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Execution – The Discipline of Getting Things Done

Author: Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan 2002

This is the book to read for a step-by-step approach to link strategy with execution.  Leaders sometimes wonder why results are so difficult to achieve with their people or why the whole company, business unit or team appear to have little or no accountability.  One key miss around accountability for fast moving companies today is the lack of an explicit link between strategy and execution.  This book is all about the links and it comes down to disciplined processes and practices. 

Leaders often confuse execution with tactics but tactics, not informed by strategy are merely actions disguised as progress. This book contains simple yet tangible processes and practices for insuring that strategy is well conceived and vetted then linked to operations and people processes. The practices identified in the book can be baked right into a busy executive’s meeting agenda or topics used for what leaders discuss at their off-sites.  The authors: Charan and Bossidy identify these key practices as important to companies who wish to achieve a culture of execution.  

While not the exhaustive handbook of all execution practices, “Execution” is a good starting point for the leader to inventory their quality of process linkages between strategy, operations and people.  Of the three, the people processes are the most important and the one most overlooked. The book covers areas such as, “How to Build a Budget in Three Days”, “Linking HR to Business Results”, “Questions to Raise in a Quarterly Review”, and “Follow-Through”.

Leadership without the discipline of execution is incomplete and ineffective.  Once understood, a leader can insure that these practices become part of meeting behaviors, consistently applied; these behaviors become routines that help shape a disciplined culture of accountability.