Below are a few notes from a recent, and excellent, article by Peter Drucker on Effective Executives in the Feb. 2006 issue of Harvard Business Review This is actually from a retrospective/re-print of various articles and collectively titled "What Executives Should Remember." The last of which includes a short list of behaviors executives should consistently exhibit. - B. Lawler
What Makes an Effective Executive
An effective executive does not need to be a leader in the sense that the term is now commonly used. Harry Truman did not have one ounce of
charisma, for example, yet he was among the most effective chief executives in U.S. history. Similarly, some of the best business leaders and nonprofit CEOs I've worked with over a 65-year consulting career were not stereotypical leaders. They were all over the map in terms of their personalities, attitudes, values, strengths, and weaknesses. They ranged from extroverted to nearly reclusive, from easygoing to controlling, from generous to parsimonious.
What made them all effective is that they followed the same eight practices:
- They asked, "What needs to be done?"
- They asked, "What is right for the enterprise?"
- They developed action plans.
- They took responsibility for decisions.
- They took responsibility for communicating.
- They were focused on opportunities rather than problems.
- They ran productive meetings.
- They thought and said "we" rather than "I..."
We've just reviewed eight practices of effective executives. I'm going to throw in one final, bonus practice. This one's so important that I'll elevate it to the level of a rule: Listen first, speak last.