Estimated reading time: 2 mins
I am making a bold claim: this book will inspire and surprise you. Originally published in 1966, the book remains essentially the same amazing content, although many examples shared by Drucker are updated.
Peter Ferdinand Drucker (1909-2005) was a prolific writer and management consultant who today is considered to be the father of ‘modern management’. He wrote 39 books in total, but many more articles for popular and academic journals. His subjects were wide-ranging but in general covered the behavior of human organization in society, across private, governmental and non-profit sectors, including the military. It was Drucker who coined the term ‘knowledge worker’ and who predicted the ‘knowledge economy’ we can now observe in most Western countries.
In this book, Drucker takes on defining ‘effectiveness’ in management, with gusto. ‘The Effective Executive’ might be a misleading title – it doesn’t just address the very senior layer of an organization, but in fact it addresses anyone in an organization that has the responsibility of shaping the work of others, from junior managers upwards.
In about 150 pages, Drucker takes readers on a journey through the practice of an Executive. In bringing the work together, he has boiled down all the elements of the duties and profession of management to establish the skills we must acquire in order to be classed as ‘effective’. From time management, decision-making and innovation, this book has it all. Fundamental to the text is Drucker’s insistence that effectiveness can be learned, and it is learned through practice, and it is acquired by learning. Equally fundamental is the assertion that a knowledge worker’s primary objective is to provide contribution to his employer; not to achieve rank, status or job title.
Some powerful considerations arose from this book:
- How much time do I spend using knowledge, against that time I spend turning the cranks of an organization?
- Do I target the results of my work enough towards helping my manager to be successful?
- Do I concentrate on building on the strengths of myself, of my colleagues and the combined strength of my organization? Or do I focus on weaknesses too often?
- Do I set the right priorities?
- When making decisions, do I spend enough time listening to the people who might object to my preferred option?
I feel very strongly about this book. It inspired me to take a deeper look at problems I couldn’t crack. Clearing away the weeds; seeing the wood beyond the trees; cutting to the chase – whatever your cliche, I have been enlightened: as an ‘Executive’ I now see the underlying issues that cause the many business problems I am facing, and I can deal with them. Before this book, I was only dealing with the symptoms.
If you are in a management or executive position at any level, then this book can’t fail to open your eyes to what management is all about. Buy this book today , you won’t regret it! I urge you to pick this book up, and for the price of a take-out lunch, you have very little to lose.