Execution – The discipline of getting things done

Larry Bossidy’s stories of the struggles to maintain the focus and discipline of execution at GE, Honeywell and elsewhere hit home. What was particularly interesting to me were the anecdotes about EDS, given that I worked there before GM bought EDS and continued to work there during the adjustment period when it seemed like 75% of the company was moving to Detroit.

Anyone who was paying attention during the subsequent years and saw what GM did to EDS was not surprised to see them pitch Ross off of the board. You see, Ross’s lips never saw a backside, and with good reason – and that just wasnt how the board did business. So…EDS lost focus, their execution suffered, as did their stock. Oddly enough, several years later when Brown was brought on as CEO to turn things around, the story in Fast Company about his efforts motivated me to email him about my experiences at EDS. Amazingly, he actually replied in prompt fashion, and not with a canned response from his admin.
Back to the story at hand, this book is right up there with “The Power of Focus” in the dogear department. It might be easier to count the pages that I didnt dogear. Its a very easy read, primarily because its about the stories of the experiences of the authors, rather than a dry management treatise or a touchy-feely discussion that we so often find.
One of the interesting (and perhaps rewarding in a pathetic way) things about this book besides the laundry list of strategies for becoming and STAYING more productive is the perspective of the C-class exec at major corporations like General Electric (GE), Honeywell and EDS (Ross Perot’s Electronic Data Systems) who struggles with the same things that entrepreneurs struggle with. Feels a little better to know that it isnt just kitchen table entrepreneurs that have to work on the discipline of execution:)

Yes, I know its not Ross Perot’s EDS anymore, but I worked there when it was, so it’ll always be that for me…

Just get it. A very good read. Not at all dry, and full of quality takeaways that you can put to use.