Brilliant men are often strikingly ineffectual; they fail to realize that the brilliant insight is not by itself achievement.
They never have learned that insights become effective only through hard systematic work.
Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge are essential resources, but only effectiveness converts them into results. By themselves, they only set limits to what can be attained.
If one cannot increase the supply of a resource, one must increase its yield. And effectiveness is the one tool to make the resources of ability and knowledge yield more and better results.
Knowledge work is not defined by quantity. Neither is knowledge work defined by its costs. Knowledge work is defined by its results.
If the executive lets the flow of events determine what he does, what he works on, and what he takes seriously, he will fritter himself away simply“operating.” He may be excellent but is certain to waste his knowledge and ability and to throw away what little effectiveness he might have achieved.
What the executive needs are criteria that enable him to work on the truly important, that is, on contributions and results, even though the criteria are not found in the flow of events.
What seems to be wanted is universal genius, and universal genius has always been in scarce supply. The experience of the human race indicates strongly that the only person in abundant supply is the universal incompetent.
Therefore, we have to staff our organizations with people who at best excel in one of these abilities. And then they are more than likely to lack any but the most modest endowment in the others.
Time is the most valuable resource, as one can hire great people but cannot rent, hire, buy or obtain more time.
Effective executives have learned to ask systematically and without coyness: “What do I do that wastes your time without contributing to your effectiveness?” To ask this question, and to ask it without being afraid of the truth, is a mark of the effective executive.
To ask, “What can I contribute?” is to look for the unused potential in the job. And what is considered excellent performance in a good many positions is often but a pale shadow of the job’s full potential of contribution.”
Every organization needs performance in three major areas: It needs direct results; building of values and their reaffirmation; and building and developing people for tomorrow.
"He always, at the end of his meetings, goes back to the opening statement and relates the final conclusions to the original intent."
One can be an effective executive by:
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