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Peter Drucker in The Effective Executive

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  • Peter Drucker in The Effective Executive

    DA refers to Peter Drucker as his Guru. And he is in fact the most influential management thinker of all times. Every time you read him you come back with lot of respect for his insight and prescience. I was re-reading his book 'The Effective Executive' (first published 1966) and found something interesting he has to say about learning to be effective (The subheading goes: Can Effectiveness Be Learned?)

    Effectiveness, in other words is a habit, that is a complex of practices. And practices can always be learned. Practices are simple, deceptively so; even a seven-year-old has no difficulty in understanding a practice. But practices are always exceedingly hard to do well. They have to be acquired as we all learned the multiplication table, that is, repeated ad nauseam until ‘6x6=36’has become an unthinking, conditioned reflex and a firmly ingrained habit. Practices one learns by practicing and practicing and practicing again.

    AA

  • #2
    The one thing I remember from The Effective Exec is that we need large uninterupted blocks of time to accomplish anything worh doing. Drucker suggests blocks of one and a half hours.
    I use this every day. 1.5 hours of (hopefully) uninterupted work followed by .5 hour of returning calls or handling a quick or other urgent tast. Then back to the 1.5. In the course of an 8 hour day you would have 4 blocks of 1.5 hours or 6 hours of concentration! Sounds nice doesn't it!
    Seems to me GTD would work nicely in this "structure."
    Mike

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    • #3
      Mike

      You are right. Drucker suggests that for most of the tasks the executive requires a large quantum of time. To break a larger task into small chunks and try to accomplish that task, he says, is sheer waste and shortchanging oneself.

      He gives an example of writing a report which may require six or eight hours. He says that is the minimum time required to generate the 'zero' draft - the one before the first draft. Having created the zero draft we can work on fairly small chunks of time while revising.

      So it sure is a battle to find these large chunks of time for many executives. To have 'small dibs and dabs' of time will not be sufficient even if they add up to an impressive number. But to be effective we have to be ruthless and find such chunks.

      I would like to hear from others who have read Drucker and found something they thought was helpful.

      AA

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      • #4
        For me, Drucker's statement about blocks of time, as mentioned above, was the most impressive statement. I've been working to apply it since I read it a couple of months ago, and it is beginning to transform my work. The more I focus and find blocks of time to work uninterrupted, the better I am able to accomplish large, long-term important tasks.

        BTW while meetings and phone calls are major interruptions, I've found that just allowing myself to check email only three times a day, instead of whenever I think about it, reduces one of the worst of what I've begun to call microinterruptions. By microinterruptions, I mean all those little doable, not necessarily worthless, things that I let interrupt me when I need to be working on larger tasks that require continuous focus.

        David

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        • #5
          Drucker's early 70s book?

          DA in the GTD Fast CD thanks Peter Drucker for a book that Drucker has written in the early 70s. The book DA says introduced him to the word knowledge work(er).

          Does anyone know which book of Drucker's is our man is referring to?

          AA

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          • #6
            Re: Drucker's early 70s book?

            Originally posted by Ashok Atluri
            DA in the GTD Fast CD thanks Peter Drucker for a book that Drucker has written in the early 70s. The book DA says introduced him to the word knowledge work(er).

            Does anyone know which book of Drucker's is our man is referring to?

            AA
            Probably Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, published 1974. This is Drucker's Big Book, a very important, very thorough book on management with a capital M. Like most of Drucker's books, readable and good. Actually, the first of Drucker's books I read.

            This thread is reminding me it's been a long time since I read The Effective Executive. And Amazon.com tells me it's been revised.

            Another bit of Drucker that had a huge influence on me was a long article he wrote in Forbes in the '80s (I think) about ethics. It was the best article on business ethics I've ever read.

            Cheers, Richard

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            • #7
              I have that book but have never got around reading it in a disciplined way (gave a look here and there though) - looks too big and daunting. I think will get around it sometime next week.

              Thanks.

              AA

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              • #8
                I think David also referred to having read "post capatalist society " by Drucker in 94 (not sure when it was published ) and it introduced him to the word "knowledge worker"

                the quote came from a Fast Company "Real Time" seminar he did in 99

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                • #9
                  Since we are talking about Peter Drucker, it's worth mentioning one of his articles which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in October, 2000 which really influenced my thinking. The title is "Beyond the Information Revolution" and it discusses railroads, the industrial revolution, e-commerce, and fish farming (yes, fish farming). I would post a link but I'm not sure about the copyright rules. Just search on the article name and you'll find it. It's well worth reading.

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