Effective Executive Pt. 1

I’ve been reading The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker. I’m only about halfway through but I wanted to summarize some of the lessons that have stuck with me so far.

Drucker’s central thesis is that effectiveness is not an innate ability born to some and unavailable to others. He states that certain characteristics can be honed so that anyone can be effective, intelligence is not equivalent to effectiveness. There are four practices he’s discussed so far that effective people utilize:

  1. They keep track of their time- Effective people log their time so they know exactly where it goes. People often assume they can accurately rely on their memory to determine how they spend their time. Time logs show otherwise. Drucker suggests that effective people should keep track of exactly where their time goes for three to four weeks spans maybe once or twice a year. In principle, once you understand where your time goes, you can diagnose what you’re wasting time on and cut it out of your routine. Once wasted time is eliminated, effective people consolidate their time so they can focus large chunks of it on “discretionary tasks” or, tasks that are truly important and produce meaningful results.
  2. They focus on contribution- In order to become effective, Drucker states that it is imperative to ask oneself, “What contribution can I make that will significantly increase the performance of the institution I serve?” People tend to get swept up the internal operations of a company, neglecting what truly matters, the company’s performance in the outside world. By basing performance and human relations off of contribution, the effective executive sets a universal standard of excellence for the company and produces results driven relationships.
  3. They build on strengths- This principle is based on the fact that no organization can be built on weakness. Effective executives make personnel decisions based on maximizing the strengths in their organization rather than minimizing the weaknesses. Oftentimes, Drucker states, executives will try to choose the most well rounded person for a certain position. This approach produces only mediocrity. Effectiveness of organization means creating a team where one person’s strengths make up for another’s weaknesses. No one can have it all, specialize your positions and choose based on who’s best not on who is least weak.
  4. They put the first things first- Concentration is key to effectiveness. Concentration can be defined as focusing the entirety of one’s resources on a single task in order to complete it. Many busy people often feel that they have too much to do to focus on only a single task so they try to multitask and accomplish multiple things at once. Drucker would argue that this approach not only diminishes the quality of each task you’re trying to do, it makes each task take longer as well. By focusing on a single task you are more likely to finish it, allowing you to move on to the next task and complete more throughout the day than you would have otherwise.

It’s the end of the day so I’m not good at words but these are most of the things I remember from what I’ve read so far.

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