My 5 takeaways from The Effective Executive

my takeaways on the effective executive

It’s been a while this book has been on my Amazon wish list : The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker. What finally got me into hitting the purchase button is a recommendation of the book in the Tim Ferriss Show. Here are my 5 takeaways from The Effective Executive.

#1 – I am not being paid for my work

I am not being paid for coping with the flow of events, what pops up every day. I am not being paid for the amount of work that I put in.

The effective executive is being paid for her/his effectiveness i.e. doing the right things.

This means to use discernment to find out what truly matters to contribute to the results and to focus on this.

#2 – To have more time, I’ll use my magic wand

  • List the activities that your team is doing and spot the non-productive time wasting activities, the activities that don’t contribute to the results. Grab you magic wand and ask yourself : “What would happen if this were not done at all?” “Nothing”
  • After a while always challenge the status quo “Is this still worth doing?” “No”. Check out my former on this topic here.

Stop doing useless things and Tada! You magically make more time.

The need to slough off the outworn old to make possible the productive new is universal.

Keep in mind: you are not Mozart. He could have worked on several compositions at the same time. You have to concentrate, one thing at the time.

#3 – My effort is useless

A subordinate focuses on effort, i.e. doing what (s)he’s being asked to do.

An effective executive focuses on contribution and asks “What can I contribute that will significantly affect the performance and the results of the institution I serve?”

Her/his contribution is expected on :

  • direct results;
  • building of values and their reaffirmation;
  • building and developing people for tomorrow.

#4 – I will stop solving problems

If you focus on solving a problem, the best that will happen is to resume to the initial situation => you’re not moving forward.

It is more productive to convert an opportunity into results than to solve a problem—which only restores the equilibrium of yesterday.

The effective executive picks the future against the past. (S)he focuses on opportunities rather than on problems and aims for something that will make a difference, rather than for something that is “safe” and easy to do.

#5 – I will organize disagreement

It is always tempting to decide on the go when you think you have the right idea and that’s the right thing to do. Hold on, there is no right or wrong. A decision is a judgement and at best a choice between “almost right” and “probably wrong”.

The effective executive creates disagreement to bring various ideas to better understand what the decision is about. In this way (s)he avoids the pitfall of missing the point or sticking to “what is acceptable”.

Hold on again. Decide only if a decision is needed. If nothing happens if no decision is taken and the issue takes care of itself, just let go.

Every decision is like surgery. It is an intervention into a system and
therefore carries with it the risk of shock. One does not make unnecessary decisions any more than a good surgeon does unnecessary surgery.

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