Leadership Execution Book Essay

What is the secret of Jack Welch, one of the most legendary CEO in the business world today?The answer, according to Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan, is Execution.Another problem is that strategies are often settled upon that are intellectually appealing but that the organisation is incapable of implementing.

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For example, in 2000 alone, 40 of the top 200 CEOs in America’s Fortune 500 list were removed from post – not retired, but fired or made to resign.

When 20% of the most senior business people in a country lose their jobs in just one year, something must be wrong.

The book provides numerous examples of where execution has both succeeded and failed and calls on Larry Bossidy’s 43 years experience in General Electric extensively.

While these examples help to illustrate the more theoretical aspects of the book, they are invariably written from the perspective of a chief executive, which makes them difficult to translate into practical things that people at lower levels in organisations can use.

For example, how often have you seen organisations leave someone in post even though they are generally regarded as not being the right person to take the business to the next level? In many organisations this is an annual meeting at which people present numerous Power Point slides and answer a few questions.

The authors argue that these sessions are too short-lived and rarely examine the subjects under discussion with the rigor and robustness that they deserve.In the year 2000, 40 CEOs of the Top 200 Fortune 500 companies were let go.This is because sometimes even smart, highly regarded people fail to produce critical results. Bossidy and Charan believe this is fast becoming an epidemic due not to the volatility or unpredictability of the business environment, but to the direct consequence of the lack of execution.Integral to strategy, execution is a discipline that prosecutes the three core processes of people, strategy, and operations with rigor, intensity, and depth. It is the major responsibility of the business leader, who gets things done by taking responsibility of the business leader, who gets things done by taking charge of running the three core processes (no delegation). Execution must be a core element of the organization’s culture, embedded in the reward systems and in the norms of behavior.These points are built on seven essential behaviors of leadership, an effective framework for cultural change, and having the right people in the right place.When Richard Thoman became CEO at Xerox he set about transforming the business by simultaneously launching two sweeping initiatives.The company had a history of poor execution and failed to achieve any of its objectives, the stock price plummeted and Thoman was fired. Once the strategy has been agreed, it is all too common for organisations to then set targets, agree budgets and allocate resources, give the unit manager a slap on the back and then move on to the next topic with absolutely no discussion as to how, or even whether, you can get the desired results.The usual explanation is that the CEO’s strategy was wrong, but Bossidy’s and Charan’s view is that most strategies fail because they were not executed well – not because the strategy itself was wrong.This is not to say that the authors advocate that senior management should immerse themselves in detail or become “micro-managers”, but that they should focus on developing an execution culture.Critical Point: Boards, CEOs, and senior executives place too much emphasis on education and intellectual qualities and neglect to determine how good a person is at getting things done.Part II: Execution – The How If leaders model the right behavior, create a culture that rewards execution, and have a consistent system for getting the right people in the right jobs, the foundation is in place for operating and managing the people, strategy, and operations processes effectively.


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