Sunday, February 2, 2014

Book Review: The Effective Executive

Author: Peter F. Drucker
Title of the Book: “The Effective Executive”
Year of Publication: 2006
Place of Publication: New York
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Number of Pages: 178
Price (Paperback): US$ 16.99
ISBN: 978-0-06-083345-9

“Effectiveness is, after all, not a “subject,” but a self-discipline.”
                                                                                                   - Peter F. Drucker 

Essentially, this book teaches every executive how to become effective. As the book says, being effective is not innate but can be learned. To become effective, an executive has to follow the practices below.

·         Ask what needs to be done.
·         Ask what is right for the enterprise.
·         Develop action plans.
·         Take responsibility for decisions.
·         Take responsibility for communicating.
·         Focus on opportunities rather than problems.
·         Run productive meetings.
·         Think and say “we” rather than “I.”

Drucker also emphasized the importance of time management. He suggested that executives should keep a log where his or her time is spent. In doing so, one can track the time spent for more productive tasks and those for unproductive ones.  Knowing this pattern will help one readjust the focus to more productive tasks and prune out the unproductive activities.   

As a research enthusiast, I particularly like what the author wrote about research and I quote, “Even today few businessmen understand that research, to be productive, has to be the “disorganizer,” the creator of a different future and the enemy of today.”  As such, he is suggesting for continuous innovation as a source of sustainable competitive advantage.

I also learned about the elements of decision process. These are as follows:

1. The clear realization that the problem was generic and could only be solved through a decision which established a rule, a principle.
2. The definition of the specifications which the answer to the problem had to satisfy, that is, of the “boundary conditions.”
3. The thinking through what is “right,” that is, the solution which will fully satisfy the specifications before attention is given to the compromises, adaptations, and concessions needed to make the decision acceptable.
4. The building into the decision of the action to carry it out.
5. The “feedback” which tests the validity and effectiveness of the decision against the actual course of events.

The book is very insightful and it shows a lot of concrete examples of the concepts presented therein. In some instances it gives examples of what worked and what did not work. Overall, it is a must read book for a fallible mortal executive wanting to achieve efficiency in doing one’s tasks.

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