How Does Your
The World's Most Admired Leaders
Ask Questions And Adoptů "Business Execution"
ABB Ltd., Percey Barnevik,
Former Chairman (Current GM Director): "Thinking - the strategies
and designs - only gets you 5-10% of the way. 90% is in the
Accenture, Terry Neill, Former
Chairman of Global Board: "Winners out-execute rather than
outstrategize, their competitors."
Accenture, Walt Shill, Managing
Partner, Strategy Practice: "Today, successful CEOs operate
more like they are running white water rapids than sailing
a great ship across the ocean. They must intensely focus on
executing in the face of constant change. Successful teams
are still very strategic, but they have evolved to embrace
strategies that are pragmatic and highly focused on execution."
Accenture, George Shaheen,
Former CEO: "We better remember that in the end, it's all
about execution. You can be right on paper, but if you don't
execute it, it's not going to work."
Ace Hardware, Richard E.
Laskowski, Former Chairman: "The heart of success is discovering
the correct goal and then developing a plan of execution to
Aguila, Inc., Robert K. Green,
Chairman: "Focus and execution are mandatory. The only thing
you can really control, after all, is the performance of your
Albertson's, Larry Johnston,
Former CEO: "When you get the best people, you don't have
to worry as much about the execution, because they make it
American General Financial Group,
Robert M. Devlin, Former Chairman and CEO, (Current Cooper
Industries Director): "Our ability to successfully execute
our strategy has produced results that met or exceeded our
long-term financial objectives."
AMR Corporation, Robert Crandall,
Former CEO: "About half of the job of management is trying
to figure out where the company is going to be 5 to 10 years
down the road, and the second half is execution."
Assured Guaranty, Donald
H. Layton, Director, (Former Director J.P. Morgan Chase):
"We intend to be the provider of choice. That takes leveraging
our leadership positions and remaining ahead of the curve
in new ideas and the means to execute them."
ATT, Ed Whitacre, Former
Chairman and CEO (Director Anheuser-Busch and BNSF Railway):
"We want to be the only company for your entertainment
and communications needs. We have the parts to do it -- we
just need to execute."
AXA, Andrew Penn, CEO: "It
is good execution more than strategy that separates leaders
from players in the market place. It is in the execution and
delivery where you succeed or fail. Ultimately, the role of
the CEO is to provide a clear vision and direction and ensure
it is well executed."
|| "I would definitely recommend
your program to leaders in any type of company. I have
heard many speakers over the last 38 years and I put you
in the top three."
| Brookshire Grocery
Bain & Company, Chris Zook,
Director of Global Strategy: "The company that comes up with
a formula to find and execute adjacency moves can bury its
Borland Software, Dale Fuller,
President and CEO: "We just execute flawlessly over and over
in a single direction."
Brinker Intl., Douglas Brooks,
President and CEO: "Any craftsman or artist will tell you,
the success of a vision is contingent upon its execution."
Business Objects, Bernard
Liataud, CEO: "We are proud that we have been able to establish
this strong leadership through our consistent and focused
execution in the marketplace."
Canada Life Financial Corporation,
David A. Nield, Director and Former Chairman, President and
CEO: "Strategies do not implement themselves, people implement
Chief Executive, John Brandt,
President & Editorial Editor: "Your first 100 days are critical
not to solve the problems (years in the making) but to impress
investors that you have a plan and that you can execute."
Cisco, John Chambers, President
and CEO: "Besides the general market performance, we can always
stumble or be out-executed by our competition."
Citibank, Ed Horowitz, Corporate
Executive Vice President [Re: e-Citi]: "The overall execution
has gone slower than I had aspired to... People have to come
up to speed with the vision, embrace it, embed it in the business
plan and get it implemented in the individual business."
S. Figura, VP, Colgate-US: "Execute with excellence and simply
be everywhere at once."
Comforce, John Fanning, Chairman
and CEO: "Integrity, competency and innovation don't mean
a thing without execution."
