The Effective Executive
The Effective Executive

The Effective Executive

Table of Contents

But above all, replace the quest for success with the quest for contribution. The critical question is not, ‘How can you achieve?’ but ‘What can you contribute?’ (Location 179)

Tags: success, contribution

Note: .contribution .success focus on contribution rather than success

Results come primarily from building on strength, not shoring up weakness. (Location 179)

Tags: strengths

Note: Build on your strengths rather than focus on weaknesses

Management books usually deal with managing other people. The subject of this book is managing oneself for effectiveness. (Location 225)

Note: The book covers managing yourself more effectively

CHAPTER 1 Effectiveness Can Be Learned

the executive is, first of all, expected to get the right things done. And this is simply saying that he is expected to be effective. (Location 253)

Tags: priotitise

Note: Get the right things done

Why We Need Effective Executives

The knowledge worker cannot be supervised closely or in detail. He can only be helped. But he must direct himself, and he must direct himself toward performance and contribution, that is toward effectiveness. (Location 293)

Who Is an Executive?

Every knowledge worker in modern organization is an executive if, by virtue of his position or knowledge, he is responsible for a contribution that materially affects the capacity of the organization to perform and to obtain results. (Location 315)

Knowledge work is not defined by quantity. Neither is knowledge work defined by its costs. Knowledge work is defined by its results. And for these, the size of the group and the magnitude of the managerial job are not even symptoms. (Location 338)

Tags: results

Note: Knowledge work is defined by results

I have called ‘executives’ those knowledge workers, managers, or individual professionals, who are expected, by virtue of their position or their knowledge, to make decisions in the normal course of their work that have significant impact on the performance and results of the whole. They are by no means a majority of the knowledge workers. For in knowledge work too, as in all others areas, there is unskilled work and routine. But they are a much larger proportion of the total knowledge-work force than any organization chart ever reveals. (Location 354)

III. Executive Realities

The fundamental problem is the reality around the executive. Unless he changes it by deliberate action, the flow of events will determine what he is concerned with and what he does. (Location 402)

What the executive needs are criteria which enable him to work on the truly important, that is on contributions and results, even though the criteria are not found in the flow of events. (Location 413)

The truly important events on the outside are not the trends. They are changes in the trends. (Location 480)

IV. The Promise of Effectiveness

Effective executives know where their time goes. They work systematically at managing the little of their time that can be brought under their control. (Location 573)

Tags: time, executives

Note: .executives .time manage your time carefully

Effective executives focus on outward contribution. They gear their efforts to results rather than to work. They start out with the question, ‘What results are expected of me?’ (Location 575)

Tags: results, executives

Note: .executives .results focus on results rather than the work tasks

Effective executives build on strengths – their own strengths, the strengths of their superiors, colleagues, and subordinates; and on the strengths in the situation, that is, on what they can do. They do not build on weakness. They do not start out with the things they can’t do. (Location 576)

Tags: strengths, executives

Note: .executives .strengths focus on your strengths

Effective executives concentrate on the few major areas where superior performance will produce outstanding results. They force themselves to set priorities and stay with their priority decisions. (Location 578)

Tags: prioritise, executives

Note: .executives .prioritise

Effective executives finally make effective decisions. They know that this is, above all, a matter of system – of the right steps in the right sequence. They know that an effective decision is always a judgment, based on ‘dissenting opinions’ rather than on ‘consensus on the facts’. And they know that to make many decisions fast means to make the wrong decisions. What is needed are few, but fundamental, decisions. What is needed is the right strategy rather than razzle-dazzle tactics. (Location 581)

Tags: executives

Note: Make few, but fundamental decisions

CHAPTER 2 Know Thy Time

Effective executives, in my observation, do not start with their tasks. They start with their time. And they do not start out with planning. They start by finding out where their time actually goes. Then they attempt to manage their time and to cut back unproductive demands on their time. Finally they consolidate their ‘discretionary’ time into the largest possible continuing units. This three-step process: recording time; managing time; and consolidating time is the foundation of executive effectiveness. (Location 604)

