Friday, February 18, 2011

Executive effectiveness by switching off

Be effectiveOver the years I've read and re-read Peter Drucker's old classic, The Effective Executive. In it he emphasises the need to do the right things (be effective) rather than simply to do things right (be efficient). Of course, he advocates a combination of both.

Back in 1967 Drucker's research uncovered executives who were constantly interrupted and found it difficult to be effective without carving out blocks of time. The problem today is much worse as the channels for communication have exploded and the speed of electronic repartee means that a conversation can move on so rapidly.

But it doesn't help us concentrate on being effective: as if to prove the point, my iPhone has just beeped with yet another couple of incoming emails for me to process ... and it's hard to get back into the swing of writing this blog post.

What's your solution? I freely confess that I fear missing out on some vital, breaking information revealed through Twitter; or that I'm missing an opportunity if I don't scan the incoming emails!

I find it horribly uncomfortable even to walk into another room without my ever-present iPhone, just in case I miss something. The thought of setting aside even an hour a day to be disconnected is troubling. To do so for a day or a week is hard to imagine. And yet I wonder if I'd be more effective if I did!