What Does an Effective Executive Do?

According to Peter Drucker, effective executives get the right things done.  Is there a secret ingredient to being an effective executive?  Dr. Drucker found little correlation between an executive’s effectiveness and her intelligence, imagination or knowledge.[i]  Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge are essential resources, but only effectiveness converts them into results.

Now, let’s think “Christianly” about the effective executive.  How would Jesus judge the effectiveness of anyone—including a CEO?

“And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him.  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And He [Jesus] said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40, New American Standard Bible)

We know that CEOs have a fiduciary duty to the owners of the organization they serve.  And the list of stakeholders is almost endless to whom the CEO has some form of responsibility.  But would Jesus, when asked to evaluate the effectiveness of a CEO, focus in on corporate profitability, market share, return on investment?

Or, would Jesus zero in on the CEO’s heart as He did Peter’s in John 21 where He asked, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”

The CEO struggles to respond, but weakly answers, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

“Then shepherd my sheep” is Jesus’ reply.

How does that fit within the job description of a modern-day CEO?  Should it?

[i] Drucker, P. (2004). What makes an effective executive? Harvard Business Review, 82(6), 58-63.


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