Tags: time, timemanagement

Note: record,mange and consolidate time

To be effective, every knowledge worker, and especially every executive, therefore needs to be able to dispose of time in fairly large chunks. To have small dibs and dabs of time at his disposal will not be sufficient even if the total is an impressive number of hours. (Location 661)

Tags: deepwork

Note: .deepwork knowledge workers need long stretches of time to get work done

First one tries to identify and eliminate the things that need not be done at all, the things that are purely waste of time without any results whatever. To find these time-wastes, one asks of all activities in the time records: ‘What would happen if this were not done at all?’ And if the answer is, ‘Nothing would happen,’ then obviously the conclusion is to stop doing it. (Location 761)

Tags: time

Note: .time ask what would happen if the task was not done. If there would be no bad consequences then there is no need to do the tasj

The next question is: ‘Which of the activities on my time log could be done by somebody else just as well, if not better?’ (Location 773)

Tags: delegation, time

Note: .time delegate where possible

Other men schedule all the operating work – the meetings, reviews, problem-sessions, and so on – for two days a week, e.g. Monday and Friday, and set aside the mornings of the remaining days for consistent continuing work on major issues. (Location 957)

Time is the scarcest resource; and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed. The analysis of one’s time, moreover, is the one easily accessible and yet systematic way to analyse one’s work and to think through what really matters in it. (Location 982)

Tags: time

Note: .time time is precious, analyse where you spend your time

CHAPTER 3 What Can I Contribute?

The great majority of executives tend to focus downward. They are occupied with efforts rather than with results. They worry over what the organization and their superiors ‘owe’ them and should do for them. And they are conscious above all of the authority they should have. As a result, they render themselves ineffectual. (Location 991)

Tags: results

Note: .results focus on results rather than effort

The man who focuses on efforts and who stresses his downward authority is a subordinate no matter how exalted his title and rank. But the man who focuses on contribution and who takes responsibility for results no matter how junior, is, in the most literal sense of the phrase, ‘top management’. He holds himself accountable for the performance of the whole. (Location 1000)

Executives who do not ask themselves: ‘What can I contribute?’ are not only likely to aim too low, they are likely to aim at the wrong things. Above all, they may define their contribution too narrowly. (Location 1028)

Tags: contribution, executives

Note: .executives .contribution ask how you can contribute too the cause

‘What contribution from me do you require to make your contribution to the organization? When do you need this, and how do you need it, and in what form?’ (Location 1133)

Note: What contribution from me do you need to make a contribution to the organisation

But executives who take responsibility for contribution in their own work will as a rule demand that their subordinates take responsibility too. They will tend to ask their men: ‘What are the contributions for which this organization and I, your superior, should hold you accountable? What should we expect of you? What is the best utilization of your knowledge and your ability?’ And then communication becomes possible, becomes indeed easy. (Location 1176)

Note: What should we expect of you. What is the best use of your talents

The meeting, the report or the presentation are the typical work situations of the executive. They are his specific, everyday tools. They also make great demands on his time – even if he succeeds in analysing his time and in controlling whatever can be controlled. (Location 1226)

Tags: executives

Note: .executives meetings, reports and presentations

Effective executives know what they expect to get out of a meeting, a report, or a presentation and what the purpose of the occasion is or should be. They ask themselves: ‘Why are we having this meeting: do we want a decision, do we want to inform, or do we want to make clear to ourselves what we should be doing?’ They will insist that the purpose be thought through and spelled out before a meeting is called, a report asked for, or a presentation organized. (Location 1228)

Tags: meetings

Note: .meeting is the purpose to inform, get a decision or make it clear what we need to do

But a meeting called by him to stimulate thinking and ideas also does not become simply a presentation on the part of one of the members, but is run to challenge and stimulate everybody in the room. He always, at the end of his meetings, goes back to the opening statement and relates the final conclusions to the original intent. (Location 1234)

