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Adapting is about Dynamic Change (Not Static Behaviour),
This review is from: Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck - Why Some Thrive Despite Them All (Hardcover)
In Jim Collin's latest book, Great by Choice, he wants to sell us seven characteristics that allow his seven chosen companies to become great over a decade competing in chaotic markets. In just one example, using data prior to 2002 he dismisses Apple and praises Microsoft as one of his hero companies. Even now, with the evidence clear that Jobs had a better subsequent decade than Ballmer, Collins maintains Apple was successful not because of creativity but because of number focused discipline.
This is interesting in at least a couple of ways. First, it's easy to find reasons after events to explain anything. Some people keep their claims so vague that everyone fits the model; others distort their findings to fit the specific claims of their model. My research may do both but it tries to explain what I have found in a model that is clear but also general. The aim is not to prove my ideas are right but to understand how social groups adapt in effective and less effective ways.
Second, it's easy to fall into the hero trap. It's easy to believe that some leaders or organizations will always succeed, that they are somehow better than the rest. It's easy to be fooled by a particular set of traits that worked for some people for a particular point in time.
The author describes his conclusions as counter intuitive (because Harvard Business Review likes that word) and then tell us pretty much what he told us in the previous book. He tells us what non-creative leaders love to hear. Collins chooses seven characteristics and seven companies. He likes his leaders to be empirical, disciplined and rely on evidence not gut instinct. He likes level-headed, slow changing organizations. He rates tortoises ahead of hares.
Yet nothing is fixed. The kind of characteristic he selects has little to do with ways of learning and everything to do with ways of doing. He has picked a static list of behaviours, when adapting is about dynamic change.