The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

This one’s a classic business book by the dean of business thinking.

  1. Effective executives know where their time goes
  2. Effective executives focus on results
  3. Effective executives build on strengths
  4. Effective executives focus on the 80/20
  5. Effective executives make effective decision

1. Effective executives know where their time goes

  • people can be very time consuming
  • be slow to hire and hire only good people
  • track your time and prune time wasters
  • beware the recurrent crisis b/c these should be foreseeable/preventable
  • a well-managed plant is usually quiet and boring
  • time-wasters often result from overstaffing
  • too many meetings indicate poor organizational structure or employees with the wrong skill set
  • consider working from home one day a week or in the morning

2. Effective executives focus on results

  • efforts don’t matter, only results matter
  • three types of results are: 1) direct production, 2) culture building, 3) employee development
  • four requirements of effective workplace: communications, teamwork, self-development, development of others
  • effective meetings have a clear purpose that relates directly to the corporate mission

3. Effective executives build on strengths

  • promote based on the candidates strengths
  • strong people often have strong weaknesses
  • identify the right person to fit the role. Rarely change the job to fit the person.
  • do not hunt for a genius to do the impossible, redesign the job
  • make each job demanding and big

4. Effective executives focus on the 80/20

  • this is the secret to success
  • do first things first and do one thing at a time
  • success is not a sprint, it’s a marathon
  • stay lean by discarding anything that’s not working
  • always prioritize work based on opportunity not problem

5. Effective executives make effective decisions

  • don’t worry about unimportant decisions, worry only about important ones
  • if a problem is general, solve it generally and establish a rule
  • identify the criteria to determine if the problem is solved
  • afterwards, test to see if the problem was solved
  • one does not argue with a hypothesis, one tests it
  • encourage disagreement because disagreement often leads to alternate solutions
  • sometimes decisions are like surgery, the best option is to do nothing

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