The Effective Executive — a book review

While listening to a podcast episode on Manager Tools I was reminded to read The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker. So I did.

Except for Drucker talking about the “future of computing” looking forward to advancements like what we now know as “the internet” and computers that could process logic problems it’s still absolutely relevant to today. Oh, and he spelled “programing” with only one “m”. Those were the only pieces that gave me chuckles.

While it’s understandable that the executive must be effective, one piece that Drucker mentions is that effectiveness can be learned —which is relieving if you ever hear things like, “you have to be born with _________.”

But, it’s not simply that it can be learned, but it must be learned through an all-out, leave-everything-on-the-court focus. Not a decision to be made —or kept — on a whim.

There were many takeaways, but one that I’ve been pondering for over a week is the question, “What can I contribute?”

What can I contribute to my team? What can I contribute to my family? What can I contribute to the executive staff? What can I contribute — to make Riskalyze a 10x more amazing company than it already is? What can I contribute to the team so we contribute more?

Not asking the question, I’m likely to aim too low, too narrowly, or on details, rather than higher level where it’s needed. I need to contribute in three ways:

  1. Direct results (Support and Coaching, for me)
  2. Reaffirming and retelling values
  3. Investing in people

Any fewer contributions and I fail. If an executive can squarely hit those three, she is making a solid contribution — but she must continue to press forward. She has to grow her team and lead them to new heights, past old boundaries to accomplish still more.

Upon reflection, that’s a great start. But there’s more because it doesn’t end. After that, it’s continuing to ask the question, What can I contribute?

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