Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done Hardcover – Jun 4 2002
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Disciplines like strategy, leadership development, and innovation are the sexier aspects of being at the helm of a successful business; actually getting things done never seems quite as glamorous. But as Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan demonstrate in Execution, the ultimate difference between a company and its competitor is, in fact, the ability to execute.
Execution is "the missing link between aspirations and results," and as such, making it happen is the business leader's most important job. While failure in today's business environment is often attributed to other causes, Bossidy and Charan argue that the biggest obstacle to success is the absence of execution. They point out that without execution, breakthrough thinking on managing change breaks down, and they emphasize the fact that execution is a discipline to learn, not merely the tactical side of business. Supporting this with stories of the "execution difference" being won (EDS) and lost (Xerox and Lucent), the authors describe the building blocks--leaders with the right behaviors, a culture that rewards execution, and a reliable system for having the right people in the right jobs--that need to be in place to manage the three core business processes of people, strategy, and operations. Both Bossidy, CEO of Honeywell International, Inc., and Charan, advisor to corporate executives and author of such books as What the CEO Wants You to Know and Boards That Work, present experience-tested insight into how the smooth linking of these three processes can differentiate one company from the rest. Developing the discipline of execution isn't made out to be simple, nor is this book a quick, easy read. Bossidy and Charan do, however, offer good advice on a neglected topic, making Execution a smart business leader's guide to enacting success rather than permitting demise. --S. Ketchum
From Library Journal
Bossidy, an award-winning executive at General Electric and Allied Signal, came out of retirement to tend to Honeywell (and bring it back to prominence) after it failed to merge with General Electric. Charan has taught at Harvard and Kellogg Business Schools. Collaborating with editor and writer Burck, they present the viewpoint that execution (that is, linking a company's people, strategy, and operations) is what will determine success in today's business world. Bossidy and Charan aver that execution is a discipline integral to strategy, that it is the major job of any business leader hoping not just to be a success but to dominate a market, and that it is a core element of corporate culture. Details of both successful and unsuccessful executions at corporations such as Dell, Johnson & Johnson, and Xerox, to name a few, support not only their how-to method for bringing execution to the forefront but also the need for it. Each author addresses specific topics in paragraphs that begin with either "Larry" or "Ram," and this easy style adds to the appeal of a very readable book. Recommended for academic and public libraries.
Steven J. Mayover, Philadelphia
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Where I wish they had broadened the scope of the book is to cover effective execution at lower layers of the corporate hierarchy - almost the entire book takes place at, and really applies to, the CEO/EVP/VP level of fortune 500 companies. It rarely if ever covers strategies that work for managers of smaller busines units or groups, or who work in smaller companies. In both cases, the strategies in this book, while still being valuable as theory, lose their practical value. It becomes clear as you read the book that the authors have no real experience with those levels/companies, and I think the book suffers for it.
Overall, I think this book is worth the read, but I can't bring myself to give it five stars.
In the book Bossidy describes how he personally would ensure execution occurs within his businesses. Start with the right people. Too many times we assume people are merely interchangeable cogs, but great business leaders who get results know differently. Chapter 5 discusses the responsibility and focus required to ensure the right people are in the right jobs. Even as a CEO he spent up to 40% of his time on developing and hiring the right people.
Another interesting aspect is the ability to speak directly and level set expectations and have a firm grasp on reality, regardless of how painful that reality may be at the time. Throughout the book is example after example that illustrates the value of direct conversation and clear feedback and communication. As you read the book, look for not only the content of what is discussed, but how it is discussed. Nearly always the method is to truly listen and engage people in a dialog which will set expectations, and ensure misunderstandings or mixed messages are limited. This allows people to focus on what needs to be done instead of being distracted with politics and other non value added issues.Read more ›
Execution's title confused me. Hopefully, you won't have that problem. I thought Execution would be all about how to take a strategy and operating plan and implement them well. Instead, Part III makes it clear that Execution is about meeting overall financial objectives through being an effective organization in setting strategies and operating plans to serve customers well while building an organization that can implement the plans for outperforming competitors. Part I, by contrast, makes it sound like Execution is only about implementation, noting that almost all organizations have the same strategies (or can quickly get them from consultants), access the same top talent and can easily acquire and employ competitively effective innovation.
I also thought Execution would apply to all business people. Instead, the context for most of the AlliedSignal (Honeywell International's name when Mr. Bossidy became CEO there the first time) and General Electric examples which dominate the book is that of the CEO or group executive to whom divisions report in a large conglomerate. In this sense, Execution is like reading the latter chapters of Mr. Welch's book, Jack.
The main difference between Jack and Execution is that Execution tries to build a framework for the book's concepts while sharing examples (mostly of failure) from other organizations. Mr. Charan's sections of the book mostly focus on that positioning. Mr. Bossidy mostly tells about his own experiences at AlliedSignal and Honeywell. Mr. Bossidy, of course, worked with Mr. Welch at General Electric for many years. Mr.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I saw this book in a LEAN conference training and among a large amount of business books related to business management , this one oriented CEO approach is one of the best books i... Read morePublished on April 30 2012 by Alain
Mr. Bossidy and Mr. Ram share their experiences and insights leading and implementing strategy projects in several Forbes 500 organizations. Read morePublished on Dec 11 2010 by Adrian Bachmann
This book identifies a road block to company success - failure to execute. Through their experience and case studies, the authors provide readers with a practical and realistic map... Read morePublished on Sept. 27 2010 by Jennifer Wenzel
Get things done - this item will most certianly help anyone in a business role execute the necessary activities to allow their Company and themselves to prosper. Read morePublished on March 30 2010 by Ron Walder
The authors make their case clearly for reality based decision making. What is outstanding is the fact that that few of our major institutions have such success - GE being a prime... Read morePublished on March 3 2009 by DanZwicker
With all of the competing priorities in the business world today, I often find myself struggling to do everything that I plan. Read morePublished on Aug. 6 2005 by Bob Loretta
A lot of materials in this book can be found in my 1st year management course in University of Toronto textbook... Read morePublished on May 19 2005 by Jack
I was hoping that this was a down-to-earth book with interesting and useful ideas like Built to Last or No Excuses Management. Read morePublished on July 16 2004 by John Lacey
The principles of the book helped us move our stock from $1 to $6 in 2 years. I not only like the book, I now use it as a tool for my consulting business. Read morePublished on July 12 2004 by Hervé Da Costa
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