Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Six Disciplines Execution Revolution Book Review

I spend quite a bit of time every week reading books; technical books, business books, compensation books… But over the last few weeks I have mostly been catching up on classics. This is the only “excuse” I have for not blogging about a new book called Six Disciplines Execution Revolution, by Gary Harpst which was released just yesterday.

Gary is the founder and CEO of Six Disciplines, offering small to mid-size companies a business excellence program based on six business disciplines: strategizing, planning, organizing, executing, measuring and learning. Gary’s previous book, Six Disciplines for Excellence, focused on those disciplines and strategy. His latest, Execution Revolution focuses on the biggest business challenge: strategy execution in the real world.

Gary told me how business leaders often try to solve the wrong problem rather than addressing the root cause issues. He said that by fixing the right problem, the solution to every other problem will be more obvious. Without execution, strategy is useless. This book provides a concrete framework to put the plan in action. This is particularly challenging because strategy only relies on a few people for a short period of time every year. On the other hand, execution relies on everyone in an organization, all the time.

Achieving excellence is also tricky. Gary said that by solving current issues, an organization will grow, which will cause even bigger challenges. “Excellence is a journey – not a destination.”

Gary explained to me how business methodology was comparable to IT methodology; you have to be able to repeat a process consistently over the long term to be successful. In my experience, many book in this category read like a text book. Execution Revolution distils concepts, frameworks and real-life examples which can be applied by small businesses.

I was particularly interested by this book because not only does it talk about how a business can achieve excellence, it also focuses a lot on performance management. Throughout the book Gary acknowledges the importance of performance measurement, performance measurement, business intelligence and analytics, and performance management systems.

Overall, this book is straight to the point, well-organized, and as the title suggests, focused on execution. Order it today.

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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Julien Dionne is a well-rounded consultant with global business management experience and outstanding technical, business and leadership skills. He earned a Bachelor of Applied Science in Software Engineering from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and he is a member of the Canadian Professional Sales Association. The views posted within this blog do not reflect the views of Julien’s current or previous employers and clients. Julien can be reached at