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October 4, 2004

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects--Confronting Reality

By: Jack @ 4:38 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Confronting Reality: Doing What Matters to Get Things Right by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan, Crown Business, 288 Pages, $27.50 Hardcover, October 2004, ISBN 1400050847
Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan wrote one of, if not, the best business books of the 21st century called Execution. The only other book I believe to be comparable would be Jim Collins Good to Great. As I said about Execution in my June 2002 Jack Covert Selects review of the book:
"Theythe authorssupply building blocks to help make execution a part of a companys core culture and avoid hitting the wall when it comes to strategy. One example: a leaders most important job is the hiring and appraising of the right people. Sound like something for HR to handle? Well, Bossidy doesnt think so, and he personally makes the reference calls for key hires. The authors shore up their argument for greater focus on execution using examples from Lucent, GE, AT&T and others, to show what companies have done right and wrong in terms of executing in the past. They are not afraid to name names, and this gives a real urgency to the subject. "
When Crown Business sent me the manuscript of their new book, I was concerned because I didnt understand why confronting reality would be a suitable follow-up subject after Execution. Five pages into the book I got the point. The subject is beyond timely; it is crucial for all senior people to be able to confront reality.
The book is divided down into four parts: Why Confront Reality; How to Confront Reality; What to Change and What Not to Change; How to Prepare for Change. From these four sections alone it is quite obvious that the information is divided into straightforward, logical and usable sections. One superb story is the story of John Tranni and Stanley Works and how they had to deal with Lowes and Home Depots and Wal-Marts pressure on margins. God knows, we are all being hit by margin pressure and successful organizations are able to deal with that pressure. I especially found the chapter on Thomson revealing as I have watched from the sidelines this organization become stronger and stronger in my area.
Folks, all in all, I have to say that it looks to me that these guys have done it again and created a potential business classic. I have been the first to tell you about some important titles and here is another one. You heard it here first. Buy this book.