A Leadership Manifesto

by Mark Cernese

The measure of the effective executive, Peter Drucker reminds us, is in their ability “to get the right things done.”

But what are the “right” things executives need to do? Are there everlasting principles leaders can apply in their organizations to bring out the best in their people and themselves?


The following is an outline of best practices and principles for executives that provides a framework for being an effective leader. Instilling these principles in an organization will ultimately help executives get the “right” things done.

Broken down by the key facets of being a leader, executives should look to these principles and practices to guide their leadership effectiveness and decision-making process.


  • We will focus on outcomes and not micromanage. Empowering our team to get the job done and not concern ourselves with the manner in which they do it.
  •  We will manage the organization as an ongoing entity that is separate and distinct from its owners. If owners/shareholders have an operating role in the firm, they will be held to the same high standards of performance required of the position.
  •  We will focus on constant improvement. This will be at the heart of everything we do and is essential to our competitive advantage.
  •  We will practice honesty and candor by providing continuous feedback to all team members.
  • We will replace the word ”I” with “we” at all times when talking about the company.  “I” is divisive and makes a clear distinction between the executive and/or owner and the rest of the team. This fosters confrontation as opposed to collaboration.


  •  We will hold ourselves accountable to our daily responsibilities and tasks.
  • We will focus only on those areas for which we are directly responsible.
  •  We will respond to all team member inquiries in a timely manner. Not responding to employee emails or other communications demonstrates a lack of respect for their roles and responsibilities.


  •  We will give team members “decision rights” according to their demonstrated ability to make choices that result in lower costs or returns that exceed our opportunity cost.
  •  We will make every decision in the context of “What is best for the business?” This shall be determined by our resources, capabilities, and goals.


  •  We will create and foster a learning environment for all team members.
  •  We will empower our team members to do their jobs and not get in their way.
  •  We will provide generous compensation, which, in addition to money, includes: ongoing training & education, unlimited vacation, flexible scheduling, and recognition for adding value.


  • We will always respect our time and the time of others when scheduling appointments and meetings.
  •  We will start and end all meetings on schedule.
  • We will give our undivided attention and eliminate distractions.

Effective executives espouse these principles and best practices and make them the core of their leadership philosophy.

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