Peter Drucker – Making Strengths Productive

“One feeds the opportunities and starves the problems”

I have been on numerous job interviews throughout my career.   What I concluded was that 99% of the hiring managers were basically looking for one thing.  My organization has gap and need someone with the X experience to fill it.

This is where I believe failure is in when choosing the right candidate for your job opening.  Abraham Lincoln famously said that if the only weakness of General Grant is him drinking than I will gladly send him a case of his favorite drink, just as long as he keeps on winning.

Peter Drucker says that executives must find out what all the available strengths there are within the organization.  This included the associates, superiors, and even your own personal strengths. Do not staff your company just to minimize any weakness among your team.  It’s better to rather maximize the existing strengths that will create a cohesive working environment.

Here is some steps to figure out how to Staff your organization by using the strengths:

  1. Set realistic job roles.  If necessary redesign the jobs
  2. Make every job demanding and bigger than what it currently is
  3. Figure out what a person can do with what a job requires
  4. To get strengths the  boss has to put up with weakness
Abraham Lincoln famously said that if the only weakness of General Grant is him drinking than I will… Click To Tweet
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In this chapter he tells a story about the typical work in Japan.  Many of them work with one company for life and every role within a company is highly respected.  This goes from the janitor all the way to the CEO.  Job title is not as respected as much as what company you work for.  For example, a janitor working at Toyota would be looked in much higher regards than an owner of a bicycle store.

Because Japanese workers stay with one company they are often promoted within the company.  During the appraisal process to access promotions they never focus or discuss the weaknesses of the employee.  What they do is only discuss the strengths and how they can provide better results.

Peter stated that he didn’t agree to their process at 100% but he did outline a process on employee appraisals

  1. What has the person done well
  2. What therefore is highly likely to be able to do well
  3. What do you need to learn or acquire to set full benefit of their strategy
  4. Would I let my child work under this person?


Now that last question was very profound to me.  As a parent I would want the very best for my child.  The best teacher, coach, instructor, etc etc.  Wouldn’t it make since that I would want them to work under someone that is the best also?  I would want my child’s supervisor to be an excellent role model and prepare them for whatever the future holds

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Another strategy that is often missed by executives is the not managing your boss’s strengths so they can be more productive as well.   Quite often it’s believed that you have to be a Machiavellian type person to gain promotions.  Maybe make your boss look bad to make yourself look better.   Peter had mention which I believe is true through my experience is that the Successor is rarely promoted if their boss is fired>

The chapter mentions  to review these questions regarding your superior:

  1. What can my boss do really well?
  2. What has he done really Well?
  3. What does he need to know to use his strengths?
  4. What does he need to get from to perform better?

Once again Peter Drucker was spot on about making your strengths productive.  The key takeaways from this chapter I will never forget is:

  1. Will I let my child work under this person
  2. Successor is rarely promoted when their boss is fired
Successor is rarely promoted when their boss is fired #peterdrucker #effectiveexecutive Click To Tweet

This is one of those chapters that should be required reading on more than one occassions.  It has so many nuggets of wisdom that can surely make you an effective executive.

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