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Peter Drucker’s secrets of managing effectively


The late Peter Drucker’s secrets of managing effectively: first, how good are you at the five functions of the manager?

1. setting objectives
2. organising the group
3. motivating and communicating
4. measuring performance
5. developing people

For each of the five, ask two questions: am I truly effective (doing the right thing) or am I merely efficient (doing things right)? Score yourself on effectiveness and efficiency on each of the five functions on a scale of 0-10: 35 or below is inadequate. Rectify fast! 35-70 is average to good. Improve! And 75 and above is great, but don’t relax!

To set objectives, do a feedback analysis on a regular basis. Whenever you take a key decision or action, write down what you expect to happen. Review results at regular intervals and compare them with expectations. Use this feedback as a guide and goad to reinforce strengths and eliminate weaknesses.

Then organise yourself. Ask three absolutely basic and marvellous time management questions.

  • What am I doing that does not need to be done at all?
  • What am I doing that can be done by somebody else?
  • What am I doing that only I can do?

Obviously, you scrap the first, delegate the second, and concentrate only on tasks in the last question. You’ll free up huge quantities of time, but watch out, the unnecessary time-wasters keep on creeping back – shoot ‘em on sight.

Motivating hinges on people identifying themselves with the organisation and their own group, and with its products and/or services: while accepting individual and group responsibility for the quality and performance of their work. The key tools are the three Ps: Pay, Placement and Promotion. That means how you reward people, put the round and square pegs in the appropriate holes, and raise people to realise more of their potential.

Don’t measure performance by financial numbers alone. Look for indicators like market share, quality ratings by customers, successful innovations, competitive rankings, customer satisfaction, employment morale, cost of waste, use of capital, productivity. It’s a measure of the complexity of the management task that you need to get all these indicators moving upwards at the same time.

Finally, developing yourself and others requires constantly taking action to improve – and there will ALWAYS be room for improvement. So take the six step action plan:

1. Identify your strengths
2. Improve your strengths
3. Increase your knowledge
4. Eliminate bad habits
5. Practice good manners
6. Avoid weak areas

It’s no use just concentrating on yourself; being a good deed in a naughty world won’t get you far. Everybody should have their own individual action plans to guide and improve their performance, making the best use of time by concentrating on strengths and wasting as little as possible on areas of low performance.

Drucker, as you can see, was a highly pragmatic man. Pragmatic means ‘concerned with what is practicable, expedient or convenient, or with practical consequences rather than with theories and ideas’. Drucker actually combines both – and that’s how you combine efficiency with effectiveness.

Robert Heller