It's Monday morning at 8:00, your first day on the job as a new CEO or GM. You are responsible for running the business. You understand the four laws we have described. What will you do first?
In addition to having a deep understanding of the fundamental laws of business, successful general managers identify and follow a clear path to performance improvement, based on an assessment of their organization's full potential. They know how to use the fundamentals to diagnose their starting point accurately, craft a realistic and compelling set of objectives, and map out a trajectory from one to the other.
There are several routes to failure along the road to results, but at least one clear approach to getting each step right. The four laws provide the tools for diagnosing the point of departure: an understanding of the company's relative strengths, relative weaknesses, capabilities, and challenges. They enable the manager to develop a point of arrival that is at once aspirational and achievable. And they provide guidelines for the plan, targets, and interim metrics that will enable the company to reach its point of arrival in a time frame that matches the general manager's likely tenure. In effect, they create that simple roadmap to results—simple in concept, anyway, though admittedly complex in practice.
Great managers can succeed by applying the laws to each step on the road to results, focusing on the insights they gather, and acting accordingly.