Harvard Business review classic – Managing Oneself by profound Peter F. Drucker is a number one book for learning how to effectively managing your own operations, how to build on your strengths and most importantly ensuring you choose the correct career path to match your personality.

This review will be categorised into key subheadings and insights gained from this read.

What are my strengths?

Drucker begins his book with questionably the most fundamental piece of information any reader must! absorb and understand before continuing, and that is the following:

  • A person can perform only from strength!!!
  • One cannot build performance upon weaknesses 
  • One should spend as little time as possible on areas of low competence = STAY WITHIN YOUR CIRCLE OF COMPETENCE! 

Feedback Analysis (Discovering strengths)

In order for one to discover their strengths, Drucker suggests they perform feedback analysis:

  • Feedback analysis: Whenever you make a key decision or action, write down what you expect to occur.
  • 9-12 months later on, compare the reality to what you expected (wrote down).

How do I perform?

Drucker suggests, that like one’s strengths, how we perform is unique and a matter of personality. A few common personality traits determine how we perform, Drucker determines these through the following questions:

  1. Am I a reader or a listener?
  2. How do I learn? (repetition? taking notes? conversations ? doing ? hearing yourself talk? and so on)
  3. Do I work well with people, or am I a loner? (Some people work best as subordinates, team members or alone.)
  4. Do I produce results as a decision maker or an adviser? (Higher level positions will require more decision-making capabilities.)
  5. Do I perform well under stress or predictable environments? 
  6. Do I work best in a large or small organisation? 
  • Drucker explicitly mentions in this section, that one is not to try and change their personalities, however, to improve the way they perform by building on existing strengths.

What are my values?

Here Drucker finalises how one should effectively manage themselves, by stating one finally has to ask themselves what are my values?  In order to perform this Drucker suggests the Mirror Test: (Warren Buffett operates a similar test about choosing a classmate -you may have heard of this one before.)

  • Ethics requires that you ask yourself, what kind of a person do I want to see in the mirror in the morning? 
  • Whether a business should be run for short or long term results is ultimately a question of values.
  • To be effective in an organisation, the individual’s values must be compatible with those of the organisation.

Where do I belong?

Drucker summons all the previous points and claims that answers to them will effectively guide individuals down the correct paths for them.

  • Answers to the three questions:
  1. What are my strengths? 
  2. How do I perform? 
  3. What are my values? 
  • Will ensure you end up where you belong in your career. 

What should I contribute?

Once one has found where they belong in their career paths, it then becomes crucial to understand how much they should contribute. Drucker again offers the following questions to fully understand this question:

  1. What does the situation require? 
  2. How can I make the greatest contribution to what is required? (Given your strengths, how you perform and values.)
  3. What results have to be achieved in order to make a difference? 
  • Plans should cover no less and no more than 18Months! 

Responsibility for relationships

  • To be effective, you must understand the key strengths, how they perform and core values of your co-workers and team members. 
  • One must take responsibility for the communication between co-workers and team members also.

Second Career

Drucker claims managing oneself effectively, increasingly leads to a second career. Drucker suggests there are 3 ways to create a second career:

  1. Actually start one (Take some action, it could be as simple as moving from one department to another within your organisation.)
  2. Develop a parallel career (Non for profit organisations, around 10/Hrs a week extra)
  3. Social entrepreneurs (Similar to the previous, however, more inclined to those whom current career no longer challenges them.)

*There is one prerequisite for managing your second career, YOU MUST BEGIN LONG BEFORE YOU ENTRE IT! 

Thank you for reading this book review on Managing oneself – Peter F. Drucker, I hope you learned something new 🙂

Jordonlee W. Smith



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