Execution (Performance)

New Year, New Habits: Elevating Your Strategic Execution in 2020


Recommended Reading

4 Disciplines of Execution
by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling

This book looks not only at the ‘what’ but also ‘how’ effective execution is achieved using numerous examples of companies that have done that repeatedly.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a simple, repeatable, and proven formula for executing on your most important strategic priorities in the midst of the whirlwind. By following the 4 Disciplines—Focusing on the Wildly Important; Acting on Lead Measures; Keeping a Compelling Scoreboard; Creating a Cadence of Accountability—leaders can produce breakthrough results, even when executing the strategy requires a significant change in behavior from their teams.




by Ram Charam and Larry Bossidy

Bossidy and Charan reframe their empowering message for a world in which the old rules have been shattered and radical change is becoming routine. They postulate that for the foreseeable future, growth will be slower. Yet companies that execute well will have the confidence, speed and resources to move fast as new opportunities emerge. This is a realistic and hard-nosed approach to business success.




The Great Game of Business
by Jack Stack

Jack Stack’s revolutionary system of Open-Book Management suggested that every employee in a business should be able to understand the company’s key figures, act on them, and should have a real stake in the business. As Stack, himself said: “When employees think, act and feel like owners … everybody wins.” As a management strategy, ‘the great game of business’ is so simple and effective that it has been adopted by companies as diverse (and successful) as Intel and Harley Davidson.




The Execution Premium: Linking Strategy to Operations for Competitive Advantage
by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton

Solid business strategy is more important than ever in our world of stiffening competition. Despite that, most organizations struggle—not so much with formulating a strategy but with executing it—putting it into action. The result is that many companies realize just a fraction of the financial performance their plans promise. Robert Kaplan and David describe a multistage system that enables you to gain measurable benefits from your carefully formulated business strategy.




Getting Things Done
by David Allen

David Allen’s Getting Things Done has become one of the most influential business books of its era, and the ultimate book on personal organization. Lifehack calls it “The Bible of business and personal productivity.” Today, “GTD” is shorthand for an entire way of approaching professional and personal tasks, and has spawned an entire culture of websites, organizational tools, seminars, and offshoots.


Out of the Crisis
by W. Edward Deming

According to W. Edwards Deming, American companies require nothing less than a transformation of management style and of governmental relations with industry. Deming offers a theory of management based on his famous 14 Points for Management. Management’s failure to plan for the future, he claims, brings about loss of market, which brings about loss of jobs. Management must be judged not only by the quarterly dividend, but also by innovative plans to stay in business, protect investment, ensure future dividends, and provide more jobs through improved product and service.

Key Performance Indicators
by David Parmenter

Key Performance Indicators are a set of measures that focus on the factors most critical to an organization’s success. Most companies have too many, rendering the strategy ineffective due to overwhelming complexity. Key Performance Indicators guides readers toward simplification, paring down to the most fundamental issues to better define and measure progress toward goals. Key Performance Indicators provides an in-depth look at how KPIs can be most effectively used to assess and drive organizational performance. The book includes a variety of templates, checklists, and performance measures to help streamline processes, and is fully supported by the author’s website to provide even more in-depth information.



The Balanced Scorecard
by Robert S. Kaplan

The Balanced Scorecard translates a company’s vision and strategy into a coherent set of performance measures. The four perspectives of the scorecard—financial measures, customer knowledge, internal business processes, and learning and growth—offer a balance between short-term and long-term objectives, between outcomes desired and performance drivers of those outcomes, and between hard objective measures and softer, more subjective measures. In the first part, Kaplan and Norton provide the theoretical foundations for the Balanced Scorecard; in the second part, they describe the steps organizations must take to build their own Scorecards. They conclude with thoughts on how the Balanced Scorecard can be used as a driver of change.


Execution is the Strategy
by Laura Stack

In today’s world of rapid, disruptive change, strategy can’t be separate from execution—it has to emerge from execution. You have to continually adjust your strategy to fit new realities. But if your organization isn’t set up to be fast on its feet, you could easily go the way of Blockbuster or Borders. Laura Stack shows you how to quickly drive strategic initiatives and get great results from your team. Her LEAD Formula outlines the Four Keys to Successful Execution: the ability to Leverage your talent and resources, design an Environment to support an agile culture, create Alignment between strategic priorities and operational activities, and Drive the organization forward quickly. She includes a leadership team assessment, group reading guides, and bonus self-development resources.



