Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Effective Executive: Reading Drucker on Two Levels




Level One

I’m finishing up my MBA. It is mid-march, and I will graduate in May. Though I have learned a lot, much of what we learned in the classes is on the higher level. What has been specific has been subject-specific. There isn’t much about the self-help about the classes or the books. That’s where I have found Drucker useful for my own knowledge as an independent thing to study. This is the second book I have read by him, and there are a lot of useful take-aways even if the book is horribly dated, (there’s only tangential reference to computers and it assumes that all knowledge-workers are men). Basically everyone can learn to be effective through self-knowledge about things as if such as how you actually spend your time versus how you think you spend your time. I’ve been doing a basic form of this in my own life, tracking just what I spend my time on at work for the past couple of years now in just an excel spreadsheet. There is also the need to know your strength and to build on that to contribute the best you can. Overall, as a work self-help book, it is one that you can read and find points of takeaway. Reading the book is one that is an interactive process because reading it made me think of my own life and how it applied how I could use the book to make myself more effective. It is a very practical text.

The second level

The other way to read this, and it didn’t strike me until I was almost done is that books like this are such that makes the aspiring effective executive one that is complicit in their own exploitation. Where in the early part of the 1900s, the working classes had scientific management forced upon them in the guise of making them more effective, the timekeeping is instead given to the executive so that they can do their own time and motion studies in the Taylorism of the white-collar worker. In this view, the book and the peers of the writer are ones that have an insidious agenda, because it assumes that the worker is one that is within a large organization and the goal is to maximize profit and not human flourishing. Or maybe I’ve just read “Labor and Monopoly Capital” too recently.