Cornell International, Alan
Guarino, CEO: "It takes the perseverance to stay the course,
and the ability to execute."
Crosspoint Venture Partners,
Steve Foster, Associate: "There's no shortage of capital or
necessary ideas, but it's incredibly difficult to find the
people to execute."
Dell, Inc., Kevin Rollins,
Former CEO: "We have a strategy which is a Dell Direct business
model, but then the key to its success is how well we implement
it day in and day out. Anytime we fail to execute it is the
biggest risk by far."
Dell Online, Richard Owen,
Vice President: "Customer service is still the basis of loyalty.
Outstanding execution is still as important as a good strategy."
The Denver Newspaper Agency,
Kirk MacDonald, CEO: "Adoption of a fitness-focused lifestyle
helped me become more innovative and get better at execution."
Disney, Robert Iger, President
and CEO: "Executives must free up resources to execute new
ideas and have the courage to take risks rather than just
talk about their importance."
Do It Best Corp., Mike McClelland,
Former President and CEO: "You can xerox anything that stands
still. You can't copy anything moving."
eBay, about Meg Whitman,
CEO, (by Tim Bajarin, Creative Marketing Strategies): "Vision
is one thing and there's a lot of that in Silicon Valley.
Execution is another. She's remarkable at actually getting
E*Trade, Christos Cotsakos,
Former CEO: "It's always been about building the right technology
and executing on that idea so that we could use that for a
variety of different areas and make it a disruptive technology."
Eclipsys, Harvey Wilson,
Chairman Emeritus: "We have the proven ability to execute
the strategy. If we don't continue to demonstrate that we
can execute it, it just becomes words on paper."
EDB, Teo Ming Kian, Chairman:
"If we know what Motorola or HP is going to do over the next
three to five years globally, we can shape our policies so
that we have everything they need in place to quickly implement
Electronic Data Systems,
Les Alberthal, Jr., Former President and CEO: "Our livelihood
depends on our ability to execute the soft stuff."
Ethan Allen, Edward Teplitz,
EVP: "It's up to leadership to initiate the beginnings of
change, and then it's up to us and those below us to implement
it. Once we decide the direction we need to come up with an
implementation plan and just push it through."
Execution: The Discipline of Getting
Things Done, Ram Charan, leading U.S. Management Consultant
and Author: "The emergence of world-class companies from developing
nations is a shift that portends a new global game. Their
leaders are good executors who see niches in the global economy
and can tap world intellectual capital and financial markets
to consolidate control across their industries."
|| "As our keynoter, you
successfully set the pace for the convention and created
an aura of anticipation for the audience."
| Ernst & Young
Fifth Third Bancorp, George
Schaefer, President: "The main difference between us and 225
different banks in Ohio, 125 to 150 thrifts and 570 credit
unions is the human-service element. We focus on daily execution."
Fortune, Peter Lewis, Writer:
"To stay atop, you need not only flawless execution but also
GE Global Exchange Services,
Harvey Seegars, President and CEO: "In every case, the distinguishing
factor between successful implementations and unsuccessful
implementations is the involvement of the CEO."
General Electric, Jack Welch,
Former Chairman and CEO: "Just worry about coming up with
great ideas, getting the best people, and delivering a terrific
execution. A leader is someone who can develop a vision of
what he or she wants their business unit to be...and then
can relentlessly drive implementation of that vision to a
successful conclusion. I believe the desire and the ability,
of an organization to continuously learn from any source,
anywhere, and to rapidly convert this learning into action,
is its ultimate competitive advantage. Information technology
is the key to both the learning, as well as the rapid execution
of the fruits of that learning."
General Electric, Jeff Immelt, CEO: "Everyone has a
decent strategy, but how many have leaders at all levels of
the organization who have the understanding, drive and skills
to execute it in ways others cannot?"
George Mason University,
Robin Hanson, Associate Professor of Economics: "We don't
need more suggestion boxes or more street mimes to fill people
with a spirit of creativity. We instead need to better manage
the flood of ideas we already have and to reward managers
for executing them."
