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Customer Review

399 of 415 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Discipline of Getting Done With This Book, June 6, 2006
This review is from: Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done (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. These are the people that should be put in positions of authority in the organization.

* Strategic plans need to reflect the real world and link to operational plans. They also need to be tested for feasibility in the context of the organization's capabilities.

None of this is rocket science, that is until one begins to cloak it in management techno speak such as that described above.

And one more thing. The editor should have had a "robust conversation" with the authors about their overuse of the word "robust". It's really annoying.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 21, 2009 10:15:14 PM PDT
Ian Tegebo says:
As someone who has read his fair share of Amazon reviews, I have to say that this one stands apart in its ability to make me laugh with both the first and last lines. Lightman, let's be friends.

Posted on Dec 25, 2009 7:59:03 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 25, 2009 7:59:30 PM PST
Cookie says:
I agree with the first commenter. Very funny and yet very helpful review. Keep reviewing, Lightman, please. You saved me a lot of time, and I still learned something without reading the actual book. Maybe you could consider doing a humorous and extremely brief Cliff Note-type blog. I think it would be really popular.

Posted on Aug 26, 2010 9:12:28 AM PDT
B. Banerjee says:
I saw this sentence in the review..."None of this is rocket science, that is until one begins to cloak it in management techno speak such as that described above"
All books on behaviour and org. management fall into this category. It is not rocket science....in fact, it is not a science at all. However, your summary is definitely very good and helpful.

Posted on Apr 20, 2011 8:06:40 AM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2011 6:26:34 AM PDT
I took a look at your web site. Had I not sold my manufacturing business a few years ago, this is a product that I would have seriously considered. I was always looking for an integrated way to weave project / task management together with relevant execution communication...

Posted on Oct 17, 2011 6:43:17 PM PDT
Lol...

...that was an entertaining [funny, intriguing] review. So much for putting the book on my wish list huh? I may still check it out though, I'd love for you to point me to a few sources on execution, that do, what this book intended to. Also, some of the ''common sense'' items they mention as you said, may not be so plain if they entailed an ''uncommon'' way of doing it.

Posted on Nov 16, 2011 1:50:08 PM PST
C. Snow says:
Agree 100%. Too many decorative words in the book like "robust." If the book were laid out simply, there wouldn't be much there.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 7:01:55 PM PST
John Schulte says:
try david allen's getting things done. highly rated

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 7:11:57 PM PST
Here's my review of GTD, one of my favorites...
http://www.amazon.com/review/R1CUTQGI2EE4SA/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 12:54:21 PM PST
As I recall they had robust use of the word enervate too. I listed to it on tape. I think it was Bossidy who pronounced that word in a way that sounded like innovate to my Midwestern ear.
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