The Secret to Executive Effectiveness

Saturday, March 3rd, 2007
Peter Drucker, in The Effective Executive, writes: “The focus on contribution counteracts one of the basic problems of the executive: the confusion and the chaos of events and their failure to indicate by themselves which is meaningful and which is merely ‘noise.’”  If an executive, a knowledge worker, simply deals with “stuff as it shows up,” he will quickly find that he has misspent his time on the operational aspects of his work at the expense of the strategic work which his title and responsibilities require of him. The secret to effectiveness, therefore, is to clearly define the successful outcome of his role in the organization.
One way to do this, proposes Drucker, is to ask the question, “What is the most important contribution I can make to the performance of this organization?”
The answer to this question, indeed the process of asking it, will provide many tangential benefits and impacts, including: an understanding of self-development, knowledge, and skills, which may be required, an understanding of the key information flows in an organization, and identification of the key people and processes which provide or rely upon those flows.  A focus on what the executive can contribute, that no one else can, will lift the executive to a level beyond the immediate needs of the organization to a place where he can focus the best interests of the organization.  It is there that the executive – and the organization – will realize the maximum potential: effectiveness.

Focus on Contribution

Discussion/Comments (3):

The Secret


I recently read through a mentor's book ("The Empathy Effect" by Tom Ward) and recognize the line of energy you write about here.

One of the quotes that stands out to me from Tom's book:

"When building a powerful and empathetic team, the leader's knack for recognizing and encouraging individual strengths not only serves the practical purpose of ensuring that all necessary functions are executed properly - it also fortifies each person's sense of their purpose and wealth."

Contribution - and KNOWING one is contributing, therefore - seems to be the best way to facilitate involvement and growth. Thanks for bringing Drucker into the conversation!

+ Here's a link to Tom's book:

{ Link }

Posted at 3/4/2007 7:37:03 AM by Jason Womack

The Secret to Executive Effectiveness

Good post. It reminded me to focus on the important things.

Posted at 3/4/2007 6:27:24 PM by Kevin Bals

re: The Secret

Hi Jason,

Indeed, KNOWING the most important contribution I can make in a given situation often clarifies the decision-making that follows. At least, that's been my experience. I recently used these principles to make some big decisions. Skype me and I'll tell you more. - Eric

Posted at 3/10/2007 4:33:29 PM by Eric Mack

Discussion for this entry is now closed.