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Friday, April 18, 2008


Jim Collins authored this book after his earlier work “Built to Last”, but he advises readers to consider this work as a prequel to his earlier book. While Built to last was about visionary, lasting organizations, “Good to Great” is about mediocre organizations which leaped to greatness.

A typical Jim Collins book…..extremely well researched over years, this book elucidates certain concepts using 11 companies which satisfied a typical pattern – “fifteen-year cumulative stock returns at or below the general stock market, punctuated by a transition point, then cumulative returns at least three times the market over the next fifteen years". As in his earlier book, Jim Collins has also maintained a list of comparative companies.

Jim Collins has beautifully written this book with the information of a business book and the sensitivity of an artistic creation. In this process, he has explored appealing concepts, which he discovered to be the key constituents of each of the Good to Great companies. Some of the findings are –

Leaders and the way they think - (early build up to greatness)
(1) Level five leaders (who build enduring greatness through a mix of personal humility and professional will)
(2) Hedgehog concept (ask - what you are passionate about, what you can be the best in the world at, what drives your economic engine – and then do those things which answer all the three questions)
(3) Stockdale Paradox – (retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of difficulties and at the same time confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be)
(4) First Who, then What (first find the right people, then think what to do)

Breakthrough and leap to greatness
(5) Flywheel building momentum (incremental and cumulative efforts, which help the system to get momentum)
(6) Culture of discipline (culture of discipline as different from tyranny)
(7) Technology accelerators (aligning technology with the strategy of the organization as streamlined by the hedgehog concept)

Jim Collins has consummately merged the concepts of this book with that of his earlier “Built to Last”.

In this book, Jim Collins doesn’t restrict his thoughts to the corporate world but links the concept of greatness with a subtle sensitiveness….greatness is not about being huge…its about discovering excellence and meaningfulness in work….Nor is greatness limited to the corporate…it can be discovered in every aspect of life.

Felt tempted to quote the last paragraph of the book -

“When all these pieces come together, not only your work move towards greatness, but so does your life. For in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. Perhaps then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you have had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed, you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent and that it mattered.”

1 comment:

Prestidigitator said...

My blog is more updated than yours :)