I have read many business books, mainly because I have been studying since I was a child! To be honest I find business books hard to read and remain engaged. Can I say how delighted I was when I read Jim Collins “Good to Great”, Publisher: Harper Business; 1 edition (October 16, 2001). There are many, many, many reviews of this book. They all say the same thing. That Good to Great is compelling reading for anyone in business. It is amazing that there are still many in the business world who do not understand the meaning behind Jim Collins work.
CM recommend this book because:
• It is a tool for success for small to large business. No one can afford not to read it. Jim Collins clearly identifies the three critical factors to running a great business of any size.
• He develops a compelling profile of what it takes to be the leader of a great enterprise in the modern day. I would hasten to guess those leaders you know that are most admired within your organisation may not necessarily possess the appropriate leadership style for sustainable success.
• He demonstrates the building of successful enterprises as a result of ethical behaviour rather than he perceived compromises ethical behaviour brings. This is an especially relevant issue in the current climate of corporate scandals.
The following is adapted from the Barnes & Noble Editor’s Review:
Jim Collins begins this book with a startling and counterintuitive claim: “Good is the enemy of great.” We’ve become so conditioned to think of performance as something that develops along evolutionary lines — from poor to good to outstanding — that it takes a minute to grasp the notion that competence can actually inhibit achievement.
As Collins says, “The vast majority of companies never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good — and that is their main problem.”
Based on an extensive five-year study conducted by Collins and a research team he affectionately refers to as “the Chimps,” Good to Great defines and analyses the practices that allowed 11 companies to make the rare transition from solid to outstanding performance.
One of the first surprises of the book is the list of companies Collins focuses on. Some of the other revelations in the book concern the lack of correlation between executive compensation and corporate performance; the fact that technology did not in itself engender corporate transformation; and the scant attention that these upward-trending companies paid to such issues as managing change or motivating people.
Collins’s philosophy is summed up in one noteworthy phrase from the book — “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice
Jim Collins’ previous boot, Built to Last, was a defining management study of the nineties. It showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning. But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority?
And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?
In what Collins terms a prequel to the bestseller Built to Last he wrote with Jerry Porras, this worthwhile effort explores the way good organizations can be turned into ones that produce great, sustained results.
To find the keys to greatness, Collins’s 21-person research team (at his management research firm) read and coded 6,000 articles, generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts and created 384 megabytes of computer data in a five-year project.
That Collins is able to distil the findings into a cogent, well-argued and instructive guide is a testament to his writing skills. After establishing a definition of a good-to-great transition that involves a 10-year fallow period followed by 15 years of increased profits. Collins’s crew combed through every company that has made the Fortune 500 (approximately 1,400) and found 11 that met their criteria, including Walgreens, Kimberly Clark, and Fannie Mae.
These companies, often considered to be in “boring” businesses, achieved better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world’s “greatest” companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck. To control the data, the research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:
Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness.
The Hedgehog Concept(Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence.
A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results.
Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology.
The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.
Some of the key concepts discerned in the study, comments Jim Collins, “fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.
Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings? For me this is the second essential reading for business owners or business managers….today!
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice.