Notes from Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker

managing oneself book reviewRating: 9/10
Finished: 05/2017
Related Books: The Effective Executive, The 80/20 Principle.
Buy the book on Amazon here / See all my lessons from books and smart people HERE

The Short Summary of “Managing Oneself” by Peter Drucker

To be effective, you must to know yourself, and to act accordingly. By being aware of your strengths, weaknesses, how you learn and how you work best, you are able to make better decisions and create better results. It is short, to the point and very useful – read it if you’re interested in personal growth and increasing your overall effectiveness.

Lessons learned

A person can only perform from strength.

Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong.

The only way to discover your strengths is through feedback analysis. Whenever you make a key decision/action, write down what you expect will happen. 6-12 months later, compare the actual results with your expectations.
Practised consistently, this method will show you where your strengths lie, where you’re less competent, and where you have no strengths and cannot perform.

What to do when you know your strengths:

  1. Concentrate on your strengths. Put yourself in where they can make results.
  2. Work on improving your strengths. 
  3. Discover where your intellectual arrogance is causing disabling ignorance, and overcome it. Example: engineers take pride in not knowing anything about people. HR people pride themselves of ignorance of basic accounting or other quantitative methods. Taking pride in such ignorance is self-defeating.

Waste no effort on improving weaknesses. It takes more energy to go from incompetence to mediocrity, than from good to excellent performance.

How do I perform? A few personality traits to be aware of:

  1. Am I a reader or a listener? Readers must prepare and think in advance of a situation. Listeners enjoy thinking and expressing their ideas on the spot.
  2. How do I learn? By writing, speaking, listening, doing, seeing…?
  3. Do I work best with others, or alone?
  4. When working with others, what relationships/structures do I prefer?
  5. Do I produce results as an advisor or as a decision maker?
  6. Do I work best under stress, or in structured, predictable environments?
  7. Do I work best in big or small organisations?

Do not try to change yourself, but work hard to improve your strengths further. Do not take on work that does not align with your strengths.

What are my values? Do the mirror test: What kind of person do I want to see in the mirror each morning? Act accordingly.

Ensure that organisations I associate with share my basic values, or I cannot thrive.

Always remember that other people works their own way, not my way. Get to know their strengths, performance modes and values. Ask directly (and share your own) to get these answers.

Keep a “second career” on the side, in a non-profit or similar, to make sure you always have a place where you feel you perform, belong to a community and is valuable.


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