October 31, 2005
Book Short: Reality Doesn’t have to Bite
I just read Confronting Reality (book; audio), the sequel to Execution, by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. Except I didn’t read it, I listened to it on Mariquita’s iPod Shuffle over the course of two or three long runs in the past week. The book was good enough, but I also learned two valuable lessons. Lesson 1: Listening to audio books when running is difficult – it’s hard to focus enough, easy to lose one’s place, can’t refer back to anything or take notes. Lesson 2: If you sweat enough on your spouse’s Shuffle, you can end up owning a Shuffle of your own.
Anyway, I was able to focus on the book enough to know that it’s a good one. It’s chock full of case studies from the last few years, including some “new economy” ones instead of just the industrial types covered in books like Built to Last and Good to Great. Cisco, Sun, EMC, and Thomson are all among those covered. The basic message is that you really have to dig into external market realities when crafting a strategic plan or business model and make sure they’re in alignment with your financial targets as well as people and processes. But the devil’s in the details, and the case studies here are great.