A review by architr
Managing Oneself by Peter F. Drucker


Another no-nonsense book from the Management God! One of the best books I have ever read.

Management is not about managing others. Since it has not been adequately proven that one can manage others. Therefore, it is incumbent on you to manage oneself.

1. What are my strengths?
a. This can only be discovered by Feedback Analysis - whenever you take a key decision/ action, write it down. Then, review it 12 months later and compare the Actual Result versus the Expectation.

b. Concentrate on your strengths, work on improving them, discover where you "intellectual arrogance" is and overcome it, remedy your bad habits, improve your manners (if feedback analysis indicates that you are lacking in the same)

2. How do I perform?
a. Like one's strengths, how one performs is unique. It is a matter of personality. Whether personality be a matter of nature or nurture, it surely is formed long before a person goes to work. And how a person performs is a given, just as what a person is good at or not good at is a given. A person’s way of performing can be slightly modified, but it is unlikely to be completely changed—and certainly not easily.

b. Am I a reader or a listener?

C. how do I learn? By writing/ doing/ hearing yourself talk?

d. do you work best as a leader or a subordinate? Do you like to work alone or in teams?

e. Other important questions to ask include, Do I perform well under stress, or do I need a highly structured and predictable environment? Do I work best in a big organization or a small one?

f. What are my values? are your values compatible with those of the organization?
i. Does the company believe in leveraging existing employees or roping in new ones?
ii. Does the company believe in radical changes or continually small changes.
iii. Focus on short term or long term results?

g. where do I belong?
Successful careers are not planned. They develop when people are prepared for opportunities because they know their strengths, their method of work, and their values. Knowing where one belongs can transform an ordinary person— hardworking and competent but otherwise mediocre—into an outstanding performer.

h. What should I contribute?
What should my contribution be? To answer it, they must address three distinct elements: What does the situation require? Given my strengths, my way of performing, and my values, how can I make the greatest contribution to what needs to be done? And finally, What results have to be achieved to make a difference?

i. Responsibility for relationships.
The first is to accept the fact that other people are as much individuals as you yourself are. They perversely insist on behaving like human beings. This means that they too have their strengths; they too have their ways of getting things done; they too have their values. To be effective, therefore, you have to know the strengths, the performance modes, and the values of your coworkers.

Bosses are neither a title on the organization chart nor a “function.” They are individuals and are entitled to do their work in the way they do it best. It is incumbent on the people who work with them to observe them, to find out how they work, and to adapt themselves to what makes their bosses most effective. This, in fact, is the secret of “managing” the boss.

The second part of relationship responsibility is taking responsibility for communication. Whenever I, or any other consultant, start to work with an organization, the first thing I hear about are all the personality conflicts. Most of these arise from the fact that people do not know what other people are doing and how they do their work, or what contribution the other people are concentrating on and what results they expect. And the reason they do not know is that they have not asked and therefore have not been told. This failure to ask reflects human stupidity less than it reflects human history.

3. The second half of your life
There are three ways to develop a second career.

i. The first is actually to start one. Often this takes nothing more than moving from one kind of organization to another
ii. Develop a parallel career
iii. Social entrepreneurs

Pre-requisite for managing your second life - 1) Start long before you enter it
2) There will be major setbacks since life is uncertain

4. Drucker's life-changing parting shots:

1. In a knowledge society, however, we expect everyone to be a success. This is clearly an impossibility. For a great many people, there is at best an absence of failure. Wherever there is
success, there has to be failure. And then it is vitally important for the individual, and equally for the individual’s family, to have an area in which he or she can contribute, make a difference, and be somebody. That means finding a second area—whether in a second career, a parallel career, or a social venture—that offers an opportunity for being a leader, for being respected, for being a success.

2. The challenges of managing oneself may seem obvious, if not elementary. And the answers may seem self-evident to the point of appearing naïve. But managing oneself requires new
and unprecedented things from the individual, and especially from the knowledge worker. In effect, managing oneself demands that each knowledge worker think and behave like a chief executive officer. Further, the shift from manual workers who do as they are told to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves profoundly challenges social structure. Every existing society, even the most individualistic one, takes two things for granted, if only subconsciously: that organizations outlive workers, and that most people stay put.

3. But today the opposite is true. Knowledge workers outlive organizations, and they are mobile. The need to manage oneself is therefore creating a revolution in human affairs.