8 Essential Practices of Effective Executives

executive in a suit

In today’s fast-paced business world, the role of executives has become increasingly complex. Effective executives are not only responsible for their own success but also for the success of their team and organization. They must be able to lead, innovate, and adapt to change. In his article, “What Makes an Effective Executive,” Peter F. Drucker outlines different practices that are essential for achieving success as an executive. In this article, we will explore 8 essential practices of effective executives and provide actionable tips for developing them.

1. Focus on Contribution

Effective executives focus on contributing to their organization’s success. They prioritize their time and energy on activities that add value to the company, rather than getting bogged down in day-to-day tasks. By focusing on contribution, executives can ensure that their efforts have a meaningful impact on the organization’s bottom line.

To implement this practice, start by analyzing your daily activities and determining which ones contribute most to your organization’s success. Then, prioritize those activities and delegate or eliminate the rest. By focusing on contribution, you can make a greater impact in your organization and achieve greater success.

2. Build on Strengths

Effective executives know their own strengths and those of their team members. They focus on building on these strengths rather than trying to fix weaknesses. By leveraging their team’s strengths, they can create a high-performing team that delivers outstanding results.

To build on strengths, start by identifying your own strengths and those of your team members. Then, create opportunities for team members to use their strengths and provide support and resources to help them develop further. By building on strengths, you can create a team that is capable of achieving great things.

3. Set Priorities

Effective executives know how to set priorities. They focus on the most important tasks first and delegate or eliminate less important tasks. By setting priorities, they can ensure that their time and energy are focused on the tasks that will have the greatest impact on their organization’s success.

To set priorities, start by identifying the most important tasks that need to be accomplished. Then, rank these tasks in order of importance and create a plan to tackle them one at a time. By setting priorities, you can ensure that you are focused on the tasks that will have the greatest impact on your organization’s success.

4. Seek Opportunities

Effective executives are always on the lookout for new opportunities. They are constantly seeking ways to improve their organization and stay ahead of the competition. By seeking opportunities, they can stay ahead of the curve and position their organization for success.

To seek opportunities, start by keeping up-to-date on industry trends and developments. Attend conferences, read industry publications, and network with other professionals. Then, identify areas where your organization can improve and develop a plan to capitalize on these opportunities. By seeking opportunities, you can ensure that your organization is always moving forward.

5. Solve Problems

Effective executives know how to solve problems. They are able to identify the root cause of a problem and develop a plan to address it. By solving problems, they can prevent future issues and ensure that their organization is running smoothly.

To solve problems, start by identifying the root cause of the issue. Then, brainstorm potential solutions and develop a plan to implement the best solution. By solving problems, you can prevent future issues and ensure that your organization is running smoothly.

6. Make effective decisions

An effective executive is also a skilled decision-maker. They understand that decision-making is not just about choosing between options, but about gathering the right information, weighing the pros and cons, and making the best choice for the organization. Effective executives take time to identify the root cause of the problem they are trying to solve, and they make decisions based on data, not on assumptions or intuition. They also consider the long-term consequences of their decisions and evaluate them periodically to ensure that they are still effective.

To improve your decision-making skills, start by developing a process that works for you. This could involve gathering all the relevant information, considering multiple options, and consulting with experts or colleagues. Practice making decisions based on data, not just your instincts. You can also use techniques such as brainstorming, mind mapping, and SWOT analysis to help you weigh the pros and cons of different options.

7. Communicate effectively

Effective communication is essential for any executive. They need to be able to articulate their vision, strategy, and goals clearly and persuasively to their team, stakeholders, and customers. They also need to be able to listen actively to feedback, concerns, and ideas from others. Effective executives use different communication channels, such as email, phone, video conferencing, and in-person meetings, to connect with their team and stakeholders.

To improve your communication skills, start by identifying your strengths and weaknesses in this area. If you struggle with public speaking, for example, consider taking a course or hiring a coach to help you improve. Practice active listening by asking questions, paraphrasing, and summarizing what others say to you. You can also use tools like feedback surveys or 360-degree reviews to get a better understanding of how others perceive your communication skills.

8. Focus on results

Finally, effective executives are focused on results. They understand that their ultimate goal is to achieve success for their organization, and they are willing to do what it takes to make that happen. They set measurable goals, monitor progress regularly, and make adjustments when necessary. They also celebrate successes and acknowledge the hard work and contributions of their team members.

To improve your focus on results, start by setting clear, measurable goals for yourself and your team. Break down larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, and track progress regularly. Use metrics and data to measure success, and be willing to adjust your approach if something isn’t working. Celebrate successes and acknowledge effort and progress to help motivate your team.


Being an effective executive requires a combination of skills, habits, and practices. By developing your leadership skills, managing your time effectively, building strong relationships, focusing on results, and making effective decisions, you can become a more effective executive and drive success for your organization. Remember to focus on continuous learning and development, and be willing to adapt as needed to stay ahead of the curve. With dedication and practice, you can become the kind of leader that inspires and motivates others to achieve great things.