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Topic
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* Effective Executive (by Peter Drucker)
A preview (various topics have been truncated). Three book choices: this book, The Effective Executive in Action or The Essential Drucker.
* Preface (very important)
V What makes an effective executive
An effective executive does not need to be a leader in the sense that the term is now most commonly used. Harry Truman did not have one ounce of charisma, for example, yet he was among the most effective chief executives in US. history. Similarly, some of the best business and nonprofit CEOs I've worked with over a 65-year consulting career were not stereotypical leaders. They were all over the map in terms of their personalities, attitudes, values, strengths, and weaknesses. They ranged from extroverted to nearly reclusive, from easygoing to controlling, from generous to parsimonious.
What made them all effective is that they followed the same eight practices:
* They asked, "What needs to be done?"
* They asked, "What is right for the enterprise?"
* They developed action plans.
* They took responsibility for decisions.
* They took responsibility for communicating.
* They were focused on opportunities rather than problems.
* They ran productive meetings.
* They thought and said "we" rather than "I."
V Effectiveness can be learned
* Effectiveness defined
Getting the right things done.

Intelligence, imagination, knowledge are essential resources, but only effectiveness converts them into results.
* Why we need effectiveness.
Effectiveness is the specific technology of the knowledge worker within an organization.

Working on the right things is what makes knowledge work effective.
This is not capable of being measured by any of the yardsticks for manual work.

A knowledge worker can not be supervised closely or in detail.
Thinking is his work; it is his doing
V Who is an executive?
Those knowledge workers, managers, or individual professionals
who are expected
by virtue of their position or knowledge
to make decisions
in the normal course of their work
that have significant impact on
the performance and results of the whole.
* Authority of knowledge is surely as legitimate as the authority of position.
* There are many managers who are not executives.
V Knowledge work
* Is not defined by quantity
* Is not defined by costs.
* It is defined by results.
V Executive realities
* The executive’s time belongs to everyone else.
* Executives are forced to keep on “operating” unless they take positive action to change the reality in which they live and work.
The flow of events will determine what
• he is concerned with
• he does.
Yet the events rarely tell the executive anything, let alone the real problem
Events are not even symptoms (in the patient/physician sense)

Needs criteria which enable him to work on the truly important
Contributions and results

* Within an “organization”
* “Within” an organization
And therefore removed from
the only reality that matters—the outside.

He sees the outside only through thick and distorting lenses, if at all.
What goes on outside is usually not even known firsthand. It is received through an organizational filter of reports, that is predigested and highly abstract form that imposes organizational criteria of relevance on the outside reality.

The relevant outside events are rarely available in quantifiable form until it is much too late to do anything about them.
The relevant events are often qualitative and not capable of quantification. They are not yet “facts”. For a fact, after all, is an event which somebody has defined, has classified, and above all, has endowed with relevance. To be able to quantify one has to have a concept first. One has to abstract from the infinite welter of phenomena a specific aspect which one then can name and finally count.

The truly important events on the outside are not the trends. They are the changes in the trends. These determine ultimately success or failure of an organization and its efforts. Such changes, however, have to be perceived; they cannot be counted, defined, or classified. The old classifications still produce the expected figures. But the figures no longer correspond to actual behavior.
V About organizations…
* Organization is an abstraction.
It is unreal compared to the reality of the environment in which it exists.
* There are no results within the organization
All the results are on the outside.
The only business results are produced by a customer who converts the costs and efforts of the business into revenues and profits through his willingness to exchange his purchasing power for the products or services of the business.

* What happens inside any organization is effort and cost.
The less an organization has to do to produce results, the better it does its job.

That it takes 100,000 employees to produce the automobiles or the steel the market wants is essentially gross engineering imperfection. The fewer the people, the smaller, the less activity inside, the more nearly perfect is the organization in terms of its only reason for existence: the service to the environment.
* The outside which is the true reality is well beyond effective control from the inside
At the most results are codetermined.
The business can try to shape the customer preferences and values through promotion and advertising. Yet the customer has the final say.
* Stands under the law that governs the size and structure of animals and plants
The surface goes up with the square of the radius,
but the mass grows with the cube.
The larger the animal becomes, the more resources have to be devoted to the mass and to the internal tasks, to circulation and information, to the nervous system, and so on.
* An organization is not, like an animal, an end in itself.
And successful by the mere act of perpetuating the species.

