Concept: Managing yourself by answering 5 basic questions.
Book: HBR Must Reads-Managing Oneself
Author: Peter Drucker
Category: Self Development & Entrepreneurship
Rating of the concept: 8,5/10

Concept: the basic starting points of managing oneself.
Did you ever realize that people process information in a different way? Some of us process information by reading, others are only effective when they hear other people discuss. In one of his most famous Harvard Business Review articles ‘Managing Oneself’, Peter Drucker explains how these types of insights can fundamentally increase your effectiveness. The base comes down to 5 questions:

  • What are my strengths? Don’t waste time cultivating skill areas where you have little competence. Instead, concentrate on -and build on- your strengths. Identify your areas of improvement by critically assessing your goals and outcomes.
  • How do I work? Try to find out whether you are a reader or a listener when processing information. This is important to found out for yourself but also for your colleagues. Remember how you were in college or university. Apply this in your working environment.
  • What are my values? Do the mirror test and ask yourself what kind of responsibilities you consider as most important to live a worthy, ethical life. If these don’t match with the organization you are working for, your career will likely be marked by frustration and poor performance.
  • Where do I belong? Consider your strengths, preferred work style and values. Based on these qualities, in what kind of environment would you fit best? Find a perfect fit and you’ll transform yourself from a merely acceptable employee into a start performer.
  • What can I contribute? To decide how you can best enhance your organization’s performance, first ask what the situation requires. Based on your strengths, work style, and values, how might you make the greatest contribution to your organization’s effort?

BooksinBusiness comment
‘How do I work?’ was to me the biggest eye opener, both as a consultant as an entrepreneur my approach towards clients or colleagues changed dramatically after reading this part.
As a consultant, I now explicitly ask my clients at the beginning of each project how they prefer communicating and reporting.
As an entrepreneur, I realized that one of my partners during my first start-up was a reader while I was a listener. Each time after long phone calls, we had taken some important decisions, which were 100% clear to me. Sometimes I got frustrated when my partner asked me to write things down after our conversation. Peter Drucker’s insights made me realize that people operate in different ways and that we need to adapt our way of communicating (e.g. using mail, small memo’s in my described case).

This funny and so true old movie might trigger you in a broader way but it will definitely help you to answer the other questions as well.

BooksinBusiness take-away:
Find out how you and your colleague/customer process information and you will find out that there will be big differences, knowing this and adapting your way of working to this will dramatically increase your communication effectiveness.