Giant Leap Consulting, Bill
Treasurer, Founder: "When leaders make plans in a vacuum,
they end up with no buy-in from the lower ranks. With no upfront
buy-in, your ability to execute at the unit level is DOA."
GM, Noel Tichy, Advisor:
"Execution for a dinosaur bureaucracy is rocket science."
GM, Rich Wagoner, CEO: "We're
executing the turnaround plan at a pace that's faster than
we thought we could."
Golden Corral, Ted Fowler,
CEO: "You have to have a plan of where to go, how to approach
a hunt in a particular field or area and then execute it."
Good to Great, Jim Collins,
Author: (on building enduring great companies and their executives
response to change)"They respond -always- with a calm and
penetrating search for understanding, followed by deliberate,
thoughtful action. It's really a stream of decisions over
time, brilliantly executed that accounts for great outcomes."
Hammer and Co., Dr. Michael
Hammer, President: "Execution is extremely hard, and you need
very careful metrics and instrumentation to know what you're
Harrah's Entertainment, Gary
Loveman, CEO: "Flawlessly executing today's strategy is a
Harvard School of Business, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Professor:
"Execution means having the mental and organizational flexibility
to put new business models into practice, even if they counter
what you're currently doing."
Hay Group, Mel Stark, Vice
President: "In today's environment, true leaders must do far
more than merely meet the numbers. To effectively implement
strategy, they must put people first and continually connect
with and motivate their human capital."
HCA, Thomas F. Frist, Jr.,
MD, Former Chairman and CEO, Current Director [Strategy Statement]:
"We would not now be articulating a vision based on local
focus and responsibility if we did not believe in the capability
and commitment of the people who run our hospitals. Therefore,
we ask you to join us by taking local ownership of this strategy
and its successful execution in your hospital and community."
Hewlett-Packard, Carly S.
Fiorina, Former CEO (Current Cybertrust Director): "You'd
have the most brilliant deal in the world, and if you don't
execute, it's worth nothing. Sharpen your vision, focus and
execution. Re-imagine what you can be."
Hewlett-Packard, Mark Hurd,
Chairman, CEO & President: "Execution trumps vision, especially
in a turnaround."
Home Depot, Inc., Dennis
Donovan, Former Executive Vice President, HR: "The success
of the strategy rests in people's execution."
Honeywell Intl., Larry Bossidy,
Former CEO: "Success today is not simply about leading anymore.
It must be about implementing, not just announcing, strategies."
HSBC Holdings, Sir John R.
H. Bond, Chairman: "There are few original strategies in banking.
There's only execution."
Hummer Winblad Venture Partners,
Ann Winblad, Co-founding Partner: "The most important thing
we learned is that optimism cannot outweigh execution." IBM,
Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Former Chairman and CEO (Current Sloan-Kettering
Director): "This technology stuff is hard. And if I'm a company,
what I really want is somebody who can help me implement it."
|| "I have heard a number
of conference closing speeches over the last few years
and yours has been the best."
IBM, Samuel J. Palmisano,
CEO: "As the Internet and globalization widen the pool
of new ideas, it's about selecting and executing the
right ideas and bringing them to market in record time.
The company's own execution problems were mostly to
blame for first quarter earnings shortfall, adding that
IBM was 'taking aggressive action' to remedy them."
Ideo Inc., Tim Brown,
President and CEO: "Innovation is only valuable when
you implement it beautifully and elegantly."
Inc Magazine, George
Gendron, Editor-In-Chief: "It's easy for us to inadvertently
convey the impression that innovative approaches to
management can take care of everything. They can't.
They're certainly no substitute for good, solid business
Intuit, Bill Harris,
Former CEO: "We always thought of ourselves as fast
. . . But suddenly everyone was fast . . . The question
we had was, Can we execute? Adapting to new business
cycles meant rethinking certain processes we had grown
J.C. Penney, Allen
Questrom, Chairman and CEO: "The bigger the company,
the more you have to sell the strategy to the organization.
