Photo Gallery

The Effective Executive

In my twenties a mentor got tired of watching a commercial fishermen try to juggle a business and a political career and gave me Peter Drucker’s “The Effective Executive”. This short, insightful and timeless book is on the short list of books worth re-reading in a lifetime. I have handed out many copies of this book over the last thirty years.

Peter Drucker, the “Founding father of the science of management…..”, wrote “The Effective Executive” in 1966 in the middle of his storied and lengthy career of study, writing and teaching. He has authored many texts that are required reading at business and management schools around the world. When he recently died the “Economist” opted to not feature him in the weekly obituary column but honored his seminal life’s work with a lengthy flourish.

“The Effective Executive” focuses on managing oneself for effectiveness. Getting “the right things done..” is the mission of the executive (and should be for all of us). Drucker observed and studied executives in action and enumerated the most effective shared habits:

• Know where your time goes and systematically manage your time
• Focus on outward contribution….results not work
• Build on strengths….your own and that of others
• Set priorities, stick to them and concentrate on the few major areas where superior performance will produce outstanding results
• Make effective decisions, know the right steps in a decision. What is needed are a few, but fundamental decisions.

The challenge is to remain focused on the mission of being effective not efficient. It is easy to lapse into the rut of simply being efficient – managing piles of reports, mail, phone calls and now emails; endless arrays of meetings and the depressingly long to-do list. Working longer and longer hours to keep up is the bell-weather of the “efficient” but not “effective” executive. The frustration of seeming to go ever faster on the treadmill and falling further behind is a sign of the ill fated focus on “efficient” but not “effective” Drucker points us to.

The overworked and frustrated executive (and all of us) will find direction and solutions in the 174 pages of Drucker’s “The Effective Executive”.