Many authors and eminent leaders have tried to answer the question every working professional has to deal with day in day out. That question is how to become “the effective executive”? An effective executive does not need to be a leader in the sense that the term is now most commonly used.
Let’s start with simple definition of the word “Effective”. Being effective means “successful in producing a desired or intended result”.
The qualities of high intelligence, imagination and level of knowledge are quite commonly found in executives, but the mere presence of these qualities does not necessarily ensure effectiveness. “Brilliant men are often strikingly ineffectual” and insights become effectiveness only through hard work and doing certain fairly simple things.
Another myth about effectiveness that it cannot be learned, but to the contrary effectiveness can be learned through simple five habits which are being revealed below.
Effective executives do not start with task. They start with time and undertake a set of practices to know where time actually goes. The set of practices include recording time, managing time and consolidating time, and sometimes working uninterrupted for long hours. The difference between time used and time wasted is effectiveness and results. An effective executive needs to master the art of delegating work.
The Effective Contribution
In one way or another an effective contribution is sub-set of performance. The key attributes of an effective contribution are communication, Teamwork, Self- development and Development of others. Performance should be measured in three major areas:
- Direct Results, top line and bottom line growth
- Building of values
- Building and developing people for tomorrow
Productivity of Strength
The executive must seek performance and not mere conformance. Four ways by which strengths can be made optimally productive.
- Do not start with the assumption that jobs are created by nature. Redesign jobs if required to make common people achieve uncommon performance.
- Make each job demanding.
- Know what a man can do rather than what a job requires. There has to be proper appraisals in vogue.
- To get strength one has to put up with weakness as well. “One cannot hire a hand, the whole man also comes with it”-goes a proverb.
Priorities and Posterior ties
Concentration is the secret of effectiveness. Here comes the question of fixing priorities and posterior ties and concentrating based on these. One should slough off the past that has ceased to be productive through periodic review of work programs. Unproductive past baggage must be pruned; otherwise they drain the life blood from an organization. The rules of identifying priorities can be summarized as under:
- Pick the future as against the past.
- Focus on opportunity rather than on problem.
- Choose your own direction, rather than climb on the bandwagon.
- Aim high, aim for something that will make a difference, rather than for something that is safe.
A decision is a choice between alternatives and not between right and wrong. Effective decisions may not be pleasant to swallow but the effective executive must not give up and say “let us do another study.” Effective executives do not make a great number of decisions at a time. They concentrate on the important ones and try to think through what is strategic and generic, rather than solve problems.
A decision should be based on principle, and at the same time based on merits of the case in question. To be a decision, it has to be implemented. Otherwise it remains only a good intention. An effective decision is based on the highest level of conceptual understanding; the action of carrying it out should be as close as possible to the working level and as simple as possible.
Followed rigorously, these five principles can help anyone to learn the art of being an “Effective Executive”.
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