Week 8 Book Review

The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Harowitz

As I wind up my review of this book, I reflect on the general theme to be a strong CEO and not give up. This weeks reading discusses evaluating the CEO. Being a CEO requires a varied set of advanced skills. Some of these skills come naturally and some are learned. When evaluating a CEO, you want to ask the following questions:

Does the CEO know what to do? This includes matters of personnel, financing, goals, and marketing.

Can the CEO get the company to do what she knows? Can she lead her company to execute her strategy? One of my favorite passages in the book was this paragraph.

“In a well-run organization, people can focus on their work (as opposed to politics and bureaucratic procedures) and have confidence that if they get their work done, good things will happen both for the company and for them personally. By Contrast, in a poorly run organization, people spend much of their time fighting organizational boundaries and broken processes.”(Harowitz, 2014)

The CEO must be help accountable. The CEOs position is constantly evolving with the change of the economy and the size of the company. There are so many factors that can change the company so the CEO may have to change with it.

Horowitz, Ben. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. , 2014. Print.

3 thoughts on “Week 8 Book Review

  1. Tina,

    I felt this post so much, I am currently working at Mission Hospital in Western Carolina. We were recently acquired by HCA and it has been a rough and rocky road. There are concerns regarding the acquisition and the treatment of the patients and it’s employees. It has been very trying and concerning to see our community in this much of instability and uproar.

    The transition with leadership has been hard and the quote you posted reminded me of several things. Currently there are so many people caught up in the drama of it all and focused on pushing boundaries that some are losing site of patient care. Now that was not a straightforward statement either, some care providers have their hands tied and feel like they cannot win but are trying their hardest to do the best they can for their patients. This can be frustrating to feel like you are hitting walls that were not previously there. On the other hand, those that are in administrative roles (like myself) that do not have direct patient care responsibilities can focus on doing their job to facilitate the care providers. This is difficult, but focusing on what I can control is at least better than spending efforts pushing the wall that is not going to budge.

    This is certainly a trying time and I don’t know how long it will take for things to shake out. Change is hard, and we are facing this EVERY DAY. I am thankful that I have a strong leader that is leading us without getting caught in the middle and constantly redirecting teams to care for the patients and the processes we can control.



  2. Caitlin,

    Thank you for your insight on this post. I have totally enjoyed your view on this book and many of my other posts. I wish you luck through the transition. Many moons ago, I worked for the for-profit side of Mission, Patient Credit and Medical Billing Services. I hope that they will get it figured out. I am so happy that you have a good leader. I hope our paths cross again.

    Warm regards,

    Tina Jones


  3. Tina, Don’t underestimate the importance of hiring the right people. The CEO can’t necessarily know everything, but if they put the right team in place and manage them properly, good things will result. I hope you enjoyed the book! Its hard to believe we are almost done!
    Best regards,
    Mike Weimar


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