The Effective Executive

I picked this one up in the airport on my way back from a work trip after hearing about Peter Drucker from a number of different places. Though it seems like it might be primarily focused and higher levels of management, nothing could be father than the truth and I would recommend it to a fair portion of the work force. The book is a great place to start for anyone who wants to go beyond the basic individual contributor level at a company because of the expansive definition Drucker uses of an executive.

Every knowledge worker…who is responsible for contribution that materially affects the capacity of the organization to perform and to obtain results.

Even though the book was written for a very different world and workforce, there are still plenty of its elements that completely apply. My favorite parts of the book are the simple principles from Drucker you can pull out as basic guidelines for different elements of work. One great example are the clearly spelled out three reasons for a meeting.

  1. Make a decision
  2. Keep people informed
  3. Figure out what we need to do next

How many times have you gone to a meeting you thought was about making a decision and then after the briefing, everyone leaves? Or what happens when you try to put two of these things into too small a time spot and can’t get through it all. Asking the simple question “What is this meeting for?” before you send out the Outlook invite is a great way to simplify things.

Favorite Idea

I personally often have trouble making decisions because I like to keep gathering more data want to leave as many options open as possible. However, I know I need to get better and this book lays out in very simple terms the three things every decision needs.

  1. Accountability has been identified
  2. A deadline has been established
  3. All affected individuals have been informed

I can think of many examples where the lack of any one of these things has derailed key decisions. The final one is often important for the smaller decisions or times where authority is being delegated. The world moves so fast that delaying information flow by a day can have dramatic consequences and make people feel far behind.

Favorite Quotes

The more one can concentrate time, effort and resources, the great the number and diversity of tasks one can actually accomplish.

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