Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t is a management book by Jim C. Collins that describes how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how most companies fail to make the transition.
Good to Great Summary
‘Good is the enemy of Great’. This is how the author sets off a riveting journey explaining the findings from his and his team’s half a decade of research in the conquest of how to make good companies great. Essentially, ‘Good to Great’ happens very rarely and it is because it is damn difficult.
In his research, Jim Collins (the author), has found out systematic phases through which any great company goes through and lays out a framework as shown below:
The framework has got three main components:
- Process: From setting up yourselves towards greatness (aka Build Up) to achieving an inflection point that takes you to greatness (aka Breakthrough)
2. Phases: There are three different phases in the ‘Good to Great’ journey.
Disciplined People: Involves getting the right leader and the right team
Disciplined Thought: Involves understanding of brutal facts and creating a set of core values
Disciplined Action: Creating a robust culture where the right people will work within the defined core values with the appropriate freedom
3. Flywheel: A quiet and deliberate process of figuring out what needs to be done for best future results and taking those step one by one, pushing the flywheel in a consistent direction until it achieves a breakthrough point.
Lets delve into each of these components into a little detail.
Research has shown that leaders who have brought the ‘Good to Great’ transformation are not the one’s who are charismatic or big personalities but are rather quiet, shy, deliberate. They are the one’s who have the combination of humility and professional will. Organisations that strive to become great need to have a Level 5 leader.
Author explains leadership in terms of 5 different levels (see above image) with Level 5 being the highest level in the hierarchy. Following are the traits of a Level 5 leader:
- They first and foremost think about the success of their organisation and then personal riches
- These are the leaders who are shy but show extreme fierceness in getting the job done
- These people think about the future of their companies without them and plan about their succession
- They are modest and rarely like to talk about themselves or their achievements.They prefer to share the credit with others as opposed to other “good” company leaders who are self obsessed and egalitarians
- Level 5 leaders always apportioned the credit of success to others and if there were no one to credit they credited towards ‘Luck’
- In times of failures they took the responsibility. This was exactly the opposite in case of leaders of ‘good’ or failed organisations
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About the Author
James C. “Jim” Collins is an American researcher, author, speaker and consultant focused on the subject of business management and company sustainability and growth.