Execution: the discipline of getting things done. Larry Bossidy’s view

here is a brief summary of Larry Bossidy’s guielines for leaders and team members. Larry Bossidy is former CEO of Allied Signal and Honeywell. Basically, Larry proposes a CEO compact between senior leaders and their direct reports in which each should demonstrate certain complimentary behaviours to make the leader-team member relationship effctive. These behaviours are required to get things done and both need to be focused on execution and delivering results. Certain key behaviours need to be demonstrated on both sides to ensure effective execution.

Here are Larry Bossidy’s guidelines


For Larry Bossidy, senior leaders should expect their direct reports to show the following leadership behaviours:

Get involved:
• know how to delegate
• know when to step in when problems arise and take responsibility for finding a solution
•take responsibility when things go wrong and protect their team members
• Good leaders intervene particularly in 3 circumstances:
– when a direct report falls behind in commitments
– when there is a conflict
– In a crisis

Generate ideas:
• Promote innovation and creativity
• Encourage ideas
• Value frank debate
• Encourage team members to speak their mind

Collaborate & cooperate:
• Share credit for success
• Cooperate actively
• Resolve interpersonal conflicts rapidly

Willing to lead initiatives:
• Take the lead on new initiatives
• Lead cross-functional initiatives

Develop team members as they develop:
• Are committed to developing their direct reports through the annual performance review process
• Set SMART goals and follow up on results
• Coach and support team members

Stay current:
• Learn continuously
• Keep up to date on changes to business environment
• Build strong relationships with customers and suppliers

• Develops a helicopter view and strategic vision
• Constantly analyzes business environment to detect changes to customers, competitors, suppliers

Drive their own growth:
• Seek constantly to grow and learn
• Constantly seek feedback from superiors, peers and subordinates
• Accept demanding assigments to learn faster and stretch their limits

Demonstrate consistency
• Remain consistent when the going gets tough
• Seek to demonstrate positive behaviours under all circumstances

Senior leaders should demonstrate the following behaviours to their direct reports

Provide clarity of direction :
• Constantly communicate the strategy, vison and direction
• Always seek to clarify changes to strategy

Set goals and objectives:
• Set clear individual and collective goals
• Gives clear, unambiguous feedback on performance
• Sets and communicates clear rewards and recognition criteria

Give frequent, specific and immediate feedback
• Gives feedback on an ongoing basis
• Seeks to coach and support subordinates
• Makes himself available in a crisis

Demonstrate decisiveness and timeliness
• Take decisions promptly and on time
• Participate in decision making when they can make most impact

Make themselves accessible
• Make themselves available to employees at all times

Demonstrates honesty and candour
• Gives clear, unambiguous feedback
• Always uses clear, simple, unambiguous language

Offers equitable compensation plan
• Sets clear, measurable criteria for rewarding performance
• Communicates criteria
• Executes comp & ben rules coherently and consistently

If leaders and team members implement this compact, the ground rules are clear for both and a solid relationship can ensue.

To summarize, define together expected behaviours and respect the leadership charter to build leadership performance and implement execution effectively to get things done.

For more information, read What a Leader expects of you and what you should expect in return, Harvard Business Review, April 2007.

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