The Art of Action: Leadership that Closes the Gaps between Plans, Actions and Results [NOOK Book]

Overview

Examining the gap between what managers plan, what they do, and the outcomes they achieve, Stephen Bungay uses the nineteenth-century Prussian Army—and the unpredictable environment of the battlefield—to show business leaders how they can build more effective and productive organizations. Bungay provides a fresh look at how managers can turn planning into execution, and execution into results.
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The Art of Action: Leadership that Closes the Gaps between Plans, Actions and Results

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Overview

Examining the gap between what managers plan, what they do, and the outcomes they achieve, Stephen Bungay uses the nineteenth-century Prussian Army—and the unpredictable environment of the battlefield—to show business leaders how they can build more effective and productive organizations. Bungay provides a fresh look at how managers can turn planning into execution, and execution into results.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal
Stephen Bungay has something genuinely interesting to tell us. His book is not one of those vacuous essays in leadership qualities of the how would Napoleon/MacArthur/Alexander the Great have turned around General Motors variety... What makes this book worth reading is the way in which Mr. Bungay calls time on an entire culture of gobbledygook. You don't succeed in warfare by having vague objectives and issuing ambiguous orders. And you shouldn't expect to succeed in business that way, either.
Laurence Eyton
Director
What do you get if you cross a military historian with a management consultant? You get this fascinating book by Stephen Bungay. Bungay is a comfortable with management as he is with history and here cleverly draws on his knowledge of the latter to influence his thinking. This is a refreshing take on a well-covered area. A must-read for any would-be strategist.
DIRECTOR
What do you get if you cross a military historian with a management consultant? You get this fascinating book by Stephen Bungay. Bungay is a comfortable with management as he is with history and here cleverly draws on his knowledge of the latter to influence his thinking. This is a refreshing take on a well-covered area. A must-read for any would-be strategist.
Laurence Eyton
Stephen Bungay has something genuinely interesting to tell us. His book is not one of those vacuous essays in leadership qualities of the how would Napoleon/MacArthur/Alexander the Great have turned around General Motors variety... What makes this book worth reading is the way in which Mr. Bungay calls time on an entire culture of gobbledygook. You don't succeed in warfare by having vague objectives and issuing ambiguous orders. And you shouldn't expect to succeed in business that way, either.
Wall Street Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781857884647
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/4/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 674,583
  • File size: 3 MB

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 The Problem

What Do You Want Me to Do? 1

An unanswered question 1

An undiagnosed disease 6

Getting things done 13

Legacy thinking 15

The discipline of execution 19

A route map 24

2 The Cause

The Three Gaps 26

Clausewitz and friction 26

Friction and nonlinearity 33

The three gaps 42

Quick recap 52

3 Elements of a Solution

Directed Opportunism 54

Culture change 54

Helmuth von Moltke and Auftragstaktik 57

From Auftragstaktik to mission command 76

From mission command to directed opportunism 83

Quick recap 88

4 The Knowledge Gap

What and Why 90

Von Moltke on strategy 90

Strategy, planning, and preparing 98

Intent and main effort 110

Quick recap 121

5 The Alignment Gap

Briefing and Backbriefing 123

Von Moltke writes a directive 123

Tracy's dilemma 132

Structuring the organization 142

The story of Joe 149

Strategy briefing and backbriefing 163

Quick recap 175

6 The Effects Gap

Independent Thinking Obedience 177

Building the organization 177

Developing people 181

Drivers of behavior 191

Aligning processes 198

Keeping score 204

Quick recap 214

7 Leadership That Works

From Common Sense to Common Practice 216

The three levels 216

Strategy, tactics, and execution 222

The executive's trinity 227

Impact 233

Conclusion 238

Appendix: On Strategy, 1871 245

A Template for Strategy Briefing 249

Notes 251

Bibliography 275

Index 279

Acknowledgments 287

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