Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Good to Great

USA TODAY ran a nice article today on Good to Great , written by Jim Collins, and its exploding popularity.

Here's some highlights from the book:

Core Concepts from Good to Great by Jim Collins

Level 5 Leadership

• “Level 5 leaders embody a paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will. They are ambitious, to be sure, but ambitious first and foremost for the company, not themselves.” p. 39

• “set up their successors for even greater success….” p. 39

• The Window and the Mirror: credit others with success, blame themselves for failures. p. 39

• Usually arise from within the organization p. 40

First Who…Then What

• The primary leader is not a “genius with a thousand helpers” p. 62

• Take your time in hiring decisions. Make people changes quickly if changes are needed. p. 62

• “put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems.” p. 62

• These management teams debate openly and then unify behind the decision.

The Stockdale paradox

• Confront the Brutal Facts but never Lose Faith

• “A primary task in taking a company from good to great is to create a culture wherein people have a tremendous opportunity to be heard and, ultimately, for the truth to be heard.” p. 88

• “Creating a climate where the truth is heard involves four basic practices:

• “Lead with questions, not answers.
• Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion.
• Conduct autopsies, without blame.
• Build red flag mechanisms that turn information into information that cannot be ignored.” p. 88

The Hedgehog Concept

· What’s the “Big Idea” of your company?

• The Three Circles

• What are you deeply passionate about?
• What you can be best in the world at?
• What drives your economic engine?

A Culture of Discipline

• “A culture of discipline involves a duality. On the one hand it requires people who adhere to a consistent system; yet on the other hand, it gives people freedom and responsibility within the framework of that system.” p. 142

• “The single most important form of discipline for sustained results is the fanatical adherence to the Hedgehog Concept and the willingness to shun opportunities that fall outside the three circles.” p. 142

• “’Stop doing’ lists are more important than “to do” lists. p. 143

Technology Accelerators

· Technologies that optimize a companies strength and drive its growth

The Flywheel and the Doom Loop

• “Sustained transformation follow a predictable pattern of buildup and breakthrough. Like pushing on a giant, heavy flywheel, it takes a lot of effort to get the thing moving at all, but with persistent pushing in a consistent direction over a long period of time, the flywheel builds momentum, eventually hitting a point of breakthrough.” p. 186

• “…the good-to-great transformations never happened in one fell swoop.” p. 186

For a nice summary and thoughts on Good to Great see this Fast Company article on Good to Great. Also check out other Collins' articles @ his library

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