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Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution: Solving the One Business Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier Hardcover – July 1, 2008
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Harpst's new book is a breakthrough achievement, changing the equation for the way business will attack their biggest challenge--executing strategy. --Mick Fleming, president and CEO, American Chamber of Commerce Executives
About the Author
Gary Harpst, a highly successful entrepreneur and CEO, spent twenty years as leader of Solomon Software, which implemented more than 60,000 businesses management systems in small and midsized businesses, across almost every industry imaginable, before it was sold to Great Plains and eventually Microsoft.
This experience convinced Harpst that most businesses could execute their plans significantly better than they do today. He formed a team and invested $20+million to determine why. In his first book, Six Disciplines for Excellence, Harpst revealed the first missing link--a step-by-step strategy-execution methodology. In Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution, Harpst's surprising insights show why a revolution is about to start that will provide a leapfrog opportunity for small and midsized businesses in the way they execute their strategy.
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I run a small PR firm. Six Disciplines Execution Revolution is the first book that has help me understand what I need to do to succeed as a small business owner. Harpst's six disciplines have helped me get my arms around what's really important (and it wasn't what I though it was) and align the team behind those goals. Our employee survey improved 30% this year because we have a clear plan.
Admittedly, I have to work every day on the execution part. But, it's good to know I have a resource I can open to get ideas and inspiration when I need it.
I also recommend Six Disciplines for Excellence: Building Small Businesses That Learn, Lead and Last, Harpst's first book. It's much more the cookbook for connecting strategy to what employees do every day.
My background is in business... managing and owning parts or all of some simple and a few complicated small businesses. I also volunteered during a five year stint in economic development work for a metro government and a chamber of commerce. My focus was on assisting existing businesses in my region.
Over the years, I have collected, read and recommended to others several dozen books on strategy, execution, planning, managing change and the like. This book and its sister book, 'Six Disciplines for Excellence' are two of the best. Most important is the methodology explained in these books. If followed the chances of improving your business will definitely be increased.
"The first premise of this book is that what most business leaders think is their greatest challenge really isn't," says Harpst, who implemented more than 60,000 business management systems. "In most of my 20-year tenure as CEO of Solomon Software, I was in react mode, moving from one crisis to the next." So he makes the analysis simple with four quadrants focused on strong or weak strategy, coupled with strong or weak execution. The four quadrants: 1) growth wave, 2) fire-fighting, 3) profit wave, and 4) balanced and predictable.
It's all about getting to his quadrant of excellence: balanced and predictable. "This sounds easy," he writes, "but most organizations don't have the framework, the will, or the persistence to make the hard choices it requires." He adds, "Sustainable excellence isn't possible unless an organization learns to systemically increase its capability to execute, and to do so faster than the rate at which its challenges are growing. It's ironic that the better an organization executes today, the bigger its challenges will be tomorrow." (Been there, done that, right?)
I appreciate his comment that excellence is "the enduring pursuit of balanced strategy and execution." Harpst also reminds us that excellence is the "journey that never ends." I agree.
CWRU, Cleveland, OH