Tags: meetings

Note: .meeting have an opening statement, and refer to it at the end

CHAPTER 4 Making Strength Productive

To make strength productive is the unique purpose of organization. It cannot, of course, overcome the weaknesses with which each of us is abundantly endowed. But it can make them irrelevant. Its task is to use the strength of each man as a building block for joint performance. (Location 1251)

Tags: strength

Note: .strength focus on strengths rather than weaknesses

Strong people always have strong weaknesses too. Where there are peaks, there are valleys. And no one is strong in many areas. Measured against the universe of human knowledge, experience, and abilities, even the greatest genius would have to be rated a total failure. There is no such thing as a ‘good man’. Good for what? is the question. (Location 1270)

Tags: favorite, weaknesses, strengths

Note: .strengths .weaknesses we all have strengths and weaknesses

‘One cannot hire a hand – the whole man always comes with it,’ says a proverb of the human relations people. Similarly, one cannot by oneself be only strong; the weaknesses are always with us. (Location 1306)

Tags: weaknesses, strengths, quotes

Note: .quotes .strengths .weaknesses you cant hire just a hand, you get the whole man

there is a subtler reason for insistence on impersonal, objective jobs. It is the only way to provide the organization with the human diversity it needs. It is the only way to tolerate – indeed to encourage – differences in temperament and personality in an organization. To tolerate diversity, relationships must be task-focused rather than personality-focused. Achievement must be measured against objective criteria of contribution and performance. This is possible, however, only if jobs are defined and structured impersonally. Otherwise the accent will at once be on ‘Who is right?’ rather than on ‘What is right?’ In no time, personnel decisions will be made on ‘Do I like this fellow?’ or ‘Will he be acceptable?’ rather than by asking: ‘Is he the man most likely to do an outstanding job?’ (Location 1335)

Tags: diversity

Note: .diversity to encourage diversity we must focus on outcomes rather than personalities

The second rule for staffing from strength is to make each job demanding and big. It should have challenge to bring out whatever strength a man may have. It should have scope so that any strength that is relevant to the task can produce significant results. (Location 1385)

Tags: career, job

Note: .job .career make the job big so that the candidates strengths can come out

CHAPTER 5 First Things First

If there is any one ‘secret’ of effectiveness, it is concentration. Effective executives do first things first and they do one thing at a time. (Location 1656)

Tags: single task, focus

Note: .focus focus on doing one thing at a time

This is the ‘secret’ of those people who ‘do so many things’ and apparently so many difficult things. They do only one at a time. As a result, they need much less time in the end than the rest of us. (Location 1697)

Tags: single task

Note: Focus on doing one thing at a time

The first rule for the concentration of executive efforts is to slough off the past that has ceased to be productive. Effective executives periodically review their work programmes – and those of their associates – and ask: ‘If we did not already do this, would we go into it now?’ And unless the answer is an unconditional ‘Yes’ they drop the activity or curtail it sharply. At the least, they make sure that no more resources are being invested in the no longer productive past. And those first-class resources, especially those scarce resources of human strength which are engaged in these tasks of yesterday, are immediately pulled out and put to work on the opportunities of tomorrow. (Location 1708)

Note: Dont be afraid to drop things in loght of new learnings and info

one can at least try to limit one’s servitude to the past by cutting out those inherited activities and tasks that have ceased to promise results. (Location 1719)

Note: Cut out activities which are will no longer bring value

The executive who wants to be effective and who wants his organization to be effective always polices all programmes, all activities, all tasks. He always asks: ‘Is this still worth doing?’ And if it isn’t, he gets rid of it so as to be able to concentrate on the few tasks that, if done with excellence, will really make a difference in the results of his own job and in the performance of his organization. (Location 1748)

Tags: focus

Note: .focus is this task still worth doing?