The more people who understand the strategy the more
likely it will get executed."
John H. Harland Company,
Robert J. Amman, Former President and CEO: "While extremely
important, the development of a strategy is not effective
without the means to execute."
Johns Hopkins Medicine,
C. Michael Armstrong, Chairman: "We had a strong quarter...
it represents the execution and operation strengths
of a company that's learning to [meet] its commitments."
Johnstone Supply, Gary
Daniels, President and CEO: "Vision is nothing without
action. Reaching the billion dollar sales mark is a
tribute to everyone, our Independent Members, employees
and corporate support people, who committed to a goal
and executed through hard work and diligence."
Kellogg Company, Carlos
M. Gutierrez, Chairman and CEO: "The entire organization
is intensely focused on executing our plans, earning
our stripes each and every day."
Kohl's, John Herma,
Former COO: "We do twenty simple things that have impact
when taken together. The key is the consistency of execution."
Michael Wood, Vice Chairman, President and CEO: "You
need to ...assemble a management team with the skills
Lend Lease Corporate Solutions,
Ann McCallum, Executive: "The only limits to growth
are those of imagination and execution."
Levi Strauss & Co.,
Philip Marineau, President and CEO: "Market to the greatest
share of opportunity and then execute those ideas flawlessly."
Philippe Kahn, Chairman and CEO: "In the real world,
the toughest challenge is 'The Business Model and Its
Execution.' An MBA provides a solid foundation. Yet,
it must be coupled with innovation, teamwork and commitment."
R. Quinlan, Former Chairman (Current Dunn & Bradstreet
Director): "Our Execution Strategy identifies seven
initiatives that will provide a 100% experience: hot
and tasty food, fast service, food safety, accurate
orders, friendliness, employee satisfaction and merchandising."
McGraw, CEO: "The greatest challenge for tomorrow's
CEO lies in their ability to teach. The impact they
can have is being able to take their experience and
relate it in a way that people can better understand
how to go about doing things - how to think more broadly,
how an organization achieves - and what teamwork really
Mellon Financial, David
Lamere, Chairman and CEO: "We are extremely well positioned
to produce results for our clients and shareholders
by having built a team of talented people who are not
only excellent in their execution but are also people
MindShare, Mark Mooradian,
VP and Senior Analyst: "As companies find the Internet
profoundly affecting the way they do business, they
must take the time to develop a long-term strategy that
a highly qualified leader and team can execute."
Morgan Stanley, Judy
Warrick, Senior Advisor, Investment Banking: "Now execution
and humility are in."
Motorola, Mike Zafirovski,
President and COO: "Execution is clearly ahead of us."
MSCO, Mark Stevens,
CEO: "Self doubt is what drives you to a conclusion.
Is it the right conclusion? You don't know until you
begin to execute, but you've got to start somewhere."
MTV, Dr. Drew Pinsky,
Costar: "Don't forget the importance of execution. Even
the most farfetched schemes can become huge successes
if executed correctly."
Kevin Reilly, President: "We've gotten the public comfortable
with very high quality of execution."
Neo Pet, Carla Miraldi,
President: "Strategy execution goes to the fabric of
a company. All the threads have to be woven together
just the right way for the process to work."
New York City Mayor,
Michael Bloomberg: "Hire lieutenants who can get the
job done. Let's just do it."
New York City Public Schools,
Joel Klein, Chancellor: "I'm not especially thin-skinned,
but the things that really bug me are when we execute
Nike, Chris Zook, Head
Global Strategy Practice, Bain & Co.: "The company that
comes up with a formula to find and execute adjacency
moves can bury its competitors. Nike is a case in-point."
OneWorld Health, William
A. Haseltine, Ph.D., Director: There must be a shared
vision, strong leadership, fully capable management
and finally, superb execution."
Palm Computing, Ed
Colligan, President and CEO: "Sure, we're part of a
big company. But if we keep executing the way we have
been, I can't imagine anyone wanting to screw around
Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard,
Founder: "The point was not to focus on making money:
focus on doing things right, and the profits would come."
