Ram Charan

Best-Selling Author and Expert on Business Strategy
  • MBA and doctorate degrees from Harvard Business School
  • Called a “secret weapon” by the former CEO of Verizon
  • Advises globalized business leaders through times of instability and crisis
  • Brings unique insight into international businesses and economies from his travels around the globe

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In his work with companies including Toyota, Bank of America, Key Bank, ICICI Bank, Aditya Birla Group, Novartis, Max Group, Yildiz Holdings, UST Global, Fast Retailing (Uniqlo), Humana, Matrix, Longfor and two of the four largest digital companies in China, he is known for cutting through the complexity of running a business in today’s fast changing environment to uncover the core business problem.

His real-world solutions, shared with millions through his books and articles in top business publications, have been praised for being practical, relevant and highly actionable — the kind of advice you can use Monday morning.  Jack Welch, former Chairman of GE said, “He has the rare ability to distill meaningful from meaningless and transfer it to others in a quiet, effective way.”

Professor Charan has coached more than a dozen leaders who went on to become CEOs. He reaches many more up and coming business leaders through in-house executive education programs. His energetic, interactive teaching style has won him several awards, including the Bell Ringer award at GE’s famous Crotonville Institute and best teacher award at Northwestern.

He was among Business Week‘s top ten resources for in-house executive development programs. Ram has authored or coauthored more than 30 books that have sold over 4 million copies in more than a dozen languages.  Four of his books were Wall Street Journal bestsellers, including Execution (coauthored with former Honeywell CEO Larry Bossidy), which spent more than 150 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He also has written for publications including over 12 articles for Harvard Business Review, 12 articles for Fortune and numerous articles for BusinessWeek, Time, Chief Executive and USA TODAY.

Ram was elected a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources and was named one of the most influential people in corporate governance and the board room by Directorship magazine. He has served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Corporate Governance and serves or has served on a dozen boards in the US, Brazil, China, India, Canada, and Dubai. 

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Speaker Video

Leading During Times of Crisis

Leading Your Business Through the Global Tilt

It is quite obvious the business world is in a state of flux. We have plummeted from the highs of the last economic boom into the most troubled economy of the past fifty years - an economy that is now globally interconnected and immensely complex. Businesses are frantically trying to find their way in the newly reworked landscape, where the rules of the game seem unclear and sometimes unfair. Drawing on his experience with businesses worldwide, Ram Charan offers perspective and insight for business leaders operating in this new competitive arena, where the balance of economic power has dramatically shifted . The audience will learn:

• The profound shift in economic power that is underway and the opportunities it presents

• How to formulate a clear-headed strategic response to new kinds of global competition

• What resources, skills and talent will be needed to respond to the global tilt

• How to reorient the organization's psychology and decision making

• Specific companies in the North and the South that are succeeding in today's challenging environment


The wide gulf between strategizing and getting things done is a growing problem in today's increasingly complex business world. For businesses to prosper and grow, particularly in a challenging business environment, the gap between promising results and delivering them must be closed. Charan argues execution takes place as a result of robust dialogue that links people, strategy and operations. What's more, he contends that leading the three core processes of an organization (people, strategy and operations) is the real job of running a business and espouses the need for deeply and passionately engaged leaders. The audience gains:

• Recognition that execution cannot be delegated

• Insight into how companies like Wal-Mart, Dell, and GE use execution to outcompete

• The framework of flawless execution tools to develop the discipline of execution

• Ability to use a robust, reality-based process for thinking about business in an integrated way


Growth is vital to economic recovery and is among the most pressing issues facing companies today, but growth doesn't happen because managers decide to broaden the product line, spend more money on technology, beef up the sales force or acquire another business. Instead, growth starts with a mindset and insatiable curiosity about the world's needs. This speech helps the audience:

• Understand if the business isn't growing sustainably and profitably, it's dying

• Learn how to fund growth, the corporate mindset required to grow, and the factors that must be considered to achieve balanced growth

• Grasp a method of looking rationally at the risks involved in growth


We live in a world of unprecedented change and massive volatility. What remains constant is the capital most companies hold in terms of innovation and creativity. "Innovation," says Charan, "is the world's best and perhaps only way to win in the face of fast commoditization ." Using examples such as Procter & Gamble, Honeywell, Nokia, LEGO, GE, HP and DuPont, all of which harnessed the power of innovation, Charan offers both an instructive and inspiring look at transforming today's companies and remaining profitable in the face of economic uncertainty. The audience will gain:

• How to put the customer at the center of innovation

• The building blocks of innovation

• How to view innovation as a social process

• Insight into reducing the risk of innovation failure

• The knowledge to become a leader in innovation

Profitability /Selling

The twin components of making a company profitable are a keen understanding of the operational underpinnings of the organization and creating a world-class sales team . Charan imparts the basics of business, the universals of success that apply whether you are selling fruit from a stand or running a Fortune 500 company. From this foundation, he then explains in detail how to run a company that is customer-centric- an absolute must in a world where pricing has collapsed and the consumer's ability to comparison shop is unprecedented. Charan strips back the functions of running a company and making its sales team high functioning, no matter the size of the organization or the current business climate. The audience will gain:

• Ability to get deeper and richer knowledge of your customer's need and process for making purchase decisions

• Insight into how to help your customer improve margins and drive revenue growth

• Knowledge of how to connect sales with other key functions, such as finance and manufacturing

• Insight into how to design new, customized offerings

• Understanding of how to de-emphasize price in the selling process

Corporate Boards

In 30 years of helping directors deal with the practical challenges of governing well, Charan has become a leading authority on corporate boards. Directorship magazine named him "one of the most influential people in corporate governance and the board room." He facilitates board self-evaluations, peer reviews, strategy retreats, and CEO evaluations, and advises on recruitment of new directors and compensation. Charan has served on several boards and on the National Association of Corporate Directors Blue Ribbon Commission on Corporate Governance. Participants will learn:

• Specific ways boards can add or destroy value

• How to define roles and assess performance for committees and the full board

• How to set the board agenda in a way that moves the business forward

• Principles of succession planning for the board

• How to make the board a competitive advantage


Fortune magazine calls him "the most influential consultant alive" - a reputation earned through more than 30 years of wise counsel to top business leaders around the globe. Charan has a unique perspective on how great leaders differ from the rest. He breaks through the fac;:ade of leadership to explain the capabilities leaders must possess, how to build a

leadership-driven company, how to lead in economic uncertainty, how to develop and grow your own leadership capability, and finally, how to plan for smooth succession. The audience will gain:

• Insight into what those teaching leadership tend to miss

• Knowledge of when and how personality matters

• Insight into how to build a pipeline of leaders who deliver

• Understanding of how a company can develop leadership at each level of the organization

• Ability to implement the "Apprenticeship Model" to grow new leaders

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