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Confronting Reality: Doing What Matters To Get Things Right Unknown Binding – October 19, 2004

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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Crown Business (October 19, 2004)
  • ASIN: B002A7E7BO
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Peter Leerskov on November 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
There are many good and new things in this book. Unfortunately, the good things aren't new, and the new things aren't good.

I have reviewed Charan and Bossidy's book on EXECUTION as well as Charan's book on PROFITABLE GROWTH. Both were great readings that asked us to confront reality in order to do what matters to get things right.

I've just read CONFRONTING REALITY. And I cannot help asking myself, why it was published at all? It doesn't add any new material compared to their marvellous bestseller; Execution. Instead this book spends most of its time telling case stories on the subject. I find too many of them too long and too boring.

The authors' new focus on the vague concept of the business model is still a mystery to me. Why not build on strong concepts such as McKinsey's business system or Porter's value chain with proven track records. Please, confront reality!

My advice is that you buy Execution instead. It's much better. It has a clear concept, a stronger structure - and exactly the same highly important messages.

If you're a hardcore fan - like I am - of Charan and Bossidy's execution concept, you may just want to have this as an audio book for a long highway trip... that's how I managed to get through it.

Peter Leerskov,
MSc in International Business (Marketing & Management) and Graduate Diploma in E-business
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47 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Occasional Critic on April 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Larry & Ram lost me, and I hope most of you, with their very first example. The new CFO, with no knowledge of the company or plant other than reading a few spreadsheets, with about 3 comments convinces the General manager to close the plant, fire everyone, desimate the town and move to China. The coatings company described was high end, high service, specialty-focused and anything but commodity. The workers were unusually dedicated. They had some time. For the GM to do anything other than allow THE WORKERS to confront reality and give them a shot at reengineering the place is a complete travesty. I've seen it work many times and I am no bleading-heart union man. Bossidy & Charam set this up as a great example, but it is a pure, short-term, initial price analysis with NO consideration for total cost and total value. The GM might have been able to save a business, save a town and actually win customers -- or yeah, move to China afterall. But no one will ever know. Larry and Ram sure don't. Get real, guys.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Senior Executive, Fortune 100 Company on April 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is excellent for entrepreneurs and junior managers who have bought into the myth that optimism is a foundation for success. Bossidy has a wealth of corporate management experience and offers some compelling case studies (although sometimes I wish he would have gone into more detail). Bossidy does not explain the flaws of positive thinking, [...] but he does write a practical perspective on the power of confronting reality. I recommend this book [...] to rise above mediocrity and create optimum results.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By P. Byrne on December 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I got this book because of their previous book, "Execution". The core idea in "Confronting Reality" is the Business Model, which is, simply put, looking at three factors: External Forces, Internal Capabilities, and Financial Goals, before deciding on how to solve problems and set direction.

The issue is that the book is full of case studies (too many from ex-GE execs - I wonder how wide these guys travel outside their "GE Club") but one idea. The illustrations at the end of every case study are always the same - they don't even go to the trouble of customizing the three factor model to show how Sun is different then Cisco for example - and the point is always the same. This should not have been a book, but instead limited to an HBR article or something like that.

The best part is Bossidy's style of how he interacts with teams and asks good questions....but "Execution" is much better at this.

The title was catchy and Bossidy is a pro at this topic of facing reality and turning around businesses...but he should have either invested more to fill it out or skipped it all together.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Walter H. Bock on February 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Larry Bossidy was legendary at General Electric, Honeywell, and Allied Signal. He and consultant, Ram Charan, have written two books based on his experience and his effectiveness. The first book was Execution: The Art of Getting Things Done. I believe that for most folks, especially in small to mid-size businesses, Confronting Reality is a more effective book. As a consultant and a leadership trainer, I found that confronting reality is one of the things that is very hard to get people to do. As human beings, we seem to be programmed to see the world the way we want it, rather than the way it is. The result is that we need to have some kind of a method for determining what reality is.

That's worth doing, because the most effective executives that I have known are those who start with a clear idea of the situation they're facing. They are relentless in pursuing a clear picture of the reality they face, so that they can develop plans for dealing with it and changing it.

In fact, that's the basis for almost all effective strategic planning programs. You start by determining your current situation, the current state of affairs. From there you look at the end state, the place you want to go, and you develop plans for getting from here to there. That, essentially, is what confronting reality is about.

The book begins with three excellent chapters. "When Reality Bites" lays out the case for a systematic way of confronting reality and taking action. It uses two examples. One of those, the positive one, is the example of Lou Gerstner when he was the CEO of IBM. In fact, Gerstner's own book, Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?, is an excellent companion to this book.

Chapter Two gives a description of why the world is changing.
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