Ram Charan

Highly acclaimed business advisor, speaker, and author


Topics

Business Growth, Government & Politics, Leadership, Management, Peak Performance, Teamwork/Teambuilding


Full Bio


Ram Charan is a highly sought after business advisor and speaker famous among senior executives for his uncanny ability to solve their toughest business problems. For more than thirty-five years, Dr. Charan has worked behind the scenes with top executives at some of the world's most successful companies, including GE, Verizon, Novartis, Dupont, Thomson, Honeywell, KLM, Bank of America, Home Depot, and MeadWestvaco. He has shared his insights with many others through teaching and writing.

Dr. Charan's introduction to business came early while working in the family shoe shop in the small Indian town where he was raised. He earned an engineering degree in India and soon after took a job in Australia and then in Hawaii. When his talent for business was discovered, Dr. Charan was encouraged to pursue it. He earned MBA and doctorate degrees from Harvard Business School, where he graduated with high distinction and was a Baker Scholar. After receiving his doctorate degree, he served on the Harvard Business School faculty.

Dr. Charan is well known for providing advice that is down to earth and relevant and that takes into account the real-world complexities of business. Among his recommendations for achieving profitable growth, for example, are to search for "singles and doubles" as well as home runs and to develop what he calls a "growth budget" to instill discipline on growth initiatives. Identified by Fortune as the leading expert in corporate governance, Dr. Charan is helping boards go beyond the requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley and the New York Stock Exchange by providing practical ways to improve their group dynamics. Boards, CEOs, and senior-most human resource executives often seek his advice on talent planning and key hires.

Many people have come to know Dr. Charan through in-house executive education programs. His energetic, interactive teaching style has won him several awards. He won the Bell Ringer award at GE's famous Crotonville Institute and best teacher award at Northwestern. He was among BusinessWeek's top ten resources for in-house executive development programs.

Over the past decade, Dr. Charan has captured his business insights in numerous books and articles. In the past five years, Dr. Charan's books have sold more than 2 million copies. These include the bestseller Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done and Confronting Reality, both co-authored with Larry Bossidy, What the CEO Wants You to Know, Boards at Work, Every Business Is a Growth Business, Profitable Growth, and Boards That Deliver. A frequent contributor to Fortune, Dr. Charan has written two cover stories, "Why CEOs Fail" and "Why Companies Fail." His other articles have appeared in the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, Director's Monthly, and Strategy and Business.

Dr. Charan has served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Corporate Governance and was elected a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources. He is on the board of Austin Industries and The Six Sigma Academy.

MOST REQUESTED TOPICS:
KNOW-HOW
The 8 Skills That Separate People Who Perform from Those Who Don't
How often have you heard someone with a commanding presence deliver a bold vision that turned out to be nothing more than rhetoric and hot air? All too often we mistake the appearance of leadership for the real deal. Without a doubt, intelligence, vision, and the ability to communicate are important. But something big is missing: the know-how of running a business — the capacity to take it in the right direction, do the right things, make the right decisions, deliver results, and leave the people and the business better off than they were before.

For well over four decades, Ram Charan has been learning in the most visceral way the underlying reasons why leaders succeed and fail. As one of the most influential advisors to top management teams of leading companies around the world, he has had a front-row seat to observe the cause and effect of leadership practices and behaviors.

Ram Charan's insight into the real content of leadership provides you with the eight fundamental skills needed for success in the twenty-first century:

  • Positioning (and when necessary, repositioning) your business by zeroing in on the central idea that meets customer needs and makes money
  • Connecting the dots by pinpointing patterns of external change ahead of others
  • Shaping the way people work together by leading the social system of your business
  • Judging people by getting to the truth of a person
  • Molding high-energy, high-powered, high-ego people into a working team of leaders in which they equal more than the sum of their parts
  • Knowing the destination where you want to take your business by developing goals that balance what the business can become with what it can realistically achieve
  • Setting laser-sharp priorities that become the road map for meeting your goals
  • Dealing creatively and positively with societal pressures that go beyond the economic value  creation activities of your business

Know-How is the missing link of leadership. By Showing how the eight know-hows link to, interact with, and reinforce personal and psychological traits, Ram Charan provides a holistic and innovative portrait of successful leaders of the twenty-first century.

Execution
The Discipline of Getting Things Done
For many leaders, creating a strategy is the easy part. Making it happen is the bigger challenge. Why is flawless execution so hard to achieve? Because few leaders understand what it requires. This presentation shows how to get the job done and deliver results . . . whether you're running an entire company or in your first management job. Ram explores what "execution" really means, and how it brings together the critical elements of any organization -- its people, strategies, and operations. Execution takes personal discipline, and more important, a systematic approach to synchronizing the moving parts of the organization. Based on the best selling and highly praised book Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done this is practical, insightful, leading-edge business thinking for organizations that want to do things differently.

Confronting Reality
Doing What Matters to Get Things Right
The fundamentals of how a business makes money are being rapidly and permanently altered by sweeping structural changes. With his extraordinary depth and breadth of experience, Ram Charan is the ideal guide 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. He starts 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. He then shows 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. He shows 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.

Growth
Especially in a slow economy, growth can seem impossible to achieve. But growth opportunities almost always exist. What is needed is a disciplined approach to identify, pursue, and fund them. Based on the Ram's presenter's two books on growth, Every Business Is a Growth Business and Profitable Growth Is Everyone's Business: 9 Tools You Can Use Monday Morning, this presentation will stimulate new ideas and explore new terrain in the quest to find new markets, new customers, and new business opportunities.

Corporate Governance
Sarbanes-Oxley and the NYSE guidelines can go only so far. Boards must go beyond compliance to ensure that they are focusing on the substance of corporate governance: providing oversight and adding value. Designed for those involved in corporate governance, this session is practical and down to earth. Based on Boards at Work and The New Board and informed by working with some of the country's best boards, it shows how any board can be among the best.

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