The effective executive focuses on contribution. He looks up from his work and outward toward goals. He asks: “What can I contribute that will significantly affect the performance and the results of the institution I serve?” His stress is on responsibility. – Peter Drucker
Focusing on contribution has been the single thing that has helped me the most in my career. Obviously making sure client’s are happy is priority number one, but once that’s taken care of I focus the majority of my time on figuring out ways to make our team and our company better. Whether it’s silly things to help morale like acquiring a beer cart which we drag around Friday afternoons, or thinking more long term about new products and services we could offer, I’ve found it to be a great use of time. It’s certainly part of the 20% of time spent that have had 80%+ of an impact on my career.
If a man wants to be an executive — that is, if he wants to be considered responsible for his contribution — he has to concern himself with the usability of his “product” — this is, his knowledge. Effective executives know this. For they are almost imperceptibly led by their upward orientation into finding out what the other fellow needs, what the other fellow sees, and what the other fellow understands. Effective executives find themselves asking other people in the organization, their superiors, their subordinates, but above all, their colleagues in other areas: “What contribution from me do you require to make your contribution to the organization? When do you need this, how do you need it, and in what form?
There is so much wisdom packed into Drucker’s The Effective Executive, making it pound for pound one of the most impactful books I’ve read in my career.
He also has a brilliant take on time in the book.