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Five Habits of an Effective Executive

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The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker defines five habits an executive should practice in order to be effective.

  1. Effective executives know where their time goes
  2. Effective executives focus on outward contribution
  3. Effective executives build on strengths and not weakness
  4. Effective executives concentrate on the few major areas where superior performance will produce outstanding results
  5. Effective executives, finally, make decisions knowing that an effective decision is always based on “dissenting opinions” rather than on “consensus on the facts”

I was recently re-reading my copy to refresh my memory, as well as to clarify my own thinking on some topics, and came across this little gem:

The first rule for the concentration of executive efforts is to slough off the past that has ceased to be productive. Effective executives periodically review their work programs—and those of their associates—and ask: “If we did not already do this, would we go into it now?” And unless the answer is an unconditional “Yes,” they drop the activity or curtail it sharply. At the least, they make sure that no more resources are being invested in the no-longer-productive past. And those first-class resources, especially those scarce resources of human strength which are engaged in these tasks of yesterday, are immediately pulled out and put to work on the opportunities of tomorrow.

The first edition of the book was published back in 1966 and still remains a source of great advice. Highly recommended!

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This blog post first appeared on Anil John | Blog ( The opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent my employer’s view in any way.

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