Six Disciplines: A Review

I'm beginning to notice a trend. Business authors are finally coming around to embrace execution. Maybe strategy books don't sell well anymore, or maybe these authors have just gotten tired of watching people plan, strategize, and then flounder when it comes to executing their plans.

The latest book I've finished on this topic is Six Disciplines for Excellence by Gary Harpst. The book is targeted towards small businesses and describes how to achieve excellence in your business using six steps:

1. Decide What's Important
2. Set Goals That Lead
3. Align Systems
4. Work the Plan
5. Innovate Purposefully
6. Step Back

Each discipline is covered in-depth and has stories, ideas, checklists, and simple tools to help you follow through on what you learn.

I really liked this book because it is simple and practical. It is easy to read, relevant to most companies, and thorough. Here are some quotes from the book that I think you will like.

When it comes to achieveing excellence, figuring out the right things to do isn't nearly as difficult as continuing to do them over the long term.

People go in the direction leadership is walking, not pointing.

An "engaged worker" is one who's personally committed to the goals of the company. Unfortunately, "90% of the time, what passes for commitment is compliance." However, people have tremendous reservoirs of endurance, creativity, passion, energy and enthusiasm for the things they believe in.

Most businesses don't need more theory or business expertise, but do need assistance in developing more effective execution.

I've become an execution convert over the last few years. I used to think ideas were special, but I've seen the same thing time and time again – lots of people have good ideas, usually they even have similar ideas, but there are very few people in this world that can consistently execute to get things done right. This book can help you become one of those rare execution oriented individuals.

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This book isn't in the business fad genre. It won't tell you how to become a multi-millionaire by flipping real-estate with no money down, or how to boost your profits by using five magic words to empower your employees. No, this book is about real business, how to get it done, how to consistently improve, and how to achieve excellence using that time tested method called "hard work."

Want more info? Check out Decker Marketing's review, and see the Be Excellent Blog.