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Executive Myths and Reality

In this article we’ll review some of the best known myths of the overworked executive. Then we’ll look at the reality—the things an executive can do to eliminate the excuses.

Myth of Activity

The more active I am, the more I get done.

– Whatever we’re working on must be a goal.

Myth of Decision-level People

– The higher the level at which a decision is made, the better the decision will be.

– Only managers/executives can make the right decisions.

Myth of Delayed Decisions

– Delay improves the quality of the decision.

– More delay ensures better decisions.

Myth of Delegation

– Delegation is easy.

– Delegation saves time and responsibility.

Myth of Omnipotence

– Tasks get done better and faster when I do them myself.

– My subordinates knows less than I do.

Myth of Indispensability

– This organization can’t function without me.

– Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen.

Myth of Efficiency

– The most efficient executive/worker is the most effective.

– As long as I am efficient, I am doing a good job.

Myth of Hard Work

– The harder I work, the more I get done.

– Hard work pays off.

– Hard work is a reward in itself.

– If only everyone would work as hard as I do.

Myth of Problem Identification

– Identifying the problem is the easy part.

– Everyone knows what the problem is; just ask.

Myth of Time Shortage

– No one ever has enough time.

– There are not enough hours in the day.

– Time flies.

Well, those are the myths. Now, what does a real executive do? A real executive does the following:

– Sets practical objectives that employees understand and accept when given assignments.

– Considers it to be important for each employee to receive recognition for both individual and group accomplishments because it builds pride in the company and personal achievement.

– Develops and implements a system by which progress is automatically measured and checked as work advances toward established and agreed-upon goals.

– Advises employees regularly as to how they are doing and where extra training is needed to improve.

– Ensures that employees have a good understanding of company rules and policies and the reasons for them.

– Bases the organization of the company on the knowledge, skills and abilities of all the people involved, not on the knowledge, skills and abilities of a few capable people who seem to carry the load.

– Requires and gets good performance from everyone and does not try to keep non-performers busy on routine tasks. The non-performers are either motivated to succeed and do so or are dismissed.

– Critically analyzes one’s own performance on a regular basis.

– Requires and provides the training and educational programs needed to improve one’s own performance and that of the company.

About the Author

L. Douglas Mault is president of the Executive Advisory Institute, Yakima, Wash.

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