Recommended CEO Readings
The CEO Q editorial team researches the most influential books that are read by top CEOs and their executive teams. Every quarter our editorial team identifies and reviews 1 to 4 books to share with our readers.
Now nearing its 60th printing in English and translated into nineteen languages, Michael E. Porter's Competitive Strategy has transformed the theory, practice, and teaching of business strategy throughout the world. Electrifying in its simplicity -- like all great breakthroughs -- Porter's analysis of industries captures the complexity of industry competition in five underlying forces. Porter introduces one of the most powerful competitive tools yet developed: his three generic strategies -- lowest cost, differentiation, and focus -- which bring structure to the task of strategic positioning. He shows how competitive advantage can be defined in terms of relative cost and relative prices, thus linking it directly to profitability, and presents a whole new perspective on how profit is created and divided. In the almost two decades since publication, Porter's framework for predicting competitor behavior has transformed the way in which companies look at their rivals and has given rise to the new discipline of competitor assessment.
More than a million managers in both large and small companies, investment analysts, consultants, students, and scholars throughout the world have internalized Porter's ideas and applied them to assess industries, understand competitors, and choose competitive positions. The ideas in the book address the underlying fundamentals of competition in a way that is independent of the specifics of the ways companies go about competing.
Competitive Strategy has filled a void in management thinking. It provides an enduring foundation and grounding point on which all subsequent work can be built. By bringing a disciplined structure to the question of how firms achieve superior profitability, Porter's rich frameworks and deep insights comprise a sophisticated view of competition unsurpassed in the last quarter-century.
The book that shows how to get the job done and deliver results, whether you’re running an entire company or in your first management job
Larry Bossidy is an acclaimed CEO of AlliedSignal and Ram Charan is a renowned executive advisor, together they’ve pooled their knowledge and experience into one book which describes how to close the gap between results promised and results delivered that people in business need today.
After a long, stellar career, Larry Bossidy transformed AlliedSignal into one of the world’s most admired companies. Accomplishments such as 31 consecutive quarters of earnings-per-share growth of 13 percent or more didn’t just happen; they resulted from the consistent practice of the discipline of execution: understanding how to link together people, strategy, and operations, the three core processes of every business.
Leading these processes is the real job of running a business, not formulating a “vision” and leaving the work of carrying it out to others. Bossidy and Charan show the importance of being deeply and passionately engaged in an organization and why robust dialogues about people, strategy, and operations result in a business based on intellectual honesty and realism.
The leader’s most important job—selecting and appraising people—is one that should never be delegated. As a CEO, Larry Bossidy personally makes the calls to check references for key hires. Why? With the right people in the right jobs, there’s a leadership gene pool that conceives and selects strategies that can be executed. People then work together to create a strategy building block by building a strategy in sync with the realities of the marketplace, the economy, and the competition. Once the right people and strategies are in place, they are then linked to an operating process that results in the implementation of specific programs and actions and that assigns accountability. This kind of effective operating process goes way beyond the typical budget exercise that looks into a rearview mirror to set its goals. It puts reality behind the numbers and is where the rubber meets the road.
Putting an execution culture in place is hard, but losing it is easy. In July 2001 Larry Bossidy was asked by the board of directors of Honeywell International (it had merged with AlliedSignal) to return and get the company back on track. He’s been putting the ideas he writes about in Execution to work in real time.
But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?
Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness -- why some companies make the leap and others don't.
Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the
type of leadership required to achieve greatness.
Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?
The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize outlines his vision for a new business model that combines the power of free markets with the quest for a more humane world—and tells the inspiring stories of companies that are doing this work today.
“ [Yunus’s] ideas have already had a great impact on the Third
World, and...hearing his appeal for a ‘poverty-free world’ from the
source itself can be as stirring as that all-American
What if you could harness the power of the free market to solve
the problems of poverty, hunger, and inequality? To some, it sounds
impossible. But Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus is doing
exactly that. As founder of Grameen Bank, Yunus pioneered
microcredit, the innovative banking program that provides poor
people––mainly women––with small loans they use to launch businesses
and lift their families out of poverty. In the past thirty years,
microcredit has spread to every continent and benefited over 100
million families. But Yunus remained unsatisfied. Much more could be
done, he believed, if the dynamics of capitalism could be applied to
humanity’s greatest challenges.
Now, in Creating a World Without Poverty, Yunus goes beyond microcredit to pioneer the idea of social business––a completely new way to use the creative vibrancy of business to tackle social problems from poverty and pollution to inadequate health care and lack of education. This book describes how Yunus––in partnership with some of the world’s most visionary business leaders––has launched the world’s first purposely designed social businesses. From collaborating with Danone to produce affordable, nutritious yogurt for malnourished children in Bangladesh to building eyecare hospitals that will save thousands of poor people from blindness, Creating a World Without Poverty offers a glimpse of the amazing future Yunus forecasts for a planet transformed by thousands of social businesses. Yunus’s “Next Big Idea” offers a pioneering model for nothing less than a new, more humane form of capitalism.
“ By giving poor people the power to help themselves, Dr. Yunus
has offered them something far more valuable than a plate of
food––security in its most fundamental form.”
“ Muhammad Yunus is a practical visionary who has improved the lives of millions of people in his native Bangladesh and elsewhere in the world.” ––Los Angeles Times
Prof Yunus is also the winner of CEO Awards - World's Most Respected CEOs
* A timeless classic from Peter F. Drucker, one of the world's
leading management thinkers.
The measure of the executive, Peter Ducker reminds us, is the ability to 'get the right things done'. Usually this involves doing what other people have overlooked, as well as avoiding what is unproductive.
He identifies five talents as essential to effectiveness, and these can be learned; in fact, they must be learned just as scales must be mastered by every piano student regardless of his natural gifts. Intelligence, imagination and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that convert these into results.
One of the talents is the management of time. Second is choosing what to contribute to the particular organization. Third is knowing where and how to apply your strength to best effect. The fourth is setting up the right priorities. And all of them must be knitted together by effective decision-making.
How these can be developed forms the main body of the book. The author ranges widely through the annals of business and government to demonstrate the distinctive skill of the executive. He turns familiar experience upside down to see it in new perspective. The book is full of surprises, with its fresh insights into old and seemingly trite situations.
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(c) 2008 CEO Quarterly Magazine