Be an effective executive

Even though this book was written half a century ago, the wisdom and insights look very much aligned with today’s world, especially software companies. I’ve enjoyed it and read it another time to make sketchnotes.

Peter Drucker pointed out what’s most important for a knowledge worker: use your mind, not just your hands. Being effective is not about following orders and get them done right, but figuring out what’s the right thing to do in the first place.

Being an executive doesn’t mean you have to have a “C” level title — everyone is an executive. When you see anything you think should be improved, don’t wait, find a way to improve it; or at least, you can talk to people who know how to improve it.

One of my favorite chapters in this book is about decision making:

  • Make sure the necessary parts are covered: involve the accountable, be mindful about the deadline, talk with the affected, invite the to-be-informed
  • Understand the problem clearly, is it a generic situation, or an exception?
  • From the start, aim for the right solution, not an acceptable solution, because you’re almost certainly going to make some compromise in the end
  • A decision is a judgment, often time you do not make a decision between what’s right and what’s wrong, but what’s almost right and what’s probably wrong.

Below are my sketchnotes for this book:

  • (1 of 8) The eight practices of an effective executive

  • (2 of 8)Who to involve when making a decision

  • (3 of 8) Exploit a change as an opportunity

  • (4 of 8) Doer vs Thinker

  • (5 of 8) How to make a decision

  • (6 of 8) Four types of problems

  • (7 of 8) Start with what’s right, rather than what’s acceptable

  • (8 of 8) A decision is a judgment

 

Book image source

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