The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide To Getting The Right Things Done

( Click on the image to access the book on Amazon )

Peter Drucker says that the most effective executives all followed the same 8 practices:

  1. They asked, “What needs to be done?”
  2. They asked, “What’s right for the enterprise?”
  3. Developed action plans.
  4. Took responsibility for decisions.
  5. Took responsibility for communicating.
  6. Focused on opportunities rather than problems.
  7. Ran productive meetings.
  8. They thought and said “we” rather than “I.


Here’s your three-step process to being as effective as possible with your time:

  1. Recording time.
  2. Managing time.
    • ( ”What would happen if this were not done at all?”
    •   “which of the activities on my time log could be done by somebody else just as well, if not better?”)
  3. Consolidating time.
    • 1hr30min ( best timeslot )
    • No interruption


“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.”

Bottom line? Always be focused on what you can contribute. Always ask yourself “what can I do?” And if you’re hiring an employee ask that employee “what can you do for our organization?” According to Peter Drucker, to focus on contribution is to focus on effectiveness.

4 Basic requirements of human relations
  1. Communications.
  2. Teamwork
  3. Individual Self-development.
  4. Development of others


“Making strengths productive is fundamentally an attitude expressed in behaviour. It is fundamentally respect for the person — one’s own as well as others. It is a value system in action. But it is again “learning through doing” and self-development through practice. In making strengths productive, the executive integrates individual purpose and organization needs, individual capacity and organization results, individual achievement and organization opportunity.”
So, how can you staff for strength?

By keeping the following 4 rules in mind:

  1. Effective executives never assume that jobs are “created by nature or by God.” They understand that they’ve been designed by highly fallible men.
  2. Effective executives make big and demanding jobs that are designed to be challenging enough to let someone’s strengths shine.
  3. Effective executives understand that they have to start with what a new hire CAN DO rather than what a job requires. They do not focus on weaknesses in their performance appraisals.
  4. Effective executives know that to get strength one has to put up with weaknesses.


“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.”

To focus on ONE thing at a time. That means:

  • shutting down facebook,
  • turning off your phone (whenever necessary)
  • having only one browser open at a time (and closing out the 32 other tabs you’ve got open in your browser)


  1. The first question the effective decision-maker asks is: “Is this a generic situation or an exception?” It is this common human tendency to confuse plausibility with morality which makes the incomplete hypothesis so dangerous a mistake and so hard to correct. The effective decision-maker, therefore, always assumes initially that the problem is generic. One of the most obvious facts of social and political life is the longevity of the temporary.
  2. The second major element in the decision-process is clear specifications as to what the decision has to accomplish.
  3. One has to start out with what is right rather than what is acceptable (let alone who is right) precisely because one always has to compromise in the end. For there are two different kinds of compromise. One kind is expressed in the old proverb: “Half a loaf is better than no bread.” The other kind is expressed in the story of the Judgment of Solomon, which was clearly based on the realization that “half a baby is worse than no baby at all.”
  4. Converting the decision into action is the fourth major element in the decision-process. In fact, no decision has been made unless carrying it out in specific steps has become someone’s work assignment and responsibility. Until then, there are only good intentions.
  5. Finally, a feedback has to be built into the decision to provide a continuous testing, against actual events, of the expectations that underlie the decisions.


“A decision is a judgment. It is a choice between alternatives. it is rarely a choice between right and wrong. It is at best a choice between “almost right” and “probably wrong” — but much more often a choice between two courses of action neither of which is probably more nearly right, than the other.”

So, how do we make the right decisions?

  • We shouldn’t rush the decision making process,
  • And we shouldn’t make decisions without hearing from an opposing party first — that is, we shouldn’t decide without a disagreement. Why? Because disagreements force us to look at things differently, thus stimulating the imagination, and eventually leading us towards the most effective decisions in the long run.


“The strength of the computer lies in its being a logic machine. It does precisely what it is programmed to do. This makes it fast and precise. It also makes it a total moron.; for logic is essentially stupid. It is doing the simple and obvious. The human being, by contrast, is not logical; he is perceptual. This means that he is slow and sloppy. But he is also bright and has insight. The human being can adapt; that is, he can infer from scanty information or from no information at all what the total picture might be like. He can remember a great many things nobody has programed.”


“Only executive effectiveness can enable this society to harmonize its two needs: the needs of organization to obtain from the individual the contribution it needs, and the need of the individual to have organization serve as his tool for the accomplishment of his purposes. Effectiveness must be learned.”

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