The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

The Effective Executive

Peter Drucker’s The Effective Executive is a practical, quick read. The book got me to spend some time reflecting on some basic practices that make up my day to day work. By making time to focus on some strategies, more can be accomplished. Among the key concepts of this book, I took away:

Pay attention to your time:
Drucker advises that people should record how they spend their time, then periodically analyze it. Identify where time is not well spent, and eliminate the distractions. While leaders cannot plan for every minute of their day, they can focus on limiting how much time is wasted. Meetings must have a purpose,

Focus on your contribution:
Drucker points out that in too many cases, we focus on what we are responsible for. He argues that we must place our concentration on how we add to our organization.

Perform, don’t please:
Leaders must focus on what people in your organization do exceptionally well. Hire people to do big jobs because they can contribute, not simply because they are likable. Sometimes, to get strengths, you have to accept some weaknesses.

Effectiveness can and must be learned. Leaders must do the following things:
Ask “what needs to be done now?”
Ask “what is right for the enterprise?”
Develop action plans
Take responsibility for decisions
Take responsibility for communicating
Focus on opportunities rather than problems
Run effective meetings
Say “we” rather than “I”

Overall, this book pushed me to think about how I spend my time and think about my work. Drucker’s principles, particularly about time management resonated with me. In school, time is often our most precious resource. A careful audit may help us realize how much more we can accomplish. The Drucker Institute website is an outstanding resource and worth a look.


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