Have you ever noticed that the business savvy of the world’s best CEOs seems like a kind of street smarts? They sense where the opportunities are and how to take advantage of them. And their companies make money consistently, year after year.
How different is it to run a big company than to sell fruit from a cart or run a small shop in a village? In essence, not very, according to Ram Charan. From his childhood in India, where he worked in his family’s shoe shop, to his education at Harvard Business School and his daily work advising many of the world’s best CEOs, Ram understands business as few can.
The best CEOs have a knack for bringing the most complex business down to the fundamentals–the same fundamentals that are used to run the family shoe shop. And, they have business acumen–the ability to focus on the basics and make money for the company.
What the CEO Wants You to Know captures these insights and explains in clear, simple language how to do what great CEOs do instinctively and persistently:
* Understand the basic building blocks of a business and use them to figure out how your company makes money and operates as a total business.
* Decide what to do, despite the clutter of day-to-day business and the complexity of the real world.
Many people spend more than a hundred thousand dollars on an MBA without learning to pull these pieces of the puzzle together. Many others lack a formal business education and feel shut out from the executive suite. What the CEO Wants You to Know provides you with the universal laws of business success, no matter whether you are selling fruit from a stand or running a Fortune 500 company.Ram Charan learned about business from his family’s shoe shop in India before attending Harvard Business School and going on to advise senior executives in companies large and small. His experiences taught him that universal laws apply “whether you sell fruit from a stand or are running a Fortune 500 company,” and that the business acumen that comes from understanding these basics can be applied throughout any operation. What the CEO Wants You to Know is Charan’s primer on this point, which he illustrates with explanations filtered through the eyes of street venders and other small shopkeepers. One, for example, involves a woman in Managua, Nicaragua, who sells clothing from a small cart and beats the oppressive interest rates on her loans and the puny profit margins on her goods with a skillfully selected inventory that is quickly and repeatedly turned over. Whether it’s a corner merchant or a giant manufacturing concern, Charan notes, “the faster the velocity, the higher the return.” Relating such thinking to cash generation, customer satisfaction, and other essentials, he describes the universal principles that help all companies make money. “What your CEO wants you to know is how these fundamentals of business work in your company,” he writes before embarking on a very lucid explanation that can be quickly absorbed and put into practice. —Howard Rothman
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