Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Book Review, Good to Great!

We are back with a great new book review on a classic by another classic, Don Kardux!  Enjoy and ponder!

Shortly after Jim Collins published this book in 2001 I read it.

Since then I have used it as a guide for over fifty companies with which I've had the good fortune to work.

The lesson is simple.

If you want your company to move from merely being "A Good Company" to being "A Great Company" there are some actions and positions you should take.

First, it is important to understand that "Good" is the enemy of "Great" and that danger can be summed up in a word "complacency"

Jim created a research team of over twenty-six people who found  eleven companies who met the  qualifications of being "Great" i.e. having stock market returns on investments over 300% higher than the market average sustained over fifteen years.

The team then identified eleven other companies in comparative industries that did not meet the qualifications of 'Great'.

Walgreens is a 'Great' company but  Eckerd was not.

Circuit City was a 'Great' company but Silo was not.

Circuit City? That's right! A few of the selected companies didn't make it in the next fifteen years.

Jim's answer to that issue is in his 2009 book "How the mighty fall: and why some companies never give up."

Enough of this rabbit trail. 


Jim's team asked the question, what does the 'great' company do differently than the 'good' company in the same industry.

Then, having created that list of 'Different Behaviors' they asked ' Do the 'Great' companies have any of those 'Different Behaviors' in common?

They discovered 7 behaviors that 'Great' companies shared and they explained them in chapters 2 thru 8.

1.        Level  5 Leadership

2.        First Who...Then What

3.        Confront the Brutal Facts (Yet Never Lose Faith)

4.        The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity within the Three Circles)

5.        A Culture of Discipline

6.        Technology Accelerators

7.        The Flywheel and the Doom Loop

It's funny that I'm reviewing 'Good to Great' now after focusing on thirty other books in this book review blog for Debby's wonderful Connext Nation group.  It's funny that it took me over two years and six months to review the book I use the most.

There hasn't been a week in the past fourteen years that I haven't mentioned to a client or seminar participants or strangers in an elevator an 'Aha' that an idea in this book generated.

In fact, chapter 3, behavior 2 'First Who...Then What' radically changed my approach to working with strategic planning and other operational challenges.

Like many 'Great Truths' which are painfully obvious after someone writes it down and clarifies it's people first not strategies.

Get the right people on the bus and they can figure where to go!

Please read this book....it's great!

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