Lawrence Bossidy

Former CEO, Honeywell

The former CEO of Honeywell shares his lessons on leadership.

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Biography

Few individuals bring to their audiences the wealth of experience and accomplishment that has made Larry Bossidy one of the most respected executives in recent history.

He is the author of two landmark books on business leadership:

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done — a hard-nosed guide to the practical necessities of successful leadership in a competitive global economy. A BusinessWeek bestseller since it was published in 2002, it has sold over 600,000 in the U.S. and over 1.5 million copies are in print worldwide.

Confronting Reality provides managers with a big-picture view of the structural changes affecting business today and offers strategic tools for confronting this reality through effective business models.

"Good people come to companies and stay because they believe they have a chance to expand their capabilities and fulfill their destiny. You have an obligation to help them."
— Larry Bossidy

Larry learned the art of execution through his decades as a successful leader in two of our premier organizations.

  • In his stellar 34-year career at General Electric, he rose to vice chairman and brought the company back to double-digit growth.
  • In his nine years as CEO, he turned Allied Signal into one of the world’s most admired companies, with 31 consecutive quarters of earnings-per-share growth of 13% or more and an eight-fold appreciation of the company’s share price. Then he shepherded Allied Signal and Honeywell through their historic merger.

Larry Bossidy now serves on the boards of directors of several major corporations.

Credentials

  • Retired Chairman & CEO, Honeywell International, Inc.
  • Thinkers 50 2007
  • Former CEO, Allied Signal (now Honeywell)
  • Former vice chairman, General Electric
  • Former COO, General Electric Credit Corp. (now GE Capital Corp.)
  • Named CEO of the Year, Financial World, 1994 & Chief Executive of the Year by CEO Magazine, 1998
  • Author, Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done and Confronting Reality: Doing What Matters to Get Things Right
  • Board of Directors of Berkshire Hills Bank Board, Advisor to Aurora Capital Group, Mitchell International Board, and NuCo2 Board
  • Former Board of Directors of Merck & Co., Champion International Corporation, and J.P. Morgan & Co. Inc.
  • Member, The Business Council and The Business Roundtable
  • B.A. economics, Colgate University

Positions at GE

  • Chief Operating Officer of General Electric Credit Corporation (now GE Capital Corporation) from 1979 to 1981
  • Executive Vice President and President of GE’s Services and Materials Sector from 1981 to 1984
  • Vice Chairman and Executive Officer of General Electric Company from 1984 to July 1991

Books

Execution

The Discipline of Getting Things Done

Ram Charan, Larry Bossidy, and Charles Burck

When Execution was first published in 2002, it changed the way we did our jobs. By analysing the discipline of getting things done, it helped thousands of business people to make the final leap to success. Now, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan reframe their empowering message for a world in which the old rules have been shattered and radical change is becoming routine. For the foreseeable future:

  • Growth will be slower. But the company that executes well will have the confidence, speed and resources to move fast as new opportunities emerge.
  • Competition will be fiercer, with companies searching for any possible advantage in every area.
  • Governments will take on new roles in their national economies. And companies that execute well will be more attractive as partners and suppliers, and better prepared to adapt to new waves of regulation.
  • Risk management will become a top priority for every leader, and every company will be looking for the edge in detecting new internal and external threats.

Forget formulating a 'vision', then leaving others to carry it out: Execution shows you how to link together people, strategy and operations — the three core elements of every organisation — and create a business based on dialogue, intellectual honesty and realism. With case histories from the real world — including such recent examples such as the diverging paths taken by Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan Chase and Charles Prince at Citigroup — Execution provides the realistic and hard-nosed approach to business success that could only come from authors as accomplished and insightful as Bossidy and Charan.

Random House Business Books (February 1, 2011)

Execution

The Discipline of Getting Things Done

Lawrence Bossidy

The book that shows how to get the job done and deliver results . . . whether you’re running an entire company or in your first management job

Larry Bossidy is one of the world’s most acclaimed CEOs, a man with few peers who has a track record for delivering results. Ram Charan is a legendary advisor to senior executives and boards of directors, a man with unparalleled insight into why some companies are successful and others are not. Together they’ve pooled their knowledge and experience into the one book on how to close the gap between results promised and results delivered that people in business need today.

After a long, stellar career with General Electric, Larry Bossidy transformed AlliedSignal into one of the world’s most admired companies and was named CEO of the year in 1998 by Chief Executive magazine. Accomplishments such as 31 consecutive quarters of earnings-per-share growth of 13 percent or more didn’t just happen; they resulted from the consistent practice of the discipline of execution: understanding how to link together people, strategy, and operations, the three core processes of every business.

Leading these processes is the real job of running a business, not formulating a “vision” and leaving the work of carrying it out to others. Bossidy and Charan show the importance of being deeply and passionately engaged in an organization and why robust dialogues about people, strategy, and operations result in a business based on intellectual honesty and realism. The leader’s most important job — selecting and appraising people — is one that should never be delegated. As a CEO, Larry Bossidy personally makes the calls to check references for key hires. Why? With the right people in the right jobs, there’s a leadership gene pool that conceives and selects strategies that can be executed. People then work together to create a strategy building block by building block, a strategy in sync with the realities of the marketplace, the economy, and the competition. Once the right people and strategy are in place, they are then linked to an operating process that results in the implementation of specific programs and actions and that assigns accountability. This kind of effective operating process goes way beyond the typical budget exercise that looks into a rearview mirror to set its goals. It puts reality behind the numbers and is where the rubber meets the road.

