Sunday, December 14, 2008

HBR Classics- Managing Oneself, Peter F. Drucker

From the book: 
In Managing Oneself, Peter F. Drucker explains how to create your career path by knowing when to seize opportunities and when to change course. This influential Harvard Business Review article helps you unlock your full potential by discovering your strengths, recognizing how you best work with others, and identifying the work environments that are right for you.

My two cents worth: 
According to Peter Drucker, in order for us to become great achievers we would need to learn to manage and develop ourselves so that we are able to place ourselves in the right organization and make better contributions which also translates to greater career achievements.

In Managing Oneself, Drucker provides key insights and important questions that can be used to assess our strengths and weaknesses. To identify our key strengths he recommends that we use the ‘feedback analysis’ system. I’m a strong believer in feedback but my methods rely solely on the feedback of co-workers or bosses. Drucker’s suggestion however is to record key decisions or actions made at work. The actual results should then be compared with our expectation after a specific time (Drucker recommends a period of nine to twelve months) for this system to work. Personally, this would take a lot of effort especially since we live in a fast paced working environment and make decisions every second but it’s worth a try.

Drucker also recommends that we concentrate on improving our strengths rather than improving our weaknesses which is often the case with many of us. I believe it’s only natural that we focus on the negative. Drucker believes that concentrating on improving areas of low competence “takes far more energy and work to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence’. Interesting point.

Other questions that we should also ask ourselves are: 
  • How do I perform?
  • How do I learn?
  • What are my values?
  • Where do I belong?
  • What should I contribute? 

In a nutshell, once we understand how we perform, how we gain our experience and understand our principles; only then would be able to identify a suitable organization or even the industry that would fit our values and strengths. Once these questions have been ironed out, we could then concentrate on how to provide the best contribution based on our skills. 

Drucker also mentions that it is worth to look for a parallel career path in the second half of our life so that we do not suffer from boredom with our current job scope. 

Most of what Drucker mentioned in the article is definitely useful in order to assess if we are moving in the right career path. I like Drucker's idea of looking for a parallel career path. I've been in advertising and marketing for close to eleven years now and am already facing boredom doing the same thing repeatedly. Maybe a new career path would make it more interesting and pose new challenges in my career. Something which I will definitely ponder on.

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