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Effective Executive Друкера - 3 - taubenschlag — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Effective Executive Друкера - 3 [Jun. 7th, 2010|01:49 pm]
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***</font></span>

There is no lack of ideas in any organization I know. “Creativity” is not our problem. But few organizations ever get going on their own good ideas.

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The job is, however, not to set priorities. That is easy. Everybody can do it. The reason why so few executives concentrate is the difficulty of setting “posteriorities”—that is, deciding what tasks not to tackle—and of sticking to the decision.

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Setting a posteriority is also unpleasant. Every posteriority is somebody else’s top priority. It is much easier to draw up a nice list of top priorities and then to hedge by trying to do “just a little bit” of everything else as well. This makes everybody happy. The only drawback is, of course, that nothing whatever gets done.

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The most important thing about priorities and posteriorities is, however, not intelligent analysis but courage. Courage rather than analysis dictates the truly important rules for identifying priorities: Pick the future as against the past; Focus on opportunity rather than on problem; Choose your own direction—rather than climb on the bandwagon; and Aim high, aim for something that will make a difference, rather than for something that is “safe” and easy to do.

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Concentration—that is, the courage to impose on time and events his own decision as to what really matters and comes first—is the executive’s only hope of becoming the master of time and events instead of their whipping boy.

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Effective executives do not make a great many decisions. They concentrate on the important ones. They try to think through what is strategic and generic, rather than “solve problems.”

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They want impact rather than technique, they want to be sound rather than clever.

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Effective executives know when a decision has to be based on principle and when it should be made on the merits of the case and pragmatically. They know that the trickiest decision is that between the right and the wrong compromise and have learned to tell one from the other.

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All events but the truly unique require a generic solution. They require a rule, a policy, a principle.

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The effective executive does not need to make many decisions. Because he solves generic situations through a rule and policy, he can handle most events as cases under the rule; that is, by adaptation. “A country with many laws is a country of incompetent lawyers,” says an old legal proverb. It is a country which attempts to solve every problem as a unique phenomenon, rather than as a special case under general rules of law. Similarly, an executive who makes many decisions is both lazy and ineffectual.

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But clear thinking about the boundary conditions is needed also to identify the most dangerous of all possible decisions: the one that might—just might—work if nothing whatever goes wrong.

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Everyone can make the wrong decision—in fact, everyone will sometimes make a wrong decision. But no one needs to make a decision which, on its face, falls short of satisfying the boundary conditions.

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One has to start out with what is right rather than what is acceptable (let alone who is right) precisely because one always has to compromise in the end.

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For there are two different kinds of compromise. One kind is expressed in the old proverb: “Half a loaf is better than no bread.” The other kind is expressed in the story of the Judgment of Solomon, which was clearly based on the realization that “half a baby is worse than no baby at all.”

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It is fruitless and a waste of time to worry about what is acceptable and what one had better not say so as not to evoke resistance.

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Converting a decision into action requires answering several distinct questions: Who has to know of this decision? What action has to be taken? Who is to take it? And what does the action have to be so that the people who have to do it can do it? The first and the last of these are too often overlooked—with dire results.

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All this becomes doubly important when people have to change behavior, habits, or attitudes if a decision is to become effective action. Here one has to make sure not only that responsibility for the action is clearly assigned and that the people responsible are capable of doing the needful. One has to make sure that their measurements, their standards for accomplishment, and their incentives are changed simultaneously. Otherwise, the people will get caught in a paralyzing internal emotional conflict.

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a feedback has to be built into the decision to provide a continuous testing, against actual events, of the expectations that underlie the decision.

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Decisions are made by men. Men are fallible; at their best their works do not last long. Even the best decision has a high probability of being wrong. Even the most effective one eventually becomes obsolete.

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One needs organized information for the feedback. One needs reports and figures. But unless one builds one’s feedback around direct exposure to reality—unless one disciplines oneself to go out and look—one condemns oneself to a sterile dogmatism and with it to ineffectiveness.

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A decision is a judgment. It is a choice between alternatives. It is rarely a choice between right and wrong. It is at best a choice between “almost right” and “probably wrong”—but much more often a choice between two courses of action neither of which is provably more nearly right than the other.

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To get the facts first is impossible. There are no facts unless one has a criterion of relevance. Events by themselves are not facts.

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People inevitably start out with an opinion; to ask them to search for the facts first is even undesirable.

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The only rigorous method, the only one that enables us to test an opinion against reality, is based on the clear recognition that opinions come first—and that this is the way it should be. Then no one can fail to see that we start out with untested hypotheses—in decision-making as in science the only starting point. We know what to do with hypotheses—one does not argue them; one tests them.

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Unless one has considered alternatives, one has a closed mind.

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There are three main reasons for the insistence on disagreement. It is, first, the only safeguard against the decision-maker’s becoming the prisoner of the organization.

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The only way to break out of the prison of special pleading and preconceived notions is to make sure of argued, documented, thought-through disagreements.

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Second, disagreement alone can provide alternatives to a decision. And a decision without an alternative is a desperate gambler’s throw, no matter how carefully thought through it might be.

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Above all, disagreement is needed to stimulate the imagination.

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In all matters of true uncertainty such as the executive deals with—whether his sphere is political, economic, social, or military—one needs “creative” solutions which create a new situation. And this means that one needs imagination—a new and different way of perceiving and understanding.

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The effective decision-maker, therefore, organizes disagreement. This protects him against being taken in by the plausible but false or incomplete.

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The effective decision-maker does not start out with the assumption that one proposed course of action is right and that all others must be wrong. Nor does he start out with the assumption, “I am right and he is wrong.” He starts out with the commitment to find out why people disagree.

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The effective executive is concerned first with understanding. Only then does he even think about who is right and who is wrong.

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There is one final question the effective decision-maker asks: “Is a decision really necessary?” One alternative is always the alternative of doing nothing.

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If we do not act, in other words, we will in all probability survive. But if we do act, we may be better off.

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In this situation the effective decision-maker compares effort and risk of action to risk of inaction.

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Act if on balance the benefits greatly outweigh cost and risk; and Act or do not act; but do not “hedge” or compromise.

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And it is at this point that most decisions are lost. It becomes suddenly quite obvious that the decision is not going to be pleasant, is not going to be popular, is not going to be easy. It becomes clear that a decision requires courage as much as it requires judgment.

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Executives are not paid for doing things they like to do. They are paid for getting the right things done—most of all in their specific task, the making of effective decisions.

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THIS BOOK RESTS ON TWO PREMISES: The executive’s job is to be effective; and Effectiveness can be learned.

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The executive is paid for being effective. He owes effectiveness to the organization for which he works.

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Effectiveness reveals itself as crucial to a man’s self-development; to organization development; and to the fulfillment and viability of modern society.

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Effective decision-making requires both procedure and analysis, but its essence is an ethics of action.

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Executive effectiveness is our one best hope to make modern society productive economically and viable socially.

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Only executive effectiveness can enable this society to harmonize its two needs: the needs of organization to obtain from the individual the contribution it needs, and the need of the individual to have organization serve as his tool for the accomplishment of his purposes.

 

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