Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
Many people will avoid this book like the plague, and they’ll do so for much the same reason they would avoid a diet or time management book. The reason is simple. Reading this book will remind them of many things they know they should be doing. It will also explain why they’re not doing those things, the consequences if they continue on that course, and how to overcome this crucial challenge.
This is another book recommended to me by someone who attended one of my keynote presentations. He said the opening page of the book reminded him of many of the comments I made in my keynote. That comment piqued my curiosity, which lead me to the book store.
The book begins by quoting a CEO as he searched for the reason why his great strategic initiative had failed. He struggled as he explained that he had one of the brightest, talented and experienced teams in the industry, conducted two off-site meetings, did a great deal of benchmarking, got the metrics, and even involved the famed McKinsey team to assist. They had a good plan and the market was good. He assigned stretch goals. He empowered his team. Everyone knew what had to be done. The incentive system was clear. The team worked together with high energy. They failed miserably. He was fired. This was a true story.
How many of us can say we’ve ever been that well prepared to undertake a crucial project? And yet they failed. The reason was simple and, in retrospect, very evident. The key ingredient that was missing—execution.
This same scenario plays out almost daily in the national press accompanied by prominent names from numerous industries. It will more than likely continue. Execution is the focus of this book by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan—two pros who know of what they speak. Larry is one of the world’s most acclaimed CEOs, a man with few peers who has a track record for delivering results. Ram is a legendary advisor to senior executives and boards of directors, a man with unparalleled insight into why some companies are successful and others are not. Together they’ve pooled their knowledge and experience into this guidebook explaining how to close the gap between results promised and results delivered—something everyone in business needs to know today.
The book is divided into three parts:
- Part I: Why Execution Is Needed
- Part II: The (3) Building Blocks of Execution
- Part III: The Three Core Processes
You’ll also learn:
- The Gap Nobody Knows
- The Leader’s Seven Essential Behaviors
- The Job No Leader Should Delegate
You’ll learn many detailed examples of well-known organizations that have and have not yet learned the importance of “Execution.” The authors will convince you that execution (that is, linking a company’s people, strategy, and operations) is what will determine your success in today’s business world. Can you afford to pass on this book? If you think you can, you might want to reconsider.
This book is also available in an audio version recorded by the authors themselves.
(This book review was originally published in 2007 as one of the Top 10 Books – Edition 15.)