What the article says:
- “Effective executives know where their time goes. They work systematically at managing the little of their time that can be brought under their control.” … Record how you spend your time. Cut the things that steal it. Then consolidate your time into chunks big enough to accomplish good work.
- “Effective executives focus on outward contribution. They gear their efforts to results rather than to work. They start out with the question, “What results are expected of me?” rather than with the work to be done, let alone with its techniques and tools.” … Don’t focus on the work in front of you, focus on results. If you’re just doing what comes in, you’re on the treadmill, not making a difference.
- “Effective executives build on strengths—their own strengths, the strengths of their superiors, colleagues, and subordinates; and on the strengths in the situation, that is, on what they can do. They do not build on weakness. They do not start out with the things they cannot do.” … Delegate what you’re not good at and spend your time on what you are.
- “Effective executives concentrate on the few major areas where superior performance will produce outstanding results. They force themselves to set priorities and stay with their priority decisions. They know that they have no choice but to do first things first—and second things not at all. The alternative is to get nothing done.” … Getting things done is not enough. You must get the right things done. What is most important? Focus on that.
- “Effective executives … make effective decisions. They know that this is, above all, a matter of system—of the right steps in the right sequence. They know that an effective decision is always a judgment based on “dissenting opinions” rather than on “consensus on the facts.” And they know that to make many decisions fast means to make the wrong decisions. What is needed are few, but fundamental, decisions. What is needed is the right strategy rather than razzle-dazzle tactics.” … The best decision makers focus on the decisions that are important and the ones only they can solve.
Why this matters:
In the face of never ending demands on executive time, and the relentless pace of business, we can often find ourselves doing the urgent rather than the important, being busy but not productive. Barker’s excellent summary of Drucker’s work is both a timely reminder and an effective checklist for getting our focus right