This article is about managing oneself for effectiveness. That one can truly manage other people is by no means adequately proven. But one can always manage oneself. Indeed, executives who do not manage themselves for effectiveness cannot possibly expect to manage their associates & subordinates. Management is largely by example. Executives who do not know how to make themselves effective in their own job & work set the wrong examples.

To be reasonably effective it is not enough for the individual to be intelligent, to work hard or to be knowledgeable. Effectiveness is something separate, something different. But to be effective also does not require special gifts, special attitude or special training. Effectiveness as an executive demands doing certain-& fairly simple-things. It consists of a small number of practices. These practices are discussed in this article.

There is no such thing as a “natural” effective executive who was born effective. Everybody has to learn to be effective.

Effectiveness is what executives are being paid for. Without effectiveness there is no “performance.”

Effective executives follow these eight practices:

  1. They asked, “What needs to be done?”
  2. They asked, “What is right for the enterprise?”
  3. They developed action plans.
  4. They took responsibility for decisions.
  5. They took responsibility for communicating.
  6. They were focused on opportunities  rather than problems.
  7. They ran productive meetings.
  8. They thought & said “we” rather than “I.”

The first two practices gave them the knowledge they needed. The next four helped them convert this knowledge into effective action. The last two ensured that the whole organisation felt responsible & accountable.

The five practices essential to business effectiveness that can & must be learned:

  • Managing time
  • Choosing what to contribute to the organisation
  • Knowing where & how to mobilise strength for best effect
  • Setting the right priorities
  • Knitting all of them together with effective decision making