There is good reason why this book is listed as one of the Top 100 Business books of all time.
Jim Collins and his team of researchers dug for insights and patterns in behavior from companies that went from being good to a great. Great was defined as cumulative stock returns of 7 times the market average over a fifteen-year period from 1985 from 2000. In their research, Jim Collins and his team found 11 companies that matched these strict criteria. It’s interesting to note that company’s with perceived greatness like GE, Coke and Intel did not make the cut.
Here are the most intriguing findings to me
1. I don’t know any Good to Great Leaders by name. In general, they are not charismatic, larger than life personalities. 10 of 11 of good to great leaders came from within the company and all of them had a personality that blends humility with an unwavering will to succeed.
2. People aren’t a company’s most valuable resource. Good people are the company’s most valuable resource. While it may seem difficult, success in these Good to Great companies started by making sure all the good people in the company had a seat on the bus before deciding on the path to greatness.
3. The truth set them free. In a similar way to the truth and reconciliation committee of post-apartheid South Africa, the leaders of Good to Great companies demanded that employees be heard so that the company could confront the brutal truths that were holding them back.
4. Every one of these 11 companies built their success framework on three core pillars known as the Hedgehog Effect 1. Know what you are deeply passionate about 2. Understand the metrics that drive your economic engine 3. Identify the thing that you can be the best in the world at. The good, disciplined people working within the system were given clear direction then the freedom and responsibility to perform. The discipline came in the form of “stop doing” lists rather than “to do” lists.
5. Technology neither caused greatness or decline. Great companies used technology to suit their needs and enhance their customer’s experience. Technology is an amplifier of what the company already does. On average, the transformation from good to great took 10 years of disciplined hard work. At first the changes were slow but in time, the entire disciplined organization gained momentum and delivered exceptional results without increasing effort. Great companies chose to use technology only where it could enhance their Hedgehog Effect and was a key element used to accelerate growth. In comparison, good companies seemed overwhelmed by technology and continuously tried to play catch up with it.
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