and allowed to direct himself toward performance andcontribution.Drucker therefore suggests that every knowledge worker in a modern organisation istherefore an executive by virtue of his position or his knowledge. It matters not whether hemanages staff, he manages information and himself and this can add significantcontribution.There are four major factors over which an executive has no control and conspire to makehim less effective:1.The executive's time is not his own, but tends to belong to everybody else. He seemsalways to be at the behest of someone or some project rather than applying himself to where he can be most effectiveness.2.Executives are forced to keep on operating in the domain from which they arefamiliar unless they make a complete change and focus on running the whole business.3.The executive is forced to work within the
, which means that he is only effective by directing what others in the organisation contribute. Organisation is about
multiplying the strength of the individual. Unless the executive can reach these people, he will have no effectiveness.4.The executive is
the organisation which means he limits his vision and reality to the confines of that organisation. It becomes a distorting or limiting lens thatstops him seeing the real situation clearly.These factors are constraints that limit the executive unless he can learn to become moreeffective. What seems to be required is universal genius but this is scarce. Therefore weshould staff or organisations with people who excel in one key ability.Effectiveness can be learned, however, as it is a habit or rather a set of simple practises.Practises that need to be repeated until they become ingrained habits.There practises or 5 essential habits of Effective Executives are:1.They know where their time goes. They manage systematically the small amounts of discretionary time they have.2.They focus on outward contribution. They focus on results rather than effort. Theconstantly ask 'What results are expected of me?'3.They build on their own strengths,the strengths of their superiors, colleagues andsubordinates. They do not build on weakness and do not start things they cannotcomplete.4. They focus on a few major areas where superior performance adds value. They setpriorities and stay with those priority decisions. First things first and second things not atall.5.They make effective decisions. These are made on judgements based on dissentingopinions rather than consensus on the facts. What is needed is the right strategy ratherthan flash tactics.
Chapter 2 – Know Thy Time
Effective executives know that time is a limiting factor. It is an inelastic resource that isirreplaceable and despite the demand the supply will not go up.The key to time effectiveness is a 3-step process:
Record the use of time
Manage time
Consolidate timeThere are many demands on an executives time. Many of these demands are time wastersrather than being productive. Additionally, most executive tasks require significant blocksof time to complete. To begin a task without the time to complete it is pointless. It leads toineffectiveness and can lead to poor decisions and error.Strategic and people decisions are time consuming. Thy are never simple and finding a fitin a complex situation needs care and consideration.
Firstly, we need to record actual time usage. The method is unimportant, but theidentification of where time is spent is essential and is best done in real time. With an idea of what you are doing with your time you can then ask some investigativequestions:1.Identify what does not need to be done and is only wasting time?2.What can be done by someone else and probably better?3.What do I do that uses time without being effective?These questions help identify the time leaks. These normally fit into 4 categories:1.Time is wasted due to lack of planning, foresight or a system.2.Time wasted due to over staffing and things therefore takeing longer than required.3.Time is wasted due to mal-organisation leading to having too many meetings anddiscussions.4.Time is wasted due to poor information flow, format or availability.Having established where the time leaks are, an effective executive can now reduce theleaks and build more discretionary time.Now that time needs to be used effectively!
Chapter 3 – What Can I Contribute
Effective executives focus on contribution. What is the content, level, standard, quality and impact in your work or your relationships?The executive needs to identify where his narrow skill, his speciality and his departmentadds most to the performance of the whole organisation. They ask how can I contributehere and to what standard do I need to complete it?This is a particularly important factor in motivating a knowledge worker.Focusing on contribution supplies four basic requirements of effective human relations:1.Communication is improved because team members understand what theircontribution is towards the whole.2.Teamwork is enhanced because the focus on contribution drives teams tocollaborate and communicate their contribution to that whole. They ask, 'who needs moutput for it to be effective?'3.Self development benefits because a executive focusing on contribution will oftenidentify additional knowledge or skills they need to better contribute.

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