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Closing the Execution Gap: How Great Leaders and Their Companies Get Results

ISBN: 978-0-470-63674-9
256 pages
May 2010, Pfeiffer
Closing the Execution Gap: How Great Leaders and Their Companies Get Results (0470636742) cover image

Praise for Closing the Execution Gap

"I got half way through the introduction and was hooked. The book's premise—strategic thinking used to be a leader's main focus but surprisingly that's not enough—gave me confidence that my efforts to drive execution are not in vain. Many of the challenges that Lepsinger describes are exactly what we are experiencing and Closing the Execution Gap gave me a way to organize my thinking into actions I will take at my company. I plan to buy copies for my entire team." Mark Miller President and CEO, New Horizons Worldwide

"Closing the Execution Gap is quick hitting and current. Lepsinger's 'how to' style is easy to read and apply. The examples jumped out and kept me interested and I got value out of every chapter. Companies that are interested in developing managers will use this book the way I intend to use it—as a practical guide to effective execution." Bernard Flynn President and CEO, NJM Insurance Group

"As compared to many leadership books, I found Closing the Execution Gap to be refreshingly practical. I advise the reader to have their yellow highlighter at the ready. I especially liked the forthright analysis and recommendations that came with the author's look at the critical area of accountability." Harold Scharlatt Design and Delivery Manager, Center for Creative Leadership

"Closing the Execution Gap has excellent information and insights that are well connected to meaningful bodies of research. Lepsinger hones in on tangible, real-world problems that many leaders will recognize and then offers practical solutions.?Line managers and Learning and Development professionals will find this book of interest because it captures the critical concepts that make an organization and its people successful." Craig DinsellEVP and Head of Human Resources, Oppenheimer Funds, Inc.

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List of Figures and Tables.

Acknowledgements.

About the Author.

Introduction.

Chapter One: Vision Without Execution Is Hallucination.

Yes, There Is an Execution Gap?But That's Only the Tip of the Iceberg!

?Conventional Wisdom?: Maybe Not So Wise!

The Five Bridges: Gap Closers That Make the Difference.

The Bottom Line.

Chapter Two: Bridge Builder 1: Create and Use Action Plans.

First Things First: A Brief Look at Strategic Planning.

Vision and Standards of Excellence.

Aligning Projects and Programs with Strategy.

Action Planning: An Execution Essential.

The Bottom Line.

Chapter Three: Bridge Builder 2: Expect Top Performance.

The Pygmalion Effect: Proof That Expectations Drive Performance.

Breaking the Cycle.

The Bottom Line.

Chapter Four: Bridge Builder 3: Hold People Accountable.

What Is Accountability Anyway?

Why We Should Hold People Accountable?and Why We Don't.

Assessing Accountability: The Four Levels.

Why We Make Excuses.

Accountability Boosters: Managing Accountability in Others.

The Bottom Line.

Chapter Five: Bridge Builder 4: Involve the Right People in Making the Right Decisions.

Beyond the Buzzword: What ?Empowerment? Really Means.

Brain Basics: How Cognitive Systems Impact Judgment and Decision Making.

So How Can We Make Better Decisions?

The Bottom Line.

Chapter Six: Bridge Builder 5: Facilitate Change Readiness.

What Top-Performing Companies Do.

Kicking Old Habits: What Addicts Can Teach Us About Change.

The Five Levels of Change Readiness.

Moving on Up: Facilitating Change with Level-Appropriate Strategies.

Holding Up the Mirror: Understanding the Impact of Leader Behavior.

The Importance of Change Talk.

The Bottom Line.

Chapter Seven: Bridge Builder 6: Increase Cooperation and Collaboration.

Cooperating Versus Competing: The Human Struggle.

Encouraging and Sustaining Cooperation.

Disagreement Happens: How to Gain Support and Resolve Conflict.

The Bottom Line.

Conclusion: Five Lessons for Leaders.

Lesson 1: Integrate the Leader and Manager Role.

Lesson 2: Clarify Assumptions and Priorities.

Lesson 3: Make Sure the Right Systems Are in Place.

Lesson 4: Coordinate and Monitor High-Impact Actions.

Lesson 5: Get Change Management Right.

The Bottom Line.

Appendix: Criteria for Selecting Top-Performing Companies.

Notes.

Index.

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Richard Lepsinger is president of OnPoint Consulting and has a twenty-five year track record of success as an organizational consultant and executive. He is the coauthor of three books on leadership including Flexible Leadership: Creating Value by Balancing Multiple Challenges and Choices, The Art and Science of 360? Feedback, and The Art and Science of Competency Models, all published by Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

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