Drucker on the Effective Executive

Last month’s Harvard Business Review features a piece by Peter Drucker on What makes an effective executive [payment required] (also reprinted in this morning’s Australian Financial Review).

Drucker lists eight characteristics of an effective executive from his 65 years of observations.
Two points on his list stood out for us:

  • They asked, “What is right for the enterprise?”
  • They thought and said “we” rather than “I”.

Expanding on what is his second point, Drucker strikes a chord with us when he says:

Effective executives’ second practice, as important as the first, is to ask,
“Is this the right thing for the enterprise?” They do not ask if it’s right for the owners,
the stock price, the employees, or the executives.

We have long argued the “Shareholder Value” as the only purpose of an organisation is a
myth (see Beyond Selfishness).
Drucker points out that is also bad for the enterprise.

In another parallel with the Mintzberg article we referred to above, Drucker says:

The final practice is this: don’t think or say “I”.
Think and say “we”. Effective executives know they have ultimate responsibility, which can
be neither shared nor delegated, but they have authority only because they have the trust of the organisation.

Recommended reading.

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