EXECUTION: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

Larry Bossidy, Author, Ram Charan, Author . Crown Business $27.50 (288p) ISBN 0-609-61057-0

How do you turn a company's strategy into reality? As the failure to execute that has plagued firms from Aetna to Xerox shows, this is no small question. In fact, Honeywell International chairman Bossidy and consultant Charan (What the CEO Wants You to Know) argue convincingly that the inability to turn goals into reality—what they call "execution"—is the biggest problem organizations face. They begin by placing the blame squarely at the feet of senior managers who incorrectly believe that all aspects of execution can be delegated. In systematic fashion, they present "building blocks" that leaders can use to make successful execution an inherent part of a company's culture. Managers need to set clear, realistic goals; help workers reach those goals by supplying sufficient resources and coaching; and hold employees accountable if they fail while rewarding them handsomely if they succeed. Leaders must know their employees and their business, the authors say, because being "detached and removed and absent" will only alienate them from employees. Citing examples from Lucent, GE, AT&T and other organizations, Bossidy and Charan offer dead-on assessments of executions gone right and wrong. The book clearly delineates which author is speaking when, and while Charan's ideas are interesting, Bossidy's are persuasive. As the Honeywell veteran says, "You can't just say mañana. You've got to have a plan that both plants seeds and harvests." This is a terrific book that will make smart managers rethink how business gets done within every level of their organization or department. (June 18)

Reviewed on: 04/29/2002
Release date: 06/01/2002
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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