8 Practices of Effective Executives — From Knowledge to Action to Accountability


What makes an effective executive?

Responding to this question, Peter Drucker wrote that great chief executives in history often did not have stereotypical leader charisma or similar personalities, attitudes, values, strengths, or weaknesses. Drucker argues that what they do have is commitment to eight core executive 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 and said “we” rather than “I”.

At the heart of these practices put forward by Drucker is a commitment to getting the right things done in the right way. In order to get the right things done in the right way, effective executives need to:

  • Get the knowledge they need,
  • Translate this knowledge into action, and
  • Ensure accountability for this action across the organization.

If you are responsible for executive leadership in a community, Drucker’s eight core executive practices provide practical insight on moving from knowledge, to action, to accountability. How are you doing on these fronts? Are you refining these practices in a movement toward effective executive leadership?

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