The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done – Peter Drucker

Anyone who has anytime studied Management in any form has definitely heard about Management Guru ” Peter Drucker”. Every engineering student has definitely studied his management principles. So I have always wanted to read some other books written by Mr. Peter Drucker and I came across this book “The Effective Executive”. I really liked the content of the book.

The Words of Wisdom from the book are:

  • 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.
  • The focus on contribution by itself supplies the four basic requirements of effective human relations:
    1• Communications; 2• Teamwork; 3• Self-development; and, • 4. Development of others.
  • The man who asks of himself,
    “What is the most important contribution I can make to the performance of this organization?” asks in effect,
    “What self-development do I need?
    What knowledge and skill do I have to acquire to make the contribution I should be making?
    What strengths do I have to put to work?
    What standards do I have to set myself?”.
  • The executive who focuses on contribution also stimulates others to develop themselves, whether they are sub ordinates, colleagues, or superiors. He sets standards which are not personal but grounded in the requirements of the task. At the same time, they are demands for excellence. For they are demands for high aspiration, for ambitious goals, and for work of great impact.
  • To focus on contribution is to focus on effectiveness.
  • Strong people always have strong weaknesses too. Where there are peaks, there are valleys. And no one is strong in many areas.
  • “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.
    (a) “What has he [or she] done well?”
    (b) ‘What, therefore, is he likely to be able to do well?”
    (c) “What does he have to learn or to acquire to be able to get the full benefit from his strength?”
  • But way beyond prudence, making the strength of the boss productive is a key to the subordinate’s own effectiveness. It enables him to focus his own contribution in such a way that it finds receptivity upstairs and will be put to use.
    It enables him to achieve and accomplish the things he himself believes in. One does not make the strengths of the boss productive by toadying to him. One does it by starting out with what is right and presenting it in a form which is accessible to the superior. The effective executive accepts that the boss is human.
  • The effective executive looks for them. If he starts out with the question: “What can I do?” he is almost certain to find that he can actually do much more than he has time and resources for.
  • In every area of effectiveness within an organization, one feeds the opportunities and starves the problems.
  • 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.
  • Concentration—that is, the courage to impose on time and events his own decision as to what really matters and comes first—is the executive’s only hope of becoming the master of time and events instead of their whipping boy.
  • 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. But if one does not know what is right to satisfy the specifications and boundary conditions, one cannot distinguish between the right compromise and the wrong compromise—and will end up by making the wrong compromise.
  • But executives who make effective decisions know that one does not start with facts. One starts with opinions.
  • 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.
  • We do not act, in other words, we will in all survive. But if we do act, we maybe better off.
  • Organizations are not more effective because they have better people. They have better people because they motivate to self-development through their standards, through their habits, through their climate. And these, in turn, result from systematic, focused, purposeful self-training of the individuals in becoming effective executives.
  • Effective Executives asked,
    “What needs to be done?”
    “What is right for the enterprise?”
    They developed action plans.
    They took responsibility for decisions.
    They took responsibility for communicating.
    They were focused on opportunities rather than problems.
    They ran productive meetings.
    They thought and said “we” rather than “I.”
    The first two practices gave them the knowledge they needed.
    The next four helped them convert this knowledge into effective action.
    The last two ensured that the whole organization felt responsible and accountable.

In the book these are the suggestions given for an employee who wants to be effective executive . In one line you could become effective by constantly asking the question “What can I contribute?”.

I would like to quote from Peter Drucker

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

An executive is a leader who can lead the company. So if you are trying to improve your work style and contribute to your company effectively then this book is for you.