Many of you may be familiar with the 1967 classic “The Effective Executive” by Peter F. Ducker. It has been quoted by many in the areas of time management, leadership and executive skills. Even after 40+ years later, the book is applicable today.


Here are five lessons I learned from The Effective Executive:


1. Do what needs to be done. Effective executives address the things that must be done and not just the things that they want to do. It is not just to get things done, it is about getting the right things done. By changing the focus to the needs of the business, you are able to determine where your contributions will make the biggest impact. Are you focusing on important things or are you wasting your time on low value busywork? How could you spend your time in better ways? What would you need to change?

2. Problem solving does not produce results. While being a good problem solver is important as an effective executive, this skill does not produce results. Problem solving prevents damage. Focus on looking for opportunities instead of solving problems. Many problems can be solved through delegation, learn to leverage your resources.

3. Manage your time. Focus on managing time more than managing people or budgets. Remember that time is not a renewable resource. Find wasteful and unproductive uses of your time and reduce them systematically. How am I spending my time?” to “How should I be spending my time?”

4. Achieve uncommon performance. Your organization’s task is to help ordinary individuals achieve extraordinary results. To achieve uncommon performance, you must leverage people strengths and not try to fix their weaknesses.

5. The secret of the effective executive is concentration. While the norm today is multi-tasking, concentrating in one task is what will make you an effective executive. The effective way to work through your long list of tasks is one at a time.

I hope you have found this information helpful. Let me know other tips you have that can make someone an effective executive.


If you are interested in more tips about time management, consider reading my article “Go To Jail For Wasting Other People’s Time”