Ruthless Execution
by Amir Hartman

Today’s business leaders need to know how to know how to manage through adversity while preparing their companies for a new rebirth of success. In Ruthless Execution, Amir Hartman, author of the bestselling NETREADY, identifies the central ingredients that help certain companies to get beyond the wall and thrive—and then reveals how to instill these ingredients in your organization. You will learn when and how to recalibrate the balance between performance and growth; how to define a coherent, tightly-drawn business philosophy that maps to specific actions; new ways to promote accountability and business alignment; and how to use performance metrics without burying people in meaningless trivia. Hartman also reveals how to promote real discipline: the ability to get the job done quickly, efficiently, and effortlessly—without bureaucracy. He also walks leaders through how to develop stronger “critical capabilities” for understanding and managing complexity. All of these principles are backed up by case studies of world-class enterprises that have used these strategies to achieve breakthrough success.

6 Disciplines Execution® Revolution
by Gary Harpst

With all of the pressures successful business leaders face today, none is more urgent or challenging than learning the ability to execute strategy. And while larger businesses have the luxury of budgets and resources to meet this challenge, it’s small and midsized businesses that currently have a tremendous opportunity to level the playing field, leapfrog the expensive, outdated approaches of the past, and attack the challenge of execution in a revolutionary way. Gary Harpst shows business leaders how to do that by focusing on these key issues:

  • Excellenceis the enduring pursuit of balanced strategy and execution
  • Planning and executing, while at the same time dealing with the inevitable surprises, is the biggest challenge in business
  • Overcoming this challengeis what we mean by solving the one problem that makes all others easier
  • Failing to solve the problemdestines your organization to a reactive, fire-fighting future.

Our Iceberg Is Melting
by John Kotter

Our Iceberg Is Meltingis a simple story about doing well under the stress and uncertainty of rapid change. Based on the award-winning work of Harvard Business School’s John Kotter, it can help you and your colleagues thrive during tough times.

On an iceberg near the coast of Antarctica, group of beautiful emperor pen­guins live as they have for many years. Then one curious bird discovers a potentially devastating problem threatening their home—and almost no one listens to him.

The characters in the story—Fred, Alice, Louis, Buddy, the Professor, and NoNo—are like people you probably recognize in your own organization, including yourself. Their tale is one of resistance to change and heroic action, seemingly intractable obstacles and clever tactics for dealing with those obstacles. The penguins offer an inspiring model as we all struggle to adapt to new circumstances.

Our Iceberg Is Meltingis based on John Kotter’s pioneer­ing research into the eight steps that can produce needed change in any sort of group. After finishing the story, you’ll have a powerful framework for influencing your own team, no matter how big or small..


Action Selling
by Duane Sparks

Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional, Even if You Think You Are Oneis the first book in the Action Selling Book Series. Told in a unique story format, Action Sellingpresents a proven system for managing and conducting the entire sales process that applies to any industry and dramatically improves the performance of salespeople with any level of experience.




Execution – Plain and Simple
by Robert Neiman

If you’re looking for breakthrough ways to keep your business goals on target and on deadline, here’s help. This is apractical job aid for any manager who needs to get an organization to execute better. Execution Plain and Simple provides a proven 12-step plan to get results, overcome delays, and achieve tough goals faster. This short book will help you generate momentum toward critical goals and achieve performance breakthroughs–no matter what the goal or project. Neiman

  • Reveals how to execute a goal on time and on budget
  • Shows how to cut through off-target diversions, flagging enthusiasm, and active resistance
  • Explains how to cultivate change and support growth

Features case examples from clients, including General Electric, Motorola, and many others


Flawless Execution 
by James Murphy

What can your business learn about execution from the American military’s fighter pilots? Plenty!  At Mach 2, the instrument panel of an F-15 is screaming out information, the horizon is a blur, the wingman is occupied, the jet is hanging on the edge—and yet fighter pilots routinely handle the stress. What works on the squadron level for F-15 pilots will also work for your marketing team, sales force, or research and development team. By analyzing the work environment and attacking its centers of gravity in parallel, you can learn to utilize the Plan-Brief-Execute-Debrief-Wincycle that will rapidly impact your business’s future success.




