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A R T I C L E

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BEST OF HBR 1 9 9 9
Managing Oneself

by Peter F. Drucker
•?

Included with this full-text Harvard Business Review article:
1 Article Summary
The Idea in Brief—?the core idea
The Idea in Practice—?putting the idea to work 2 Managing Oneself

12 Further Reading
A list of related materials, with annotations to guide further exploration of the article’?s ideas and applications
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B E S T O F H B R 1 9 9 9
Managing Oneself

The Idea in BriefThe Idea in Practice
We live in an age of unprecedented oppor-To build a life of excellence, begin by asking“?Where do I belong?”? tunity: If you’?ve got ambition, drive, andyourself these questions:Consider your strengths, preferred work style, smarts, you can rise to the top of your cho-and values. Based on these qualities, in what

sen profession—?regardless of where you
started out. But with opportunity comes re-
sponsibility. Companies today aren’?t man-
aging their knowledge workers’? careers.
Rather, we must each be our own chief ex-
ecutive officer.
Simply put, it’?s up to you to carve out your
place in the work world and know when to
change course. And it’?s up to you to keep
yourself engaged and productive during a
work life that may span some 50 years.
To do all of these things well, you’?ll need to
cultivate a deep understanding of yourself.
What are your most valuable strengths and
most dangerous weaknesses? Equally im-
portant, how do you learn and work with

“?What are my strengths?”?
To accurately identify your strengths, use
feedback analysis. Every time you make a key
decision, write down the outcome you ex-
pect. Several months later, compare the actual
results with your expected results. Look for
patterns in what you’?re seeing: What results
are you skilled at generating? What abilities do
you need to enhance in order to get the re-
sults you want? What unproductive habits are
preventing you from creating the outcomes
you desire? In identifying opportunities for im-
provement, don’?t waste time cultivating skill
areas where you have little competence. In-
stead, concentrate on—?and build on—?your
strengths.

kind of work environment would you fit in
best? Find the perfect fit, and you’?ll transform yourself from a merely acceptable employee into a star performer. “?What can I contribute?”?
In earlier eras, companies told businesspeople
what their contribution should be. Today, you
have choices. To decide how you can best en-
hance your organization’?s performance, first
ask what the situation requires. Based on your
strengths, work style, and values, how might
you make the greatest contribution to your
organization’?s efforts?

others? What are your most deeply held val-...
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