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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Book Review: Execution

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

This is the first book I read when I decided to bring a twist in my life of being a Maggu (A studious person). Actually you see I am going for MBA from ISB so I thought let us just change some trends in life to do something different. So I decided to be Maggu and read many many books and post a review over here. Here is first one.

Rating: 2* out of 5*

Crisp: Book is about the discipline of getting things done. Yes that's what it is. It tells the difference between individuals/companies/organizations which makes things happen and the ones which only plans. So it basically assumes that there are many capable people around who know that times are changing faster than ever and are ready to put efforts to build/sustain their organization through these difficult and dynamic times, but somehow they are not just able to do the very thing. It focuses on the gap between the great plans/strategies and the actual implementation. And it tries to identify the difference between planning and execution.It further tries to define skills for a great executor and essential tasks for the successful execution. Finally it ends with the processes that you would like to setup to build an organization that executes well.

PROS: It talks about the basic principles in the most simplistic manner. It defines some ground rules which are easy to understand even for an apprentice. It insists on fundamentals and focuses on very limited but essential qualieties of a successful leader. It starts with first defining what is it that book would be about and then goes on explaining why it is so important to study the idea. It gives many examples of how many companies have fallen and many others have risen based on these fundamentals. Number of illustrations is a big plus about this book.

Book talks about keeping things simple, straight and open. It shows how an open culture and robust dialogues can promote growth of the company. Leaders are advised to move closer to the people who are actually on the front line and delivering results. Leaders are requested to be clear and simple when they talk about their expectations and results. Follow through and accountability has been identified as a key activity that has to perculate top down in an organization. It demonstrates that how organizations are nothing but the people and cultures which are behind it. It shows how effective could a cross-unit conversations be when you are coming up with a strategy.

CONS:Book is not meant for everyone. It has a very limited audience. Though it talks about things that could be effective to people at any level in an organization but it continue to focus on the people who are at the top of corporate pyramids. It is blunt in terms of defining people characterstics. It also assumes that people are very easy to be classified as doers and non-doers. It leaves little space for human psychology and preaches on ideal paths which may not be so simple to follow as simply said in the book. Book is probably most effective for people who are really good and having nothing to hide or afraid of and thus it will loose impact on most people as most people are not of that kind. Another important aspect that book missed totally is how do you handle the situation when people are not responding to your initiatives. Only solution it provides in this case is of fire and hire which in my opinion may not be in the best of the organization but book pushes the opposite opinion. Another negative thing is that book become very repetetive after a while and a show case of you-see-how-i-do-it. It presumes whatever author (with 4 other people) is doing, is the best of getting-things-done. It is very dictative in narration and leaves little scope for independent thinking.

It is a nice book and would be a good read if you find some extra time. It is always good to know multiple ideologies and this book comes up with one good ideology. The examples included are really good and it scores for its simplicity.


Blogger Abhishek said...

Reading this review reminded me of book "What They Don't Teach at Harvard Business School" and its sequel with a "still" in btw, by Mark McCormack.

I think these books also are similar in content though Mark is very candid at times and book may contain some politically incorrect talk as to how to manipulate human psychology to get things done for one's benefit.

Also most of the Pros and Cons as you have pointed for this book stands good for them. Though I will say that Mark might be more practical in his approach. There are few (if any) idealistic thoughts.

11:55 PM  

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