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Execution– The Discipline of Getting Things Done

Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan, ca. 270 pages, Crown Business (2002)

Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell International, and Charan, author and advisor to senior executives, have pooled together their vast knowledge about how to run large companies to give practical advice on managing for results.

Even the most innovative breakthrough thinking and the best-planned strategy will fail, if they are not translated into concrete action steps. According to the authors, the gap between the goals of an organization and the ability to achieve them is one of the main reasons why companies fail. In other words, a lack of execution is why most enterprises fall short in their earnings. As the title suggests, Bossidy and Charan give insight and advice to leaders on how to get better involved in the business processes by neither drifting off into micromanagement, nor losing the bigger picture. The book also encompasses several other topics relating to management. It can be considered as a general literature on management, as it also deals with issues such as ‘getting the right people in the right job’ or ‘how to hold a strategy review’. The authors demand leaders not only to set realistic goals, but also to know the processes and people in their company, by questioning and challenging them candidly. This assessment also constitutes reward and appraisal to those who deserve it. The last chapter, entitled ‘Letter to a new leader’, simultaneously acts as both a conclusion of the book and a checklist for executive managers.

Bossidy and Charan support their arguments with an extensive variety of examples, drawn from their own experience, as well as from cases of other companies. By contrasting the success and failure of either single persons or entire organizations, they point out the Dos and Don’ts of leadership.

Tripl3Leader recommends this book to all leaders who want to develop their senior management skills. While it does not constitute a specific breakthrough approach towards sustainability, it still gives valuable and fundamental advice on managing single divisions or entire enterprises.

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