The Effective Executive, Peter F. Drucker - Book Summary

In The Effective Executive , author Peter Drucker digs deep into what managers need to accomplish and how they perceive their roles. This is a book that will help you think effectively about what you do. All managers, even successful ones, benefit from reading this book.

Who should read this book?

  • Those who want to improve personal productivity, especially at work;
  • Those who aspire to be a good leader;
  • Those who hold leadership positions.

Who wrote this book?

Peter F. Drucker is a management consultant, author of 39 books and numerous articles on people and organizations. He is known as the true sage of business, the father of modern management with countless predictions of the material trend. Every Drucker book is a mainstream business classic, including The Effective Executive .

What makes an effective operator?

An effective executive does not certainly have to be a leader, or to have the qualities of a leader. Some of the best CEOs of businesses and nonprofits aren't exactly typical leaders. They have unique personalities, attitudes, values, strengths, and weaknesses. They can be extrovert or introvert, easygoing, open or unapproachable, generous or stingy, etc.

What makes them so effective is their adherence to these eight rules of practice:

  1. Focus on what needs to be done

Usually, this doesn't mean what you want to do. They are usually just one or two specific tasks. Among them, you should focus on priority tasks, the remaining tasks should be assigned to subordinates. Effective managers often focus on what they do best, because they know that if top management is effective, the whole organization is effective, and vice versa.

  1. Make sure your actions benefit the organization

“What is right for the organization?” Effective managers don't care what's right for owners, employees, managers, or stock prices, even though they know they're also important in decision making. However, a decision that is not right for the organization itself will ultimately affect those with interests involved.

  1. Establish action plans

Knowledge is useless if not translated into concrete action. However, acting without a plan is just counterproductive. The action plan should reflect your intentions, not commitments. Therefore, the plan should not be tight and restrictive, but should be flexible, regularly reviewed and adjusted because each success or failure, every change in the business environment or people of the organization creates opportunities. new.

  1. Take responsibility for your decisions

Make sure everyone is informed about each decision, including: name of person responsible for implementing it, deadline, name of person affected by decision, name of person to be notified of the decision (last name) are not directly affected by it).

  1. Responsible for communication

Effective managers need to ensure that their action plans and information needs are properly understood. specifically, they need to share and acknowledge comments from colleagues, both superior and subordinate, and let everyone know what information they need to get the job done.

  1. Focus on the opportunity

Good managers focus on opportunities rather than problems. Solving problems is really just preventing harm, taking advantage of opportunities to create results. See change as an opportunity rather than a threat.

  1. Organize productive meetings and debates

Meetings can be either serious and productive sessions, or pointless, time-wasting talks. Organizing a successful meeting requires high discipline. Determine what types of meetings are appropriate and end them as soon as the goal is reached.

  1. Think and say “we” instead of “me”

What's important to you is really irrelevant. What matters most is what is valuable to the organization.

Here are eight practical ways to be an effective manager. Efficiency is a specific subject, and as it is a subject one can learn, and must learn it.

The reality of management

Really, if we don't study and practice to become effective, reality will push us into failure. A knowledgeable and creative manager can also be ineffective. To be successful, they need to know how to live and work system. However, there are four major “facts” over which a manager cannot control. Each condition is attached to the job itself and his organization, exerts pressure on results and productivity.

The first is the pressure of time.

Managers' time funds tend to belong to everyone in the organization. If you define him by his work, it is funny to say that this is a prisoner of the organization. Anyone can interfere in his time. His phone can ring at any moment: from a client, from a boss, or from someone else, and “half an hour” goes by so easily!

The second is to work by function.

In many countries around the world, senior managers are often complained that they continue to do things like marketing, when they should be spending more time in business-oriented work. .

The third is reality: a manager belongs to an organization.

This means he only becomes effective when others use what he contributes. Often the people most important to a manager's effectiveness are not the people he directs, but his superiors, or people in another field.

Finally, myopia.

All managers value and stick with the internal organization. Their outside view of the organization is often biased, sometimes they don't even know what's going on outside! Information about outside work often reaches managers through “filters” which are reports – a form of information that is pre-processed according to organizational standards.

