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Key points from “What Makes An Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker
05 Aug 2019 Post by: Steven Moe

Peter Drucker was one of the most influential thinkers on management of the last century.  He was born in 1909 and died in 2005 so his life spanned a century during which he wrote 39 books and countless articles.  While I had heard his name before, he came to my attention recently when I was preparing a reflection about what we each are building with our lives here.  He had made a story famous which I used and so it sparked an interest to learn more about him as well.

So when I came across a piece by him in a compilation book of articles called “On Leadership” by the Harvard Business Review, I was curious to see what he had to say on the topic of what makes an effective executive.  Essentially his argument is that to be an effective leader it is not so much about charisma or whether a person is introverted or extroverted.  Instead he boils it down to eight essential questions or patterns of behaviour which really set them apart.  Some of the key ones were:

The short article was consistent with other things I have read by and about Peter Drucker as they always emphasise having a strategic approach focussed on the long term.  For me the key takeaway was the first point mentioned about the words we use.  It is tempting in our individualistic culture to talk about ourselves and “I” more than emphasising team and “we”.  But the language that we use is a model for how we actually perceive things and so it is important to be conscious and deliberate in how we choose our words.

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