The Effective Executive: Timeless Advice

Today’s executives are not the first to have ever dealt with a too-long to-do list and stresses on our time. Management guru Peter Drucker wrote about this decades ago, and his advice is still applicable today. – Dave


By Peter F. Drucker


Peter Drucker has been considered one of the best management and business gurus of our time. He published “The Effective Executive” in 1967, but the advice in this book is still relevant today. Some of the references are a bit dated, but that is expected. The book’s primary focus is that time is our most valuable resource, which is why it is so important that we know how it is spent and maximize how we use it. Drucker says we should concentrate on accomplishing the things we can make the most significant contribution to and ignore those tasks that are not as important.

He maintains we need to learn how to be both effective by developing five habits:

1.         Managing our time – We know how we spend our time and make changes to be in control of our schedule.

2.         Focus on what we can outwardly contribute to the organization.

3.         Focus on productivity and our strengths – Grow our strengths and those of our colleagues.

4.         Prioritize – Concentrate first on the thing that will yield the best results.

5.         Effective Decision-making – Follow the best decision-making processes

Drucker advises that we record how we spend our time, cut back on unproductive tasks, and consolidate time to give you actual ‘work time’ blocks. Because cutting back on some functions is not always easy, he advised that we ask, “what would happen if this were not done at all.” Then decide if you can delegate specific tasks to others.

He advocates that as we fill jobs at work, we look at what a ‘man can do’ rather than minimize weaknesses. “Any job that has defeated two or three men in succession, even though each had performed well in his previous assignments, must be redesigned,” Drucker writes.

The book also offers advice on how we can make ourselves more effective. He writes that we shouldn’t pretend to be someone else. We should build on what we know and what we can do best. This also means we need to learn how to concentrate and realize that we should only do one thing at a time.

Drucker also identifies four ways in which time is wasted due to poor management.

1)         The crisis that keeps happening because it is never really resolved

2)         Overstaffing as people are good at getting in each other’s way.

3)         Too many meetings

4)         Not enough or the wrong information is being shared.

This book is a timeless reference guide for anyone who wants to become an effective executive.

Purchase the book HERE

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