In this book, “Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done”, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan try to make us understand what execution is in relation to running business organizations. They believe this is a particular set of activities and modes of operation, which organizations are supposed to master to acquire competitive advantages. The book brings forth the idea that many leaders think their organizations are well run when in a real sense they do not have competitive advantages over market leaders. The authors present an example of why in the year 2000, 40 of the top 200 companies failed to deliver. They believe that the thesis for the book embodies the true job of CEOs, which is, to bridge the gap between what they want to achieve and what their organizations can deliver.
The authors of this book introduce to us three elements critical to Execution. The first one is that it is the responsibility of the leader to understand and take charge of the elements of Execution. Secondly, execution has to be an integral part of the strategy put forth by the CEO, and thirdly, it must be part of the culture of the organization. The authors further build on these points by identifying essential behaviors that help create an environment, where the critical elements can thrive.
These behaviors include such things as, the need to ensure employees understand the business; the need for the manager to pass his knowledge down to the next generation, and the need for the leader to maintain a direct influence in ensuring results are delivered. The need to hire or select the right people for the right job is also encompassed in these behaviors. The authors further state that, leaders should focus on the strategy and finances, and that they should be dedicating almost fifty percent of their time to developing their people.
The book goes on to point out that, leaders must model the correct behavior. As shown in the book, leaders do have a responsibility to create a culture that rewards great execution in an organization. The authors indicate that if individuals acting in the capacity of leaders do this, they will be able to establish a process while building an effective foundation of management. This book again elucidates the significance of people process management.
The book suggests the facilitation and creation of a process manage people, and that the process needs to include certain specific aspects. The first aspect of a successful people process is one that includes a method to accurately evaluate individuals; this is because people need feedback to fulfill their potential. The authors further clarify this issue by saying, leaders would be shorting the organization and execution; if they do not give timely, accurate feedback to those individuals they are responsible for.
The second aspect is the one that is responsible for providing a framework to identify and develop leadership. Leadership is a continuous process, and talent is continually sought from within which fosters growth within organizations. This leadership process would most probably include a successful and strong succession plan. Bossidy and Charan in their book show us that, many organizations assess the work people do today, instead of centering on whether the individuals can handle future responsibilities effectively.
This book shows us that after we understand “Execution” and its most important constituent which is the people, we would then have had a complete framework that can build an “Execution” company. This framework permits the building of the mentioned processes in other parts of the company, turning them into strategic plans. They also allow organizational leaders to meet their financial objectives, give accurate feedback and allow for further development activities in the future.
These authors are of the idea that many companies find themselves lacking this ability to incorporate the processes into necessary strategic plans. They, therefore, suggest that organizational leaders try to use the same process for product launches, marketing plans, sales and manufacturing, and even down to actual production plans. Organizational leaders need to include robust dialogue and debate while putting together such plans in order to ensure that, they have opportunities that are built for people to learn. This is for the sole reason of developing a structure that facilitates working together for a common cause.
The theories put forth in this book are destined for a good cause and to some extent, they are thought-provoking, although my opinion is that they are presented poorly. The authors tend to base on the ideas that are already established in the running of organizations. They again show us that, organizational leaders can employ the same processes used by other companies if they are unable to implement necessary strategic plans. This erodes the essence of their thesis. I, therefore, doubt the significance of the theme in this book.