Book Review: Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

Execution is the meeting point between what a leader wants to achieve and the ability of an organizations to make that happen– Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done is an indispensable guide that offers the tools and advice on how to reach that point quickly and successfully.

Smart and highly ambitious people are laid off every single day because they fail to produce the kinds of results they promised to achieve. Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan understood this phenomenon when they wrote Execution 13 years ago. Bossidy, a world renowned CEO who had a long career with General Electric, went on to transform AlliedSignal and Honeywell into highly successful companies. Charan, an advisor to many high level executives, has provided crucial information to companies throughout his career. Together they wrote Execution, an invaluable resource to businesses worldwide�and a book that is as relevant today as the year it was published.

People mistakenly believe that execution is a business tactic– merely something people in charge delegate to others while they focus on more important issues. But execution is not just tactics�it is a discipline and an actual system for creating success in the workplace.

There are many case studies throughout the book and insights that point to why certain companies fail, like Lucent and Xerox. There is also heavy emphasis on leadership, and how a strong leader in business will be met with willingness by employees to get things done. For example, Execution suggests that a company CEO should coach his/her staff using a series of questions to reveal actual challenges and realities. By asking critical and thought provoking questions, a CEO can help employees come up with more effective solutions. The process is meant to inspire employees to grow and think critically. One section in the book The Building Blocks of Execution brings this idea home for the reader�it proposes, among other things, stricter accountability for leaders. It poses questions like: What exactly does a leader who’s in charge of execution do? How does he keep from being a micromanager, caught up in the details of running the business?

Execution cites the following 7 accountabilities of an effective leader:
1. – Know your people and your business.
2. – Insist of realism.
3. – Set clear goals and priorities.
4. – Follow through.
5. – Reward the doers.
6. – Expand people’s capabilities.
7. – Know yourself.

Unlike many other books on the market, Larry Bossidy’s and Ran Charan’s Execution doesn’t bog down the reader with high-minded or complex theories. Instead it focuses on simple corporate strategies focused on tangible results and the ability to get things done. It should be required reading for all CEO and business leaders throughout the world. While the reader may expect complicated business strategies coming from Bossidy and Charan, the book offers common sense information for setting up a culture that can process ideas and plans and put them into play.

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