Execution. By Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan

•Most often today, the difference between a company and its competitor is the ability to execute. 

 

•Here is a fundamental problem: people think of execution as the tactical side of business, something leaders delegate while they focus on the supposed, "bigger" issues. This idea is completely wrong. Execution is not just tactics, it a discipline and a system. It has to be built into a company's strategy, its goals and its culture. And the leader of the organization must be deeply engaged in it.

 

•Execution is not only the biggest issue facing business today, it is something nobody has explained satisfactorily. 

 

•We talk to many leaders who fall victim to the gap between the promises they have made and the results their organizations have delivered. 

 

•When companies fail to deliver on their promises, the most common explanation is that the strategy is wrong. But, the strategy itself is not often the cause. Strategies often fail because they are not executed well. Things that are supposed to happen don't happen.

 

•Everybody talks about change. We are not necessarily debunking this stuff. But, unless you translate big thoughts into concrete steps for action, they are pointless.

•No company can deliver on its commitments or adapt well to change unless all leaders practice the discipline of execution at all levels.  

 

•Lots of business leaders like to think that the top dog is exempt from actually running things. It is a pleasant way to view leadership: you stand on the mountain top, thinking strategically, and attempt to inspire your people with visions, while managers do the grunt work. This idea creates a lot of aspiration for leadership. Who wouldn't want to do all that and keep your hands clean?

 

•The term manager has become pejorative. 

 

•Only the leader can make things happen through his or her deep personal involvement in the substance and even the details of execution.

 

•There is an enormous difference between leading an organization and presiding over it.

Why don't leaders get this? The real problem is execution doesn't sound sexy. It is the stuff that leaders delegate. Therein is the problem.