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Management article
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Reference no. 9373
Authors: Ram Charan
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Published in: "Harvard Business Review - OnPoint", 2002

Abstract

This is an enhanced edition of the HBR reprint R0104D, originally published in April 2001. HBR OnPoint articles save you time by enhancing an original Harvard Business Review article with an overview that draws out the main points and an annotated bibliography that points you to related resources. This enables you to scan, absorb, and share the management insights with others. The single greatest cause of corporate underperformance is the failure to execute. Author Ram Charan, drawing on a quarter century of observing organizational behavior, perceives that such failures of execution share a family resemblance: a misfire in the personal interactions that are supposed to produce results. Faulty interactions rarely occur in isolation, Charan says. Far more often, they''re typical of the way large and small decisions are made or not made throughout the organization. The inability to take decisive action is rooted in a company''s culture. But, Charan notes, leaders create a culture of indecisiveness, and leaders can break it. Breaking it requires them to take three actions. First, they must engender intellectual honesty in the connections between people. Second, they must see to it that the organization''s "social operating mechanisms"--the meetings, reviews, and other situations through which people in the corporation do business--have honest dialogue at their cores. And third, leaders must ensure that feedback and follow-through are used to reward high achievers, coach those who are struggling, and discourage those whose behaviors are blocking the organization''s progress.

About

Abstract

This is an enhanced edition of the HBR reprint R0104D, originally published in April 2001. HBR OnPoint articles save you time by enhancing an original Harvard Business Review article with an overview that draws out the main points and an annotated bibliography that points you to related resources. This enables you to scan, absorb, and share the management insights with others. The single greatest cause of corporate underperformance is the failure to execute. Author Ram Charan, drawing on a quarter century of observing organizational behavior, perceives that such failures of execution share a family resemblance: a misfire in the personal interactions that are supposed to produce results. Faulty interactions rarely occur in isolation, Charan says. Far more often, they''re typical of the way large and small decisions are made or not made throughout the organization. The inability to take decisive action is rooted in a company''s culture. But, Charan notes, leaders create a culture of indecisiveness, and leaders can break it. Breaking it requires them to take three actions. First, they must engender intellectual honesty in the connections between people. Second, they must see to it that the organization''s "social operating mechanisms"--the meetings, reviews, and other situations through which people in the corporation do business--have honest dialogue at their cores. And third, leaders must ensure that feedback and follow-through are used to reward high achievers, coach those who are struggling, and discourage those whose behaviors are blocking the organization''s progress.

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