The new grand theory of leadership by Ram Charan . . . The breakthrough book that links know-how--the skills of people who know what they are doing-- with the personal and psychological traits of the successful leader.
How often have you heard someone with a commanding presence deliver a bold vision that turned out to be nothing more than rhetoric and hot air? All too often we mistake the appearance of leadership for the real deal. Without a doubt, intelligence, vision, and the ability to communicate are important. But something big is missing: the know-how of running a business--the capacity to take it in the right direction, do the right things, make the right decisions, deliver results, and leave the people and the business better off than they were before.
For well over four decades, Ram Charan has been learning in the most visceral way the underlying reasons why leaders succeed and fail. As one of the most influential advisers to top management teams of leading companies around the world, he has had a front-row seat to observe the cause and effect of leadership practices and behaviors.
Ram Charan's insight into the real content of leadership provides you with the eight fundamental skills needed for success in the twenty-first century:
- Positioning (and, when necessary, repositioning) your business by zeroing in on the central idea that meets customer needs and makes money
- Connecting the dots by pinpointing patterns of external change ahead of others
- Shaping the way people work together by leading the social system of your business
- Judging people by getting to the truth of a person
- Molding high-energy, high-powered, high-ego people into a working team of leaders in which they equal more than the sum of their parts
- Knowing the destination where you want to take your business by developing goals that balance what the business can become with what it can realistically achieve
- Setting laser-sharp priorities that become the road map for meeting your goals
- Dealing creatively and positively with societal pressures that go beyond the economic value creation activities of your business
Know-How is the missing link of leadership. By showing how the eight know-hows link to, interact with, and reinforce personal and psychological traits, Ram Charan provides a holistic and innovative portrait of successful leaders of the twenty-first century.
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January 01, 2007
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Excerpt from Know-How by Ram Charan
The Substance of Successful Leaders
Know-how is what separates leaders who perform--who deliver results--from those who don't. It is the hallmark of people who know what they are doing, those who build long-term intrinsic value and hit short-term targets.
What gets in the way of finding people who can perform is the appearance of leadership. All too often I see people being chosen for leadership jobs on the basis of superficial personal traits and characteristics, such as:
-The seduction of raw intelligence: "He's extremely bright, incisive, and very analytical. I just feel in my gut he can do the job."
-A commanding presence and great communication skills: "That presentation was awesome. How she ever boiled down all that data onto the PowerPoints is beyond me. She certainly had the committee in the palm of her hand. Mark my words, she's going to the top."
-The power of a bold vision: "What a picture he painted of where we are going, moving forward."
-The notion of a born leader: "The people in the unit love her. Such a morale builder and motivator!"
Certainly intelligence, self-confidence, presence, the ability to communicate, and having a vision are important. But being highly intelligent doesn't mean that a person has the knack for making good business judgments. How many times have you seen people confidently making decisions that turn out to be disastrous? How often have you heard a vision that turned out to be nothing more than rhetoric and hot air?
Personal attributes are just one small slice of the leadership pie, and their value is greatly diminished without know-how, the eight interrelated skills that bring leadership into the realm of profit and loss.
We need leaders who know what they are doing. Change is always with us, but its current magnitude, speed, and depth is unlike what most readers of this book have experienced in their lifetime. A Google can come from nowhere and grow into a multibillion-dollar business in a few short years, becoming one of the world's most highly valued companies. There are not only huge opportunities but also great pitfalls that can swallow up whole companies and industries. Think for a moment about the challenges Google has presented to companies in the advertising, broadcasting, and publishing industries, to name just a few.
World-class competitors can now emerge from anywhere--witness the wave of emerging-nation players that have clear advantages in their industries--thanks to mobility of talent, capital, and knowledge.
You will be constantly tested for your know-how and lead your business in the right direction. Will you be able to do the right things, make the right decisions, deliver results, and leave your business and the people in it better off than they were before?
-Can you position your business by finding the central idea that meets customer demands and makes money? And, as will increasingly be required, can you appropriately reposition it?
-Are you able to pinpoint external change by detecting patterns ahead of others and put your business on the offensive?
-Do you know how to lead the social system of your business by getting the right people together with the right behaviors to make better, faster decisions and achieve business