Book Review: Out Executing the Competition

by Joe Lavelle on November 16, 2012

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What is business strategy

Are you sharpening your saw on a regular basis?  I still do and a significant part of my personal continuous learning approach is to find and read new books written by executives.  I find it really valuable to understand the lessons learned by others in industry.  That is why when I was contacted a few months ago to read and review Out Executing the Competition by Irv Rothman, I jumped at the opportunity.

“You can’t be afraid to fail.  I feel like I am going to make more right decisions than wrong…”

I could not have said it better, though I tried in my book Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail.  It turns out that Mr. Rothman and I are similar in many ways.  We both grew up loving the New York Yankees. He grew up listening to the great Mel Allen broadcast the games on the radio, while I watched  on tv as my father’s favorite Yankee “Scooter” Rizzuto and Bill White provided the commentary. Mr. Rothman’s childhood dream was to replace Mel Allen as the Yankee’s broadcaster, while I am still waiting for a call from the front office if that Jeter kid doesn’t work out.

“I feel the way that the late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner did.  If you don’t want to be here, to be a part of something special, then we don’t want you.  But if you do, then wear the uniform proudly.”

If you have read my book or if you have worked with me or for me, you would most likely say that that would be something that I might say.  Mr. Rothman expresses the point with his own particular voice, but again we are similar.

I feel that the most important similarity between Mr. Rothman and I is that we felt compelled to share the lessons that our we have learned through our careers with as many others as we could reach by writing a book about them.  We both feel we owe it to all of you that know it’s important to  sharpen your saw regularly to share our lesson’s learned.

Our similarities end there.  Mr. Rothman was a CEO of two multi-billion dollar companies, the first of which he built from a blank sheet of paper.  What I found most compelling in Out Executing the Competition  is that Mr. Rothman shared his ideas on how business strategy, philosophy and managerial approach are woven together to achieve success vs. a list of tactics.  He shared the importance of “making sure employees have ownership of the business” vs. “how to weed out the bottom 10%”.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing any of the lessons we have learned from Jack Welch, or any other business author, which I still apply all the time.  I am just pointing out that Mr. Rothman’s biggest impact on my saw was to help me understand the importance of having leadership strategies and philosophies for any particular business, communicating those philosophies, and living those philosophies even when it’s hard to do.

 “I hope that these career lessons illustrate how a truly proactive, innovative business strategy, philosophy and managerial approach are created,  and how they lead to the achievement of objectives that, at the start, might seem distant and unattainable.”

Yes Mr. Rothman, they do.  Thank you very much for sharing them and for helping me to sharpen my saw!   If you have not already done it, click on this link to purchase Out Executing the Competition on Amazon for your own saw sharpening over the Holidays!  I know that you will not be disappointed.

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