A Sense of Urgency 
by John Kotter

Most organizational change initiatives fail spectacularly (at worst) or deliver lukewarm results (at best). In his international bestseller Leading Change, John Kotter revealed why change is so hard, and provided an actionable, eight-step process for implementing successful transformations. With A Sense of Urgency, Kotter shines the spotlight on the crucial first step in his framework: creating a sense of urgency by getting people to actually see and feel the need for change.
Without urgency any change effort is doomed. Kotter reveals the insidious nature of complacency in all its forms and guises and shows:

· How to go beyond “the business case” for change to overcome the fear and anger that can suppress urgency
· Ways to ensure that your actions and behaviors — not just your words — communicate the need for change
· How to keep fanning the flames of urgency even after your transformation effort has scored some early successes


How Did That Happen?
by Roger Connors

What causes companies to get blindsided? Maybe the economy crashes; the government misfires; businesses fail; leaders don’t lead; managers don’t manage; or people don’t follow through. That can leave business leaders wondering, “How did that happen?” Surprises caused by a lack of personal accountability plague almost every organization today. How Did That Happen? offers a proven way to eliminate these nasty surprises, gain an unbeatable competitive edge, and enhance performance by holding others accountable the positive, principled way.




Checklist Manifesto
by Atul Gawande

Can a simple checklist really make the difference in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing business environment? With riveting stories, Atul Gawande takes readers from Austria, where an emergency checklist saved a drowning victim who had spent half an hour underwater, to Michigan, where a cleanliness checklist in intensive care units virtually eliminated a type of deadly hospital infection. He explains how checklists actually work to prompt striking and immediate improvements. And he follows the checklist revolution into fields well beyond medicine, from disaster response to investment banking, skyscraper construction, and businesses of all kinds. In each case, one simple idea makes a tremendous difference, The Checklist Manifesto is essential reading for anyone working to get things right.



by Jeff Sutherland

Have you ever been startled by how fast the world is changing? Scrumis one of the reasons. Productivity gains of as much as 1200% have been recorded, and there’s no more lucid – or compelling – explainer of Scrum and its bright promise than Jeff Sutherland, the man who put together the first Scrum team more than twenty years ago.

The thorny problem Jeff began tackling back then boils down to this: people are spectacularly bad at doing things with agility and efficiency. The best-laid plans go up in smoke. Teams often work at cross-purposes to each other. And when the pressure rises, unhappiness soars. Drawing on his experience as a West Point-educated fighter pilot, biometrics expert, early innovator of ATM technology, and V.P. of engineering or CTO at eleven different technology companies, Jeff began challenging those dysfunctional realities, and began looking for solutions that would have global impact.

In this book you’ll journey to Scrum’s front lines where Jeff’s system of deep accountability, team interaction, and constant iterative improvement is, among other feats, bringing the FBI into the 21st century, perfecting the design of an affordable 140 mile per hour/100 mile per gallon car, helping NPR report fast-moving action in the Middle East, changing the way pharmacists interact with patients, reducing poverty in the Third World, and even helping people plan their weddings and accomplish weekend chores.


Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
by Brian Tracy

Successful people don’t try to do everything. They learn to focus on the most important tasks and make sure those get done. They eat their frogs.
There’s an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re done with the worst thing you’ll have to do all day. For Tracy, eating a frog is a metaphor for tackling your most challenging task—but also the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life. Eat That Frog! shows you how to organize each day to zero in on critical tasks and accomplish them efficiently and effectively. Brian Tracy cuts to the core of what is vital to effective time management: decision, discipline, and determination to ensure that you get more of your important tasks done—today!



The Power of Less
by Leo Babuata

Considering the numerous distractions we face in modern life, it’s amazing that we ever accomplish anything. The Power of Less demonstrates how to streamline your life by identifying the essential and eliminating the unnecessary. That frees you from everyday clutter and allows you to focus on accomplishing the goals that can change your life for the better. The Power of Less outlines how to:

  • Break any goal down into manageable tasks
  • Focus on only a few tasks at a time
  • Create new and productive habits
  • Hone your focus
  • Increase your efficiency

Death by Meeting
by Patrick Lencioni

Even those who haven’t read Patrick Lencioni’s book, often talk about the dreaded phenomenon of “death by meeting.” Employees dread meetings that drag on and accomplish little (if anything). Lencioni brings his unique “parable” approach to one of the biggest problems facing modern businesses today: Bad meetings. As in his other books, Lencioni provides a framework for his groundbreaking model, and makes it applicable to the real world.  Death by Meeting is nothing short of a blueprint for leaders who want to eliminate waste and frustration among their teams and create environments of engagement and passion.