Legendary executive adviser and author Ram Charan has developed an integrated, holistic approach to what executives and managers must do and be to become successful leaders. According to Charan, leadership is a messy phenomenon because there are a number of things that influence it. Therefore, he has identified the skills that are required by today’s business leaders, the personal traits and emotions that can help or interfere with these skills and the cognitive traits that can improve them.

In this summary, Charan presents a framework for leaders in the 21st century. By taking a broad view of the landscape to see how it is changing over time, Charan shows how leading a business is an ongoing process in which leaders must repetitively deploy and redeploy their know-how, which he defines as the quality that separates leaders who perform — those who deliver results — from those who don’t.

This summary reveals Charan’s perspective on the underlying founda- tion of business success, key components of which are his eight know-hows. These are specific skills Charan has identified that range from being able to position and reposition a business to dealing with societal forces beyond the market. Command of the know-hows, he says, can provide leaders with both practical and human-based perspectives that will enable them to meet situ- ations with creative instead of standard approaches. Each of the eight is illustrated with detailed case-history material.