Being Effective

Being Effective

In his book, The Effective Executive, Peter Drucker describes being effective as “doing the right things” and being efficient as “doing things right.” An executive is effective when they get the right things done. Drucker defines an executive as someone who, based on knowledge or position, is responsible for materially influencing an organization’s performance. Executives must focus on being effective because: a) most of their time is used by others; b) the flow of events often dictates what they work on; and c) they must influence others to get the right things done.

To increase effectiveness, Drucker recommends the following:

  • Contribution – Make contribution and execution the heart of your efforts. Contribution is about having a positive organizational impact and execution is about getting things done. Look for unused potential for both.
  • Decision – Make decisions based on strategic issues rather than the needs of the moment. Decide what is right versus what is acceptable. Convert the decision into action.
  • Focus – Do first things first and do one thing at a time.  Focus on 3-5 top priorities and ignore the remaining “noise.” Setting priorities is important, but deciding what not to do is more important.
  • Perspective – Encourage the perspectives of other people and test them against the facts. Multiple points-of-view can help to eliminate mistakes and surface alternatives.
  • Strength – Focus on strengths, not weakness. A strength is the combination of knowledge, skill and talent. Strengths produce results. A weakness is anything that blocks success. Weaknesses produce headaches.
  • Time – Record time to know where it goes and delegate or eliminate unproductive activities (e.g., non-critical meetings).  If you do not control your time, someone else will control it for you.

If you are not effective, you cannot manage other people for effectiveness, as leadership is largely based on example. Because leaders are paid to achieve results, they must be effective at both the executive- and organizational-level to keep their positions.  When executives are effective or increase their level of effectiveness, they accelerate the overall performance of their organizations.  Ultimately, effectiveness can and must be learned. For additional tactics on increasing effectiveness, please visit my earlier post on Work-Life Balance.

Lessons Learned

  • Being effective is about doing the right things (leadership).
  • Being efficient is about doing things right (management).
  • Executives are effective when they get the right things done.
  • Ultimately, effectiveness can and must be learned.
  • When executives are effective, they accelerate organizational performance.

All contents copyright © 2012, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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