Know How

Ram Charan 2007
Read: 2016
Education/Leadership, Non-Fiction

I actually did not find a lot of application for this book for the public education sector. If I were starting a charter school or an internet-based school, two ideas that will continue to grow and shape the education scene, then I might be more interested in examining this book more closely. But I did take a couple ideas from Mr. Charan’s book as worthwhile. He focuses on building strong leadership teams and setting goals and priorities. Those are both worth looking at closely.


“The job of a leader is to see the person as a whole, over time, in a variety of situations, and work backward from what you observe to determine what the person’s individual gifts really are.” You do that by spending a lot of time with your direct reports, talking with them and focusing on their positive attributes. In a large company or district, you should be able to build a pipeline of leaders.


Mr. Chamran likes teams that demonstrate “unity without uniformity.” If one of the team members has behavior that hurts the team, the leader has to confront it. Identify the “energy-drainers and energy-generators.”


Mr. Chamran likes the idea of setting both clear attainable goals and “stretch goals.” Stretch goals show people that they can accomplish more than they thought possible. The next step is pretty obvious – setting priorities, assigning the right people to be in charge, communicating the priorities and assigning resources towards those priorities.


Mr. Charan gives nice examples with all of his chapters. Some are fictional and others are related to actual businesses. I found this to be a nice “reminder” book, stated in different ways, about leadership and leading. 

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