Pitney Bowes, Murray
Martin, COO: "Innovation without implementation is of
PNC Financial Services Group,
Thomas O'Brien, Director: "The key to our success will
Patrick Kelly, Co-Founder: "It's not how smart you are,
it's how you apply yourself that determines your success."
RCCL, Harri Kulovaara,
EVP Maritime: "I've been involved in the building of
35 ships. Execution is relatively easy, compared with
The Reader's Digest Association,
Eric W. Schrier, President and CEO: "We must operate
beyond individual comfort zones to ensure that we don't
lose focus on first-rate innovation and execution to
keep our traditional print and direct mail businesses
Reengineering The Corporation,
James Champy, Co-Author: "High achievers recognize the
connection between quality and value. They see that
social and economic value is created through effective
R.R. Donnelley, Direct,
Tim Stratman, CEO: "A good execution plan is an invisible
hand that moves the unimportant stuff out of the way
so that people can focus on what really needs to happen."
Russell Reynolds Associates,
Andrea Redmond, Co-Leader, CEO and Board Services Practice:
"We energized the people, who then brought that energy
to implementing the strategies."
Russell Reynolds Associates,
Charles Tribbett III, Co-Leader, CEO/ and Board Services
Practice: "It's one thing to sit around the table and
be passionate and excited about diversity, but it's
another to actually roll up your sleeves and execute
Silver Lake Partners,
Dave Roux, General Partner: "Money and ideas are easy
to come by. In fact, there's a surplus of money in Silicon
Valley. What's missing is execution."
Southern Company, David
Ratcliffe, CEO: "We have a good strategy and a good
implementation plan, with the right people to get it
Spencer Stuart, Tom
Neff, Chairman: "The board should consider giving a
vote of support to the CEO and giving him or her a chance
to execute a viable strategy that may require more time
to implement. CEOs must understand both business strategy
and the process of implementation."
Sprint, William T.
Esrey, Former Chairman (Current General Mills Director):
"The biggest hurdles are execution - We're working with
a number of key vendors - and marketing."
The Stanley Works,
John M. Trani, Former Chairman and CE: , "Those who
learn the art of execution win, and those who do not
Staples, Thomas Stemburg,
Former Chairman and CEO (current Nasdaq Director): "Execution
and detail are everything."
Starbucks, Howard Schultz,
Chairman: "Experience has taught me that it's easy to
talk about values, hard to implement them, and even
harder for an outsider to determine which values are
heartfelt and which are window-dressing."
Steelcase, Jim P. Hackett,
President and CEO: "You won't have the respect of your
peers if you're allowed to sit back and theorize about
a problem without having to do it."
Stephen Sondheim: "Everything
depends on execution, having just a vision is no solution."
SunTrust Banks, Annual
Report: "At SunTrust...success is equally dependent
on execution, and execution is dependent on a good team
working together to put plans into action."
Sunrise Senior Living,
Paul Klassen, Chairman and CEO: "A promise to develop
and successfully execute a business strategy that delivers
Symantec, John W. Thompson, Chairman, CEO: "We
have a very motivated and excited team that has the
capability to execute well against the goals that we've
set for ourselves."
William R. (Bill) Nuti, President, CEO, COO, Director:
"We're confident of the vision. We're confident in what
we need to do operationally, from a strategy point of
view. We've executed Corporate America's best practices
with respect to organizational and cultural change programs."
Todd Abbott, Senior Vice President World Wide Operations:
"With our strategy, Symbol Technologies has the opportunity
to define the enterprise mobility reference architecture
in the market. Now it is up to each one of us to execute."
Synopsys, Aart de Geus,
CEO: Defines the Synopsys culture or employer brand,
first as being a technology leader and second as "an
ethical, high-quality company that executes well."
|| "When your presentation
ended, I was energized and inspired to go out and try
something new. On a scale of 1 to 10, yours was a perfect
| General Electric
Target, Robert Ulrich,
Chairman and CEO: "It's not rocket science, but people need
to be motivated. It's a more difficult strategy to executive
if you're not."
