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Book Summary – Execution

In Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan outline the necessary steps for an organization to get things done.  They highlight three key building blocks (essential leader behaviors,  culture, people) and three key processes (people, strategy and operations).  While the framework is quite simple, it is extremely powerful.

The details behind the need for execution, the building blocks, and the processes are:

Why is Execution Necessary?

  • It is a discipline that is required for business success.
  • It is the major job of business leaders.
  • It must be a core element of a business’ culture.

Building Block 1 – The Seven Essential Leader Behaviors

  • Know your business
  • Insist on realism
  • Set clear goals and priorities
  • Follow through
  • Reward your doers
  • Expand people’s capabilities
  • Know yourself

Building Block 2 – Create a Cultural Framework for Change

  • We change a culture by changing behaviors
  • We change behaviors by changing rewards
  • Frank dialogue is necessary to change a culture

Building Block 3 – Have the Right People in the Right Place

  • We do not have the right people in the right place due to three issues that must be addressed:
  • We don’t have objective evaluation criteria.
  • We don’t have the courage to make a change
  • We aren’t comfortable with diversity; and, therefore, hire people we are comfortable with

Core Process 1 – People Process / Linking Strategy and Operations

  • Three Essentials
    • Evaluate individuals accurately and in depth
    • Provide framework for identifying and developing talent
    • Ensure that the leadership pipeline is full
  • Four Building Blocks
    • Make sure people are aligned to the strategy and operations
    • Develop the leader pipeline
    • Deal with non-performers
    • Link HR to business results

Core Process 2 – Strategy Process / Key Questions To Address

  • What is the assessment of the external environment?
  • How well do we understand the existing customers and clients?
  • What is the best way to grow the business profitably?
  • Who is the competition?
  • Can the business execute the strategy?
  • Are the short term and long term balanced?
  • What are the critical issues facing the business?
  • How will the business make money on a sustainable basis?

Core Process 3 – Operations Process / Breaking the Long Term Output in to Short Term Targets

  • Set the Targets:  Keep them realistic.  Base them on track records and history.
  • Develop Action and Contingency Plans:  Prepare the plan AND a contingency.  Plan for possible barriers to ensure you are prepared and can navigate them.
  • Get Agreement and Closure from all Participants:  Communicate the plan after agreement.  Reiterate your expectation that people deliver what they promise.

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Curt Stowers

Curt Stowers

Curtis Stowers helps individuals and families across the United States grow their financial assets, particularly in the Naperville, IL region. He is a Certified Financial Planner, holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois, and is the founder of F5 Financial.