Imagine that you met a remarkable person who could look at the sun or the stars and, amazingly, state the exact time and date. Wouldn’t it be even more amazing still if, instead of telling the time, that person built a clock that could tell the time forever, even after he or she were dead and gone?
Having a great idea or being a charismatic visionary leader is “time telling;” building a company that can prosper far beyond the tenure of any single leader and through multiple product life cycles is “clock building.” Those who build visionary companies tend to be clock builders. Their primary accomplishment is not the implementation of a great idea, the expression of a charismatic personality, or the accumulation of wealth. It is the company itself and what it stands for.
– Jim Collins from ‘Good to Great’
“Execution is the tough, difficult, daily grind of making sure the machine moves forward meter by meter, kilometer by kilometer, milestone by milestone. Accountability must be demanded, and when it is not met, changes must be made quickly. Managers must be asked to report on their performance and explain their successes and failures. Most important, no credit can be given for predicting rain—only for building arks.”
– Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? by Louis V. Gerstner Jr.