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Effective Executive Decision Making

An effective executive in today’s business environment is someone who gets the right things done. He knows how to set priorities, how to develop and implement plans of action, and how to promote a sense of responsibility and accountability throughout his organization. But don’t be fooled; these are not skills that are innate, nor do they come naturally to many people. In fact, management consultant Peter Drucker believes that a person can learn to be an effective executive by practicing five basic practices.

Know Thy Time

An executive must learn to recognize his limitations and the limitations of the people around him. He must not let himself be seduced by the “shiny objects” of new projects that demand immediate attention. He must insist on recording where his time goes, so that he can discipline himself to focus on the few important tasks. He must also force himself to think through the question, “Why am I on the payroll? What am I supposed to contribute?” The answers should lead him to demand high standards of himself.

Staff for Strength

Effective executives try to hire people who can do the job, rather than who pleases them. They avoid the tendency to look for people with impressive credentials, because they believe that the test of a good manager is his ability to make common people achieve exceptional performance. They also try to avoid the pitfalls of personality clashes, because they understand that such conflicts can easily turn into work-wasting feuds.

Make a Unique Contribution

To be an effective executive, one must know what he can and cannot do well. He must concentrate on jobs that he will do especially well and delegate the rest. He must also think through the issue of how he should approach each task, avoiding the tendency to overdo his work. Jack Welch, America’s best-known CEO, used to spend a week every five years thinking through what he would do differently in his company if he were to start over from scratch.

Maximize Strengths

The effective executive tries to find ways of using his own abilities to the fullest. He tries to identify those strengths that will produce the maximum amount of value in his company, and he works to maximize those strengths. He also tries to develop his own self-confidence, so that he can face the challenges of the future without feeling overwhelmed.

Put First Things First

The effective executive Mark Morabito tries to make sure that all of his information needs are met before making an important decision. He shares his plans with his superiors, subordinates and peers, so that everyone has a chance to express his viewpoint. He also makes a point of scheduling regular meetings that will keep his subordinates and peers informed. He will also make sure that the purpose of a meeting is stated at its outset, and that he does not allow the meeting to degenerate into an informal brainstorming session. At the end of the meeting, he will make sure that he has a clear idea of how his final conclusions relate to the original intent of the meeting.