An organization is an organ of society and fulfills itself by the contribution it makes to the outside environment.
* The promise of effectiveness
V Can effectiveness be learned
* Not a gift
* If effectiveness can be learned
* No effective personality
V Effectiveness is a habit; that is a complex of practices
* Practices are simple.
* But practices are always exceedingly hard to do well.
* Practices one learns by practicing and practicing and practicing again.
V The five practices—for getting the right things done
* 1) Managing the small amount of time that can be brought under their control.
* 2) Focus on outward contribution “What results are expected of me”?
V 3) Building on strength
3) It is as much an attitude as a practice.
What can this person do?
* Own strength
* Strengths of superiors, colleagues, and subordinates
* Strengths in the situation—That is what they can do.
V 4) Concentration on the few major areas where superior performance will produce outstanding results
* Set priorities and stay with priority decisions.
V 5) Make effective decisions
* A matter of system
* Right steps in the right sequence
* A few fundamental decisions
* The right strategy
V Conclusion: effectiveness must be learned
* Crucial to a person’s self-development; to organization development; and to the fulfillment and viability of modern society
V The five practices of effectiveness
V 1) Time—efficiency in the utilization of a scarce resource—namely time
* Recording where the time goes
V Analysis of the executive’s time
* The elimination of the unnecessary time-wasters. It requires:
V It raises searching questions regarding the relative importance of
* Different uses of time
* Different activities and of their goals
* It should affect the level and the quality of a good deal of work done
* Yet this can perhaps still be done by going down a checklist every few months, that is, by following a form. It still concerns itself only with efficiency in the utilization of a scarce resource—namely, time
V 2) Focus vision on contribution
* Advances to
* Think through the reason why he is on the payroll and the contribution he ought to make.
* The questions the executive asks himself are still straight forward and more or less schematic.
V The answers should lead
* To high demands on himself
V To thinking about
* His own goals and
* Those of the organization
* To concerns with values
* To demands for high standards
* These questions ask the executive to assume responsibility, rather than to act the subordinate, satisfied if he only “pleases” the boss.
* To think through purpose and ends rather than means alone.
V 3) Making strengths productive
* An attitude expressed in behavior
* It is fundamentally respect for the person
* It is a value system in action
* “Learning through doing” and self-development through practice
V In making strength productive the executive integrates
* Individual purpose and organization needs
* Individual capacity and organization results
* Individual achievement and organization opportunity
V 4) “First things first”
* “First things first” serves as antiphon to the earlier chapter, “Know thy time”. These two chapters might be called the twin pillars between which executive effectiveness is suspended and on which it rests.
Antiphon (Noun): something spoken or written by way of return to a question or demand.
rejoinder, reply, respond, response, retort, return, answer

* But the procedure here no longer deals with a resource, time, but with the end product, the performance of organizations and executive.
* What is being recorded and analyzed is no longer what happens to us but what we should try to make happen in the environment around us.
V What is being developed here
V Is not information but character:
* Foresight
* Self-reliance
* Courage
V Leadership
* Not the leadership of brilliance and genius
* But the much more modest yet more enduring leadership of dedication, determination, and serious purpose.
V 5) The effective decision
* Concerned with rational action
* There is no longer a broad and clearly marked path which the executive only has to walk down to gain effectiveness. But there are still clear surveyor’s benchmarks to give orientation and guidance how to get from one to the next.
How the executive, for instance, is to move
from identifying a pattern of events as constituting a generic problem
to setting boundary conditions
which the decision has to satisfy, is not spelled out.
* The executive will develop and train himself in responsible judgment
* Effective decision making requires both procedure and analysis, but its essence is a ethics of action.
V There is much more to the self-development of an executive than his training in effectiveness.
* He has to acquire knowledges and skills
* He has to learn a good many new work habits as he proceeds along his career
* He will occasionally have to unlearn some old work habits
V The self-development of the executive toward effectiveness
* Self-development of the effective executive is central to the development of the organization, whether it be a business, a government agency, a research laboratory, a hospital, or a military service.
* Effective organizations are not common. On the whole organization performance is still primitive.
* Executive effectiveness is our one best hope to make modern society productive economically and viable socially
* The knowledge worker—the major resource of the developed countries
* We will have to satisfy both the objective needs of society for performance by the organization, and the needs the person for achievement and fulfillment.
* The executive who works at making strengths productive—his own as well as those of others—works at making organizational performance compatible with achievement. He works at making his knowledge area become organizational opportunity. And by focusing on contribution, he makes his own values become organization results.


  

 

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker


The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context

 

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