Friday Book in a Page: Good to Great

Good to Great by Jim Collins 

If everyone has learned the “right” way to launch, build and grow a business,  why do some businesses experience success against all odds, while other companies that look like they have everything going for them fail?  This is the central question that Jim Collins posed to his team of research students and the work that is analyzed and summarized in Good to Great. They found 11 companies who had a mediocre performance for 15 years or more and then transitioned to greatness and studied direct comparison companies as a control on the industry.   Their core analysis is that companies that achieve greatness in their industry are not just doing the same things but better than their competitors.

They are doing something different.  

Here are the 7 Characteristics of Good to Great Companies

Key Messages of the Book: 

  1. Led by Level 5 leaders:  Leaders put the success of the company ahead of their own career aspirations.  Look outside the window to give credit, not in the mirror.
  2. Built a team-first:  Got the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus and the right people in the right seats and then figured out where to drive it.  If you begin with “who” rather than “what” than you can better adapt to changing times and opportunities.
  3. Confront the brutal facts yet never give up hope:  Known as the Stockdale Paradox. They were never disheartened by their current reality and never tried to put a different “spin” on them.  The facts were listed dis-passionately
  4. Embrace the Hedgehog Concept:  The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.  The concept is at the intersection of three circles: What can you be the best in the world at? What drives the cash? and What are you deeply passionate about?
  5. Have a Culture of Discipline:  Specifically the discipline to stay within your three circles.  When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship you get the magical alchemy of great performance.
  6. Never use technology as the primary means of igniting transformation:  Technology is assistive and not a driver. Key question: does it fit with your hedgehog concept.
  7. The Flywheel: the process resembles relentlessly pushing a giant heavy flywheel in one direction, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough and beyond.

Lasting Message: You can accomplish anything in life if you do not mind who gets the credit.

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