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The Effective Executive


The MySQL management team is one of the best I've ever worked with.  It's an interesting blend of European style combined with Silicon Valley "get it done" pragmatism.  When we are discussing complex issues, we often ask questions that come from the works of Peter Drucker, perhaps the most prolific of management consultants.  Many of his best writings are surprisingly basic.  I don't mean that they are simple or dumbed down like "Who moved the cheese?" but they force a manager to focus on the fundamental questions like "What business are you in?" and "Who is the customer?"  A lot of dot bomb angst could have been saved by asking these questions.

In The Effective Executive, Drucker's classic work, he focuses on identifying what makes people effective in managerial roles.  Guess what?  It's not about charisma or style or even being the smartest guy in the room.  It's about spending your time wisely, making decisions and focusing on results.

In the MySQL management meetings we often draw from some of Drucker's key principles:

  • Ask what needs to be done
  • Do what's right for the enterprise
  • Develop action plans
  • Take responsibility for decisions
  • Communicate
  • Focus on opportunities not problems
  • Run productive meetings
  • Think and say "we" rather than "I"

I remember reading Drucker when I was in my 20s and he was old then.  Boy, this guy had impact. Drucker died late last year at the ripe old age of 95.  Few have impacted management the way he did.  He kept it going until the very end.


Drucker is awesome, and he really understood how technology and the importance of knowledge workers changed the way that people worked. You really have to admire someone who still teaches, publishes, and leads an active life well into his 90s.

interesting.... maybe I should add it to the list of books to read.

Currently reading a book on Influence (title and author escapes me at the moment - i'll be sure to blog about it though). Really quite an interesting read this one - both from the "hey, stop making me do stuff" and "make people do stuff" viewpoints.

I have the "Influence" book on my reading list also, so if you write any notes on it, let me know!

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