Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

Larry Bossidy

Larry Bossidy rose quickly through the ranks at General Electric. He became COO of GE’s Credit Card Corporation, then President of GE’s Services and Materials Sector, and the Vice Chairman of GE. He was recruited and became the CEO of AlliedSignal Corporation – now Honeywell. The company had serious problems when he took over. His success in turning the company around is legendary. By 1999, operating margins had tripled and its return on equity rose from 10% to 28%.

Ram Charan

Ram Charan was rated by Business Week as one of the top business gurus in the world. He was a business adviser to Jack Welch and other top business leaders. He taught at both Harvard and Kellogg. He is a highly sought after business expert.

Why Execution is Needed

Strategies typically fail because they were not executed well. Leaders are not “leading for execution.” They see implementation of strategy as tactics and to simply be delegated to others. Execution should be the major role of a business leader. Unless strategies can be translated into action, they are meaningless.

Leader's Seven Essential Behaviors

    1. Know your people and your business
    2. Insist on realism
    3. Set clear goals and priorities
    4. Follow through
    5. Reward the doers (and not the talkers)
    6. Expand people’s capabilities
    7. Know yourself

Creating the Framework for Cultural Change

Most cultural change efforts fail because they aren’t aligned to desired business results. Cultural change gets real when the focus is on execution. Behaviors need to be changed so that people produce results and are not just going through the motions.

Tell people what the intended results are, and discuss how to get there.

Reward people for achieve the results. If they don’t achieve the results, don’t provide rewards.

The Job No Leader Should Delegate - Having the Right People in the Right Place

Execution involves the development of people, pursuing strategy, and carrying out operations. Execution entails the active management of:

    • People: Aligning people to strategies, rewarding based on results, and developing leadership to sustain the organization.
    • Strategy: Defining how to achieve the business objectives.
    • Operations Processes: Delineating long term objectives into powerful plans and results.

People Process: Making the Link with Strategy and Operations

Exercise Leadership:

    • Translate strategies into near, medium and long-term milestones
    • Get the right people to execute the strategy
    • Develop future leaders through constant improvement, succession plans, and keeping the right people
    • Be decisive about what to do with the non-performers
    • Transform the role of HR, so it find the right people and advances the organization in substantive ways

Execution Book - The Discipline of Getting Things Done 

Highlights by David Willden