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Effective Executive, The Paperback – March 5, 1993

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Editorial Reviews


"An imaginative book, arguing, for instance, for reliance on intuitions rather than 'facts'...a survival manual on how to escape organization traps." -- Christian Science Monitor

"The dean of this country's business and management philosophers." -- Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Peter F. Drucker is considered the most influential management thinker ever. The author of more than twenty-five books, his ideas have had an enormous impact on shaping the modern corporation. Drucker passed away in 2005.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPB; Reissue edition (March 5, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887306128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887306129
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,196,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) was considered the top management thinker of his time. He authored over 25 books, with his first, The End of Economic Man published in 1939. His ideas have had an enormous impact on shaping the modern corporation. One of his most famous disciples alive today is Jack Welch. He was a teacher, philosopher, reporter and consultant.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Peter Drucker begins this book by pointing out that there is no science of how to improve executive effectiveness, nor any naturally-occurring effective executives. The redeeming point of this problem is that he argues that executive effectiveness can be learned.
The principles begin with a focus on time management. We can get greater quantities of every other resource we need, except time. Drucker reports that executives spend their time much differently than they think they do and much differently than they would like to. His solution is to begin by measuring how you spend your time, and compare it with an ideal allocation. Than begin to systematically get rid of the unimportant in favor of the important. His suggestions include stopping some things, delegation, creating policy decisions to replace ad hoc decisions, staying out of things that others should do, and so forth. Any student of time management will recognize the list he suggests. One of the best points is to give yourself large blocks of uninterrupted time to do more significant tasks. He also cautions us not to cut down on time spent with other people. If an hour is required, don't try to do it in 15 minutes.
Next, Drucker argues that we should focus on what will make a difference rather than unimportant questions. Otherwise, we will fill our time with motion rather than proceeding towards results.
Beyond that, he points out that we have to build on our own strengths and those of the people in our organization. That is how we can outperform the competition and accomplish much more.
We also need to be systems thinkers, getting to the core of the issue first. If we are weak on new products, we need to work on the new product development process before fine-tuning our marketing.
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161 of 166 people found the following review helpful By ConsultantsMind on July 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
Although Drucker wrote EFFECTIVE EXECUTIVE more than 30 years ago, the principles of decision making are still relevant today, if not more so. The effective executive. . .
1) Knows where their time goes. Time is the most valuable resource and is inelastic. It must be managed. What has priority? What is better left undone? What can be outsourced?
2) Focuses on results (not effort) by asking:
"What do I do that justifies my being on the payroll?" (pg 53).
3) Staff to people's strength (not the absence of weakness).
There is no such thing as a "good man". Good at what? Likewise, a person is hired to produce results, not to please a superior, or blend in.
4) Fills the job with the right person (not fits the job to the available person). Jobs in the organization are interdependent; if one changes, it will affect another. Also, "To tolerate diversity, relationships must be task-focused rather than personality focused." (pg 77)
5) Tries to be himself / herself (not someone else). (S)He looks for patterns in their performance, and focus on their strengths. "Feed the opportunities and starve the problems." (pg 98)
6) Concentrates on one effort at a time. (not multi-tasking)
It is hard enough to do one thing right.
7) Concentrates on important and strategic decisions (not a great number of small, reactionary decisions). Many problems were created in the past, and solving them only re-establishes the status quo. It is better to seek opportunities than just fix problems.
8) Makes decisions based on dissenting opinions (not pseudo facts and pre-judgements) Use other's opinions to form a case for each side.
9) Acts or does not act (no hedging or compromise)
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115 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Avinash Sharma, The Yogic Manager on April 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Effective Executive" (1966) was the first book to define who an executive is and to explain the practices of effective executives. Today there are several in this genre. But this book was the first, as is the case with many of Drucker's masterpieces.

Drucker starts the book by stating that this book is about managing oneself and that executives who do not manage themselves cannot possibly expect to manage other people.

Efficiency vs. Effectiveness:

"Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things."

For manual work, efficiency was enough. In today world, the center of gravity has shifted from the manual worker to the "knowledge worker" (a term Drucker coined in the 60s). For knowledge work, effectiveness is more important than efficiency.

Who is an executive?

Executive = a knowledge worker who is ... responsible for contributions (decisions, actions) ... that have significant impact on ... performance and results of the whole organization (derived from pages 5 through 9).

Effective executives:

1. Manage time

2. Focus on contributions and results

3. Build on strengths

4. Set the right priorities

5. Make effective decisions

1. Manage time:

"Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed" (page 51).

Chapter 2, Know Thy Time, starts with a three-step process - recording, managing and consolidating time. Drucker then states the factors that make time a unique resource - the supply of time is inelastic, time is perishable and cannot be stored, time is irreplaceable (i.e. has no substitute), all work takes place in and uses up time.
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