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Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (June 4, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609610570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609610572
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 3.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (293 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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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Customer Reviews

I can only give this book 1 star.
J. Miller
This book tells you why many companies fail to execute its strategies and how you can implement a performance management system to execute your business model.
Russell M. Sarder
I thought this was a very well written book.
Ashli Boren

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

338 of 352 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Schonbek on June 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
My dogged desire to get through this book ruined the first half of a windsurfing vacation in Aruba.

It's very, very dry going, and at the end one wonders what, if anything the authors really had to say.

It sounds on the surface like cutting edge management practice. For instance Bossidy and Charan introduce the concept of "the social software of execution" as a key element for creating the framework for cultural change in the organization. They go on to elaborate, "A key component of software is what we call Social Operating Mechanisms". At this point I was on the edge of my chair, ready to absorb what was being teed up as an idea of potentially transformational impact. So what are Social Operating Mechanisms? The authors go on to explain, "These are formal or informal meetings, presentations, even memos or e-mail exchanges - anywhere that dialogue takes place".

Wow - this is really deep stuff...

One wonders why the authors don't simply refer to communication rather than Social Operating Mechanisms. And, as a separate matter, the lack of literacy is surprising. Since when, for example, are memos and e-mail exchanges places?

Stripped of all of this, what the authors have to say is simple common sense that can be summarized as follows:

* Successful companies have the important ability to get things done (or execute).

* Good leadership (knowing people, setting clear goals, following through, etc.) is a prerequisite of execution.

* Reward systems, communications, and feedback processes need to foster action and provide incentives for getting things done.

* Some people are more capable than others are to get things done.
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230 of 249 people found the following review helpful By Peter Leerskov on August 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What's left to say about this book on execution? With 130 online reviews many issues are covered already. One point's missing, though. Look at the reviews; they are divided into two camps. The reviewers either think this is a mediocre book with very basic ideas (management 101) or they see the light. The latter realize that there's no need for new acronyms or faddy words in the management-speak. "Execution" is about getting things done, being persistent and realistic, as well as managing the 3 core processes; strategy (why? and what?), operations (how?) and people (who?).

Building a performance culture is never as easy as it sounds. Looking back a few years, try to recall a few of those companies with great media attention and grand strategic visions. Many of them failed. And many of them will fail again and again, because the heroes are strategic visionaries that never bothered to deal with the issue of execution; continually and personally making sure that things were actually done. You know, when all is said and done, usually more is said than done...

If you found this book fascinating, you'll probably have some of the execution traits hidden in your personality preferences. If you want to check it out, you might visit some of free Internet sites for a test (e.g. keirsey.com). For a business, I believe it's paramount to make sure that you have a well-balanced team on all levels in the hierarchy. This also includes having enough executives with execution traits. Advice: Don't assume you have it; test it!

Conclusively, this is a great book. I liked it so much that I even also bought the audio version! The reason for the audio version is that these execution ideas simply are needed to be absorbed over several readings (or listenings).
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Format: Hardcover
Larry Bossidy is clearly a five-star leader, and Ram Charan is a gifted consultant and teacher. It surprised me that their book didn't work as well as I had hoped.
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.
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