If you have trouble getting things done and this is your first management how-to book, you’re in for a treat. The primary author, award-winning Larry Bossidy, a Jack Welch disciple, has more than a little know-how to share, having held high-level executive posts at General Electric and Allied Signal, and recently as CEO of Honeywell. He teamed up with management guru, Ram Charan to produce Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, written by Charles Burck. (I read this in an audio edition narrated by John Bedford Lloyd, with sections read by Bossidy and Charan, whose accent requires close listening.)
The basic formula is simple.
Execution means getting things done by managing three core processes: why and what you’re doing or strategy, how you plan to get it done or operations, and who’s going to do it or people . The authors’ premise is that many business failures occur because one or more of the core processes isn’t executed. Usually, of course, it’s a failure to select the right people and train them.
Fun but repetitious.
The writing is competent, if more than a bit formulaic, less so for the sections in Bossidy and Charan’s “own words.” It’s amply and appropriately illustrated with real-world examples, many of which recent B-school grads and anyone who reads Business Week will recognize. The authors apparently believe the old proverb — repetition is the mother of learning — and take every opportunity to reinforce their precepts by words and examples.
Not the last word.
If this isn’t your first foray into management tools, it won’t be your last. There isn’t anything new here, just a thoughtful, practical re-packaging of ideas, emphases, and techniques that successful managers have been practicing since Drucker wrote The End of Economic Man, in 1939.