June 15, 2002
Larry Bossidy is one of the world’s most acclaimed CEOs, a man with few peers who has a track record for delivering results. Ram Charan is a legendary advisor to senior executives and boards of directors, a man with unparalleled insight into why some companies are successful and others are not. Together they pulled their knowledge and expertise into the one book on how to close the gap between results promised and results delivered that people in business need today.
After a long, stellar career with General Electric, Larry Bossidy transformed AlliedSignal into one of the most world’s most admired companies and was named CEO of the year in 1998 by Chief Executive magazine. Accomplishments such as 31 consecutive quarters of earnings-per-share growth of 13 percent or more didn’t just happen; they resulted from the consistent practice of the discipline of execution: understanding how to link together people, strategy, and operations, the three core processes of every business.
Leading these processes is the real job of running a business, not formulating a “vision” and leaving the work of caring and how to others. Bossidy and Charan show the importance of being deeply and passionately engaged in an organization and why robust dialogues about people, strategy, and operations result in a business based on intellectual honesty and realism.
The leader’s most important job – selecting and appraising people – is one that should never be delegated. As a CEO, Larry Bossidy personally makes the calls to check references for key hires. Why? With the right people in the right jobs, there’s a leadership gene pool that conceives and selects strategies that can be executed. People then work together to create a strategy building block by building block, a strategy in sync with the realities of the marketplace, the economy, and the competition. Once the right people and strategy are in place, they are then linked to an operating process that results in the implementation of specific programs and actions and that assigns accountability. This kind of effective operating process goes way beyond the typical budget exercise that looks into a rearview mirror to set its goals. It puts reality behind the numbers and is where the rubber meets the road.
Putting an execution culture in place is hard, but losing it is easy. In July 2001, Larry Bossidy was asked by the Board of Directors of Honeywell International (it had merged with AlliedSignal) to return and get the company back on track. He’s been putting the ideas he writes about in Execution to work in real time.
Larry Bossidy is chairman and former CEO of Honeywell International, a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader. Earlier in his career he was chairman and CEO of the AlliedSignal, chief operating officer of General Electric Credit (now GE Capital Corporation), executive vice president and president of GE’s Services and Materials Sector, and vice chairman of GE.
Ram Charan is a highly sought advisor to CEOs and senior executives in companies ranging from startups to the Fortune 500, including GE, DuPont, EDS, and Colgate-Palmolive. is the author of What the CEO Wants You to Know and Boards That Work and the co-author of Every Business Is a Growth Business. Dr. Charan has taught at both the Harvard Business School and the Kellogg School of Northwestern University.
Charles Burck is a writer and editor who collaborated with Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. Earlier in his career he was an editor at Fortune magazine.