Most executives have learned that what one postpones, one actually abandons. A good many of them suspect that there is nothing less desirable than to take up later a project one has postponed when it first came up. The timing is almost bound to be wrong, and timing is a most important element in the success of any effort. To do five years later what it would have been smart to do five years earlier, is almost a sure recipe for frustration and failure. (Location 1795)

Note: What gets postponed usually get discarded

That one actually abandons what one postpones makes executives, however, shy from postponing anything altogether. They know that this or that task is not a first priority, but giving it a posteriority is risky. What one has relegated may turn out to be the competitor’s triumph. There is no guarantee that the policy area a politician or an administrator has decided to slight may not explode into the hottest and most dangerous political issue. (Location 1807)

Note: Executives are wary of postponing as they know the activity may get abondoned

Courage rather than analysis dictates the truly important rules for identifying priorities: pick the future as against the past; focus on opportunity rather than on problem; choose your own direction – rather than climb on the bandwagon; and aim high, aim for something that will make a difference, rather than for something that is ‘safe’ and easy to do. (Location 1818)

The effective executive does not, in other words, truly commit himself beyond the one task he concentrates on right now. Then he reviews the situation and picks the next one task that now comes first. (Location 1832)

Tags: focus

Note: .focus focus on the number one priority

CHAPTER 6 The Elements of Decision-making (Location 1837)

Effective executives do not make a great many decisions. They concentrate on the important ones. They try to think through what is strategic and generic, rather than solve problems. They try to make the few important decisions on the highest level of conceptual understanding. (Location 1844)

Tags: ceo

Note: .ceo executives make few decisions, but decisions of importance

Long ago it should have been clear that a small percentage of drivers – drunken drivers, for instance, or the 5 per cent who are ‘accident-prone’ and cause three quarters or so of all accidents – are beyond the reach of driver training and can cause accidents on the safest road. (Location 2040)

Tags: cars

Note: .cars 5% of people cause 75% of accidents? Seems very high!

One of the most obvious facts of social and political life is the longevity of the temporary. British licensing hours for taverns, for instance, French rent controls, or Washington ‘temporary’ government buildings, all three hastily developed in World War I to last ‘a few months of temporary emergency’ are still with us fifty years later. The effective decision-maker knows this. (Location 2061)

Tags: pandemic

Note: Temporary situations often last a long time

CHAPTER 7 Effective Decisions

In physics the taste of a substance is not a fact. Nor, until fairly recently, was its colour. In cooking, the taste is a fact of supreme importance, and in painting, the colour matters. Physics, cooking, and painting consider different things as relevant and therefore consider different things to be facts. (Location 2279)

Note: Be aware of the importance of different traits or variables in different domains

The effective decision-maker does not start out with the assumption that one proposed course of action is right and that all others must be wrong. Nor does he start out with the assumption, ‘I am right and he is wrong.’ He starts out with the commitment to find out why people disagree. (Location 2414)

Tags: decisions

Note: .decisions start by finding why people disagree

The effective executive, therefore, always asks: ‘What does this fellow have to see if his position were, after all, tenable, rational, intelligent?’ The effective executive is concerned first with understanding. Only then does he even think about who is right and who is wrong. (Location 2420)

Tags: decisions

Note: .decisions seek first to understand dissenters positions

There is one final question the effective decision-maker asks: ‘Is a decision really necessary?’ One alternative is always the alternative of doing nothing. 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. Individual decision-makers, like individual surgeons, differ in their styles. Some are more radical or more conservative than others. But by and large, they agree on the rules. (Location 2438)

Tags: favorite, decisions

Note: .decisions is the decision necessary? Every decision is like surgery, it is an intervention into the system

act if on balance the benefits greatly outweigh cost and risk; and – act or do not act; but do not ‘hedge’ or compromise. The surgeon who only takes out half the tonsils or half the appendix risks as much infection or shock as if he did the whole job. (Location 2465)

Tags: decisions

Note: Be decisive and dont do things half heartedly

Executives are not paid for doing things they like to do. They are being paid for getting the right things done – most of all in their specific task, the making of effective decisions. (Location 2489)

Tags: ceo

Note: .CEO

Conclusion: Effectiveness Must Be Learned

The first step toward effectiveness is a procedure: recording where the time goes. (Location 2599)

Tags: timemanagement

Note: .timemanagement record your time