Putting an execution culture in place is hard, but losing it is easy. In July 2001 Larry Bossidy was asked by the board of directors of Honeywell International (it had merged with AlliedSignal) to return and get the company back on track. He’s been putting the ideas he writes about in Execution to work in real time.

Crown Business June 15, 2002

Confronting Reality

Doing What Matters to Get Things Right

Lawrence Bossidy

Confronting Reality will change the way you think about and run your business. It is the first book that shows how to connect the big picture of the new era of business with the nitty-gritty of what to do about it. Through a completely new way to understand and use the business model as the primary tool for confronting reality — a breakthrough that will become the management innovation of this decade — you’ll know sooner rather than later whether your fundamental business premise is under assault, where your best opportunities lie, what you should change and what you should leave alone, and how to realistically plan the future of your business.

The fundamentals of how a business makes money are being rapidly and permanently altered by sweeping structural changes. With their extraordinary depth and breadth of experience, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan are the ideal guides for everyone — entrepreneur, mid-level manager, or CEO — about what is to be done so you can get things right in this challenging, radically changed world. They start by showing you how to understand the most fundamental element of any business: whether you can realistically make the money you hope to in the game you’re playing.

Bossidy and Charan show how to use the business model to develop a robust, reality-based process for thinking about the specifics of your business in a holistic way. They show how to tie together the financial targets you must meet, the external realities you face, and internal activities such as strategy development, operating tactics, and selection and development of people.

Through the lens of the business model, as well as the skillful use of initiatives and development of people with the right leadership characteristics, you’ll see how Robert Nardelli at Home Depot, Jim McNerney at 3M, Dick Harrington at the Thomson Corporation, Michael Wisbrun at KLM, Joseph Tucci at EMC, and John Chambers at Cisco confronted reality. Whether they faced crisis or opportunity, all made the right kinds of changes through a combination of business savvy (the art of understanding the fundamentals driving a business) and business model thinking.

Crown Business Oct 19, 2004

Topics

Larry tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Execution in Action: The Art of Turning Strategy into Results

Videos

Feedback

A major oil company:
Dear Larry — As you will see, the feedback on your presentation was outstanding and the session clearly appreciated by all.

It truly was a most enjoyable, impactful and challenging discussion. In particular we all enjoyed your direct, no-nonsense and very "concrete" style.

I am personally enormously appreciative of the way you engaged with us from the outset and in your willingness to work with our approach of the "fireside chat". It was a real honor to have had the opportunity to spend as much time as I did with you.

Again thanks for all you have done. You were truly an inspiring moment at a very important juncture of our journey to first quartile.

Hope to get the chance to work with you again in the future.

A president and CEO of a leading financial services professional organization:
Dear Larry — We promoted our recently-concluded Retail Delivery Conference & Expo 2003 as “the industry’s biggest meeting of the minds,” and promised our customers that the best and the brightest would address critical issues affecting their retail financial services-related businesses.

Thank you very much for helping us fulfill that commitment to our customers – and, after hearing your remarks in New Orleans, I know that you will appreciate how much that means to us. Your outstanding general session presentation certainly seemed to strike a chord with the audience, and your candid views at the smaller session also rang true. We also appreciate the time you spent with us at our Chairman’s Reception the evening before your presentation – that really impressed those who were there.

The feedback we have received to date on the session has been tremendous, and it was one of the true highlights of our conference. We hope that it was a positive experience for you as well. Thank you again for being a part of this important meeting. You were terrific, Larry, and you exceeded our expectations.

A major business magazine forum:
We have just received the completed compilation of the Forum evaluation surveys, and are delighted to confirm that Mr. Bossidy received the highest rating of all the speakers - 97% rated him as excellent and 3% as good! In addition, in written comments several attendees made reference to Mr. Bossidy's presentation when asked "What was the most useful aspect of this event?" Comments included:

  • Bossidy on his philosophy: CEOs talking about how they instill corporate culture
  • Learn from a great group of CEOs and one stellar former CEO - excellent range of topics
  • Bossidy – excellent
  • Larry Bossidy
  • Hearing first hand of the unique experiences of real CEOs
  • Needless to say we were delighted to have Mr. Bossidy on our program.

A major financial services firm:
Dear Mr. Bossidy — On behalf of [our firm], I want to thank you for participating in our Client Conference last week.

Both conferences exceeded all expectations, judging by the enthusiastic feedback we are getting from our attendees. Your presentation, "Confronting Reality," was extremely well received! So many of our clients and associates told me how much they enjoyed your speech—in fact, when [...] offered closing remarks, he noted your session as a highlight of the conference and the audience heartily applauded.

I also want to thank you for following up with me the next day. You are a consummate professional and it served to reinforce why your approach to leadership and management is so successful. You truly "walk" the talk. It was a pleasure to meet and work with you and I look forward to the opportunity of doing so again in the near future.