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The Effective Executive


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The Effective Executive

by Peter Drucker

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Brilliance Vs Hard Work

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.


3.51K reads

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.


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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.


1.35K reads

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.


1.25K reads

  1. Effective executives are time-oriented.
  2. Effective executives focus on outward contribution and results rather than effort.
  3. Effective executives build on strengths— their own strengths, the strengths of their superiors, colleagues, and subordinates; and on the strengths in the situation.
  4. Effective executives concentrate on the few major areas where superior performance will produce outstanding results.
  5. Effective executives, finally, make effective decisions. They know that this is, above all, a matter of system— of the right steps in the right sequence.


1.25K reads

  • Effective executives do not start with their tasks. 
  • They start with their time. 
  • They do not start out with planning. 
  • They start by finding out where their time actually goes. Then they attempt to manage their time and to cut back unproductive demands on their time. 
  • Finally, they consolidate their “discretionary” time into the largest possible continuing units.

Time is the most valuable resource, as one can hire great people but cannot rent, hire, buy or obtain more time.


1.12K reads

  • The first step toward executive effectiveness is therefore to record actual time-use.
  • Systematic time management is therefore the next step.
  • One has to find the nonproductive, time-wasting activities and get rid of them if one possibly can.
  • This requires asking oneself a number of diagnostic questions.

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.


800 reads

To ask, “What can I contribute?” is to look for the unused potential in the job. And what is considered excellent performance in a 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.


711 reads


"He always, at the end of his meetings, goes back to the opening statement and relates the final conclusions to the original intent."


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  • The one secret of effectiveness is concentration. Effective executives do first things first and they do one thing at a time.
  • This is the “secret” of those people who “do so many things” and apparently so many difficult things. They do only one at a time. As a result, they need much less time in the end than the rest of us.
  • Effective executives do not race. They set an easy pace but keep going steadily.


778 reads

One can be an effective executive by:

  • Recording where the time goes.
  • Focusing your vision on contribution.
  • Making your strengths productive and focus on using them.
  • Prioritizing the most important things first, not necessarily the most urgent.
  • Taking rational action.


864 reads


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