7 Essential Behaviors of a Leader Who Executes (Bossidy & Charan)

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Hong Sun
Management Consultant, Canada

7 Essential Behaviors of a Leader Who Executes (Bossidy & Charan)

🔥NEW Execution is a specific set of behaviors and techniques that an organization needs to master in order to obtain competitive advantages; execution is also a particular discipline and system that every organization has to build into its strategies, goals, and culture. In the meantime, leaders of all levels must be deeply and passionately engaged in execution so as not to fall victim to the gap between their promises and their organizations' delivered results.

The book "Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done" by Larry Bossidy—an acclaimed CEOs with a track record for delivering results, and Ram Charan—a well-known advisor to senior executives and boards, promulgated seven essential behaviors of leaders who master the art of execution:
    The leader lives the business by distilling the challenges faced by the business unit he has visited into a half dozen or fewer fundamental issues that can be tackled with solid actions; and he obtains a holistic understanding of the entire business through a short list that cuts across different business units; he also has direct and honest dialogues with people to make a personal connection with each of them, which helps him build his intuitive feel for the business as well as for the people running the business.
    The leader makes realism a priority by being realistic himself; rather than in denial of his organization's weaknesses, he describes them as well as the organization's strengths; he embeds realism in executions so that the weaknesses are well dealt with and strengths are put to good use.
    The Leader focuses on a very few clear priorities that everyone can grasp and execute well, so that the best results can be produced from the resources at hand; he speaks simply and forthrightly about what's on his mind so that others can understand them, evaluate them, and act on them.
    The leader follows through religiously since he understands that it is the cornerstone of execution: he never finishes a meeting without clarifying who will do what, when and how they will do it, what resources they will use, and how and when the next review will take place; and he is personally committed to all the initiatives he has launched and prepared to see them through until the follow through mechanisms are embedded in the DNA of his organization.
    The leader understands that the foundation of changing behavior is linking rewards to performance; thus he rewards people for what they have done rather than what they have planned or promised; he distinguishes between those who achieve results and those who don't in base pay, bonuses, promotions, and all other forms of rewards.
    The leader does everything it takes to expand the people's capabilities of the organization: he makes judgments about which people have the potential to get something useful out of a course and what specific things are to be accomplished through education; he perceives his role as one to pass experience on to the potential new leaders and he sees every encounter as an opportunity to coach; he also has strong emotional fortitude to deal with underperformers and put the right people in the right jobs; he attaches equal importance to passing such emotional fortitude on to others so that they become able to deal with conflicts, take honest criticism and correct mistakes.
    The leader is an authentic leader whose outer person is the same as his inner person; he is strong enough to accept different points of view and courageous enough to accept challenges in group settings; he also has high level of self-awareness and humility, which give him the strong capacity to contain his ego and learn from mistakes on a continuous basis.
When the leaders of an organization display the right behaviors, the foundation is in place for the organization to bridge the gap between what it claims to deliver and what it does deliver.

Source: Bossidy, L., & Charan, R. (2002), "Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done", Crown Publishers.

  Philippe Guenet
Coach, United Kingdom

On Rewards and Performance

Though cultivating a bias for action and progress (...)

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