"To properly address the new paradigms you will need to be an effective executive." That is the title of a classic book by one of my favorite management consultants – Peter Drucker. He wrote this book in 1966, but its principles are as valid today as ever, maybe even more so. We’ll discuss this volume and other works by this now-deceased genius periodically.

Drucker identifies five habits that must be acquired to be an effective executive. And in these times of turmoil, as an executive you will need to have these habits or else develop them quickly.

1. Know where your time goes. In many cases your time will be eaten up by the demands of others. Therefore, getting control of the time left is imperative.

2. Focus on getting results rather than work. Focus on what is expected of you and the goals that are set for the company.

3. Build on your strengths and the strengths of your subordinates. Do not try to build on weaknesses. Focus on what your organization can do effectively. Make use of the people in your organization who have the required expertise, and be sure they have enough authority to get results.

4. Concentrate on those areas where superior performance can bring outstanding results. Do the first things first and not the second things at all. Don’t let the flow of events determine what you take seriously. Don’t manage from your “inbox” less you fritter away your time “operating.” I personally have observed that this is the biggest mistake a new manager will make.

5. Make few but very fundamental decisions. Making too many decisions fast also means making too many very wrong decisions. An effective decision is almost always a judgment based on dissenting opinions, not consensus. Some decisions will still be wrong, and you must be ready to adopt an alternative direction quickly. I’ve always held that your original decisions should be right at least 80% of the time.

The important events that you must focus on are not the trends, but those changes in the paradigms that are coming today. You need to look outside of the company to understand what is needed. Focusing too much on the inside will blind you to the changing realities.