The next time you need some leadership wisdom, but you don’t want to commit to reading a full book, check out What Makes An Effective Executive by Peter F Drucker.
It is an audio version of an article that Drucker published with the Harvard Business Review. In under 30 minutes, Drucker lays out what it takes to be effective as an executive. It is a masterpiece of concise writing. He wastes no time talking about “leadership charisma,” in fact, he only mentions it to say that it isn’t important. Drucker also spends zero time justifying his own expertise (have you noticed that every business writer spends at least one chapter talking about themselves and why you should listen them?). Instead, he gets focuses specifically on how the top-of-the-top actually get their work done each day.
“Great managers may be charismatic or dull, generous or tightfisted, visionary or numbers oriented. But every effective executive follows eight simple practices.” -Peter F. Drucker
Here are the eight practices:
- They ask, “What needs to be done?”
- They ask, “What is right for the enterprise?”
- They develop action plans
- They take responsibility for decisions
- They take responsibility for communicating
- They are focused on opportunities rather than problems
- They make every meeting productive
- They think and say “We.”
(If you aren’t familiar with Peter F. Drucker, please see the end of this post.)
Drucker works through each of the eight practices quickly, but with clear points and good examples. If you are a note taker, you will want to have your pen and paper ready before pressing play. I think what I love the most about the article is that it is so practical. There is always value in being inspired by the passion and charisma of a great leader, but that isn’t all there is to the story. Listen to this tonight on your way home from work and tomorrow you’ll be able to improve your own management technique.
Yes, he is famous, but don’t beat yourself up too badly if you haven’t heard about him recently. His first major work was published in 1939 and was praised by Winston Churchill.
Peter F. Drucker was a writer, professor, management consultant and self-described “social ecologist.” Hailed by BusinessWeek as “the man who invented management,” Drucker directly influenced a huge number of leaders from a wide range of organizations across all sectors of society. Drucker’s 39 books, along with his countless scholarly and popular articles, predicted many of the major developments of the late 20th century, including privatization and decentralization, the rise of Japan to economic world power, the decisive importance of marketing and innovation, and the emergence of the information society with its necessity of lifelong learning. In the late 1950s, Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker,” and he spent the rest of his life examining an age in which an unprecedented number of people use their brains more than their backs.
(This bio and additional information may be found at http://www.druckerinstitute.com/peter-druckers-life-and-legacy/)