Above are four realities that managers cannot change. They are a necessary condition for his existence. However, the manager needs to understand that he needs special efforts to be effective. And fortunately, a manager can learn to be more effective, despite the obstacles that still exist, by developing five habits, each of which will appear on the following summary pages.

Habit #1: “Know Your Own Time”

To make the most of your time, try these three steps:

Step one, record the time.

If you don't track your time, you won't know how you've used (or squandered) it. Therefore, carefully record the length of time spent on each task, then use this record to allocate activities and tasks.

Step two, time management.

Your time needs to be managed system. Time-wasting, unprofitable activities should be identified, and then if possible eliminated. It could be incessant speeches, dinners with clients, unnecessary meetings, etc.

Step three, time merge.

If you're a senior manager, it's likely that you only own a quarter of your own time, maybe even less. Determine how much time you will spend fully using it and focus on making good use of it. Don't let anything get in the way. Usually, this job requires high self-discipline. Do so because you cannot achieve lasting results in a short, intermittent period.

Habit #2: “What can I contribute?”

Do you ever worry too much about your staff's day-to-day operations, rather than the results they can achieve? An effective sales manager is not the person in charge of the sales department, but the person who makes sure the company's products sell. An effective accountant not only balances the books, but also provides the company with financial information when needed to ensure profitable operations. Instead of focusing too much on individual efforts, focus on the real contribution they can make to the organization.

Don't define "contributions" narrowly. Include “direct results,” like increased sales and reduced costs, as well as organizational development tasks, like coaching new employees, helping build and maintain a value system. organization's. Don't forget to ask your colleagues, superiors, and subordinates, "What can I contribute so that you can contribute more effectively?" Then work hard to convey that.

Habit #3: “Make the most of your strengths”

Strengths are assets, regardless of whether they are abilities, expertise, knowledge, or your personality and those of your colleagues. An effective manager always in his own strengths, as well as the people around him. During the hiring process, don't try to avoid weaknesses. Instead, highlight your strengths. Don't ask, "Is this person right for me?" Focus on what the person can contribute to the organization.

During the American Civil War, when advisers warned President Abraham Lincoln that the talented Commander-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant was an alcoholic, he replied: “If I knew what wine the general was drinking, he replied. Grant's favorite, I'll send him a couple of boxes right away." Lincoln has always focused on strengths and capabilities rather than weaknesses.

That is also what General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Separatist Forces, did. The story goes that a general under Lee disobeyed orders and messed up the battle plan. One of the attachés asked Lee, "Why don't you fire him?" The general answer, “What a ridiculous question. He is a capable man.” In business as in war, results are key. Always keep this in mind, especially when evaluating future and current employees.

Habit #4: Work in order of priority

Multi-tasking is a mistake and really inefficient. To get things done well, focus on one task at a time, or two at most. Three missions seem impossible. However, there have been geniuses in history who have been able to do many things at once, such as Wolfgang Mozart who was able to compose several musical works at a time, and all of them are masterpieces. But not everyone is Mozart. You can accomplish goals by multitasking, but what you do is actually substandard.

Instead of multitasking, do one thing at a brilliantly time; direct all focus on the task at hand. If an activity doesn't work, give it up boldly. Always put the first priority, what needs to be done first, do it first. Be courageous and aim high, always looking forward.

Habit #5: Make effective decisions

Most situations that require you to make a decision are essentially the same. You can deal with these situations by applying a few general rules and procedures. The challenge here is to determine the type of situation, whether it is typical, universal or special, the exception needs a different way of handling. The biggest decision-making mistake is trying to treat universal problems as if they were special.

For example, when production problems recur, you can solve them with decisions or actions that have worked well in the past. On the other hand, an unexpected accident, such as the 1965 Northeastern North American outage, is an event of a special kind. To find the solution, we need special decisions, not the application of normal rules. The ability to evaluate and distinguish universal cases from disparate events is a core element of an effective decision-making manager.


The main message of the book is

As an administrator, a wise employee, you represent an extremely valuable and necessary resource. Society depends on you, and thousands of knowledge workers like you who are highly productive. When you work effectively, your organization works effectively and makes important contributions to the development of society. It is efficiency that can balance the needs of organizations and individuals. After all, must learn, must practice to become effective.