Dru, President and CEO: "Disruption has always been there.
The only difference is people used to talk about it but didn't
Teoco, Atul Jain, CEO: "First
to market doesn't always win. It's all about execution."
Thomas Edison: "Vision without
execution is a hallucination."
Tom Peters Group, Tom Peters,
CEO: "The reality in most organizations is that execution
too often turns into talking about execution. It becomes talking
instead of doing. You must build a unified organization that
is quick, bold and knows how to execute."
Tornante Company, Michael
Eisner, CEO: "In addition to having valuable ideas, you must
have an organization that can follow through and execute that
good idea. A lot of people have good ideas, but not that many
do anything about them."
Trendspotting, Robyn Waters,
Speaker and Author (The Hummer and the Mini), "I have a mantra
that I use for implementing great ideas: Make it real. Keep
it simple. Make it happen. Too many great ideas fall by the
wayside for lack of execution."
Tyler Perry Studios, Roger
Bobb, Producer: "You've got to get it right, whatever it takes,
for our vision to be implemented efficiently and instantaneously."
Unisys, Lawrence A. Weinback,
Former Chairman, President, and CEO (Current UBS Director):
"Vision and strategy are important, but the key to success
is execution. What's behind this success? At Unisys, it comes
down to two key factors: focus and execution. Execution is
what will distinguish the winners from the losers. We've also
spent a lot of time communicating and educating people about
the importance of execution."
UPS, Tom Weidemeyer, Former
COO (Current Goodyear Director): "When we've had challenges
executing, it's primarily been because we didn't truly understand
the full nature of the undertaking and what it would take
to be successful."
USAA, Robert T. Herres, Former
Chairman and CEO: "It's easy to recognize the need for strategic
planning: getting it right is the hard part."
Virgin, Sir Richard Branson,
Founder and Chairman: "I can have an idea in the morning and
have it implemented in the evening."
Volvo Financial Services,
Sal Mauro, President and CEO: "The 'Big 5' tool, our appreciation
for speed in decision making and our distaste for bureaucracy
are advantageous to executing our plans decisively."
Walker Dental, Jay S. Walker,
Former Chairman and CEO: "Execution is what keeps you up at
Wall Street Journal, Holman
W. Jenkins, Jr.: [Regarding Michael Eisner, Disney's CEO]
"Disney under Mr. Eisner has proved the military wisdom that,
more than a perfect plan, what counts is energetic, opportunistic
Walt Disney's Four Pillars Of Success:
"I dream, I test my dreams against my beliefs, I dare to take
risks, and I execute my vision to make those dreams come true."
Warnaco, Linda Wachner, Former CEO: "There are a few people
in life who know how to think, and in our economy, the rewards
are sensational for those people who can make things happen."
Washington Mutual, Kerry
Killinger, Chairman, President and CEO: "Washington Mutual
will continue to execute the business plan that it has had
in place for nearly a decade and hat has helped place our
company among the industry leaders in total shareholder return."
WebMD, Jeffrey Arnold, Former
Chairman and CEO (Current Premier Global Services Director):
"What keeps me up at night is that we've made big promises
to big companies, and now we have to execute on them all."
Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Arnold
Brown, Chairman: "If knowledge was power, college professors
would rule the world. Execution is power. Execution is everything."
Wells Fargo, Richard M. Kovacevich,
Chairman, President, CEO, (On Distribution Strategy): "A vision
and a strategy aren't enough. The long term key to success
is execution. Each day. Everyday. The employees of your company
continue to execute very well. Our success has nothing to
do with planning, it has to do with execution."
Westpac, David Morgan, CEO:
"The most common reason CEOs fail is due to failures of execution,
by getting too far away from the business. Execution was,
is and always remains the number one priority, the 'must do'
part of the job."
Yahoo! Inc., Jerry Yang,
Chief Yahoo CEO and Director: "The execution of our business
plan has been key to the company's success.
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