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Good To Great Hardcover – 4 Oct 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 151 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Business; 1st edition (4 Oct. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712676090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712676090
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Amazon Review

Five years ago Jim Collins asked the question, "Can a good company become a great company, and if so, how?" In Good to Great Collins, the author of Built to Last concludes that it is possible, but finds that there are no silver bullets to greatness. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11--including Gillette, Walgreens and Wells Fargo--and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. Making the transition from good to great doesn't require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not-so-great, Collins lays a well-reasoned roadmap to excellence that any organisation would do well to consider. Like Built to Last, Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading for years to come. --Harry C Edwards

Review

"...the biggest selling and most influential management book of the new millennium." (Financial Times)

"...seminal..." (The Times)

"...a must-read..." (Management Today)

"Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not-so-great, Collins lays a well-reasoned roadmap to excellence that any organisation would do well to consider. Like Built to Last, Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading for years to come." (Amazon.co.uk Review)

"in this category (management books) there is nothing to touch Jim Collins... It is essential reading." (Sunday Times Business Books of the Year)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I know I'm enjoying a business book when it provokes a reaction in me along the lines of "I've always sort of known that - and now I've got the evidence to prove it." This book did that for me all the way through.
The evidence is Collins' research, conducted over five years and focusing on eleven companies that met his team's criteria for 'Good to Great' ie: they went from average performance to outperforming the market and sustaining it for 15 years.
The research, and the book, shows a model that these eleven companies adhered to (although they were unaware of it at the time) that should, in theory, be possible to replicate in any other organisation to achieve greatness.
That is the appeal: the possibility that following this model, validated by the research, WILL lead to great performance. It's an extremely attractive prospect and one that my organisation has already taken steps to achieve.
Very rarely does a business book spark such an immediate and enthusiastic reaction throughout the team I am part of, but this book did. So far, much of Collins' language has become part of our vocabulary:
"First Who...Then What": the need to 'get the right people on the bus' before deciding strategy.
"Confront the Brutal Facts": get really clear on the current state of the organisation, being authentic with each other and 'telling it like it is'.
"The Flywheel": recognising that constant, small actions will build momentum for the transformation from Good to Great.
It all sounds achievable, the challenge is maintaining another of Collins' key requirements: Disciplined Action. Can we keep it up?
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Format: Hardcover
In 1994, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras wrote one of the most successful management books of the last decade: Built to Last. Collins and Porras had studied 18 visionairy companies, many of which had existed for 60 years or more. These companies had a strong focus on values and people and great ability to to learn and exchange knowledge. They gave less priority to maximalizing shareholder value but paradoxically outperformed the market enormously. In a conversation with Jim Collins, McKinsey director Bill Meehan said he, too, loved the book, but added: "Unfortunately, it's useless". He explained why. The companies featured in Built to Last had always been great companies. But because most companies are just good (not great) they are not interested in a book which shows how to stay great (Built to Last) but in a book that shows how to become great. The matter inspired Collins. He built a research team of 15 people and started a 5 year study.
The team tried to identify companies that had jumped from good to great and had managed to continue their great growth for at least 15 years. They found 11 of these (Abbott, Circuit City, Fannie Mae, Gilette, Kimberly-Clark, Kroger, Nucor, Philip Morris, Pitney Bowes, Walgreens, Wells Fargo). These good-to-great companies (GTG's) outperformed the market by a factor 6.9 in the 15 year period of the analysis! (General Electric outperformed the market 'only' by a factor 2.8 between 1985 and 2000).
The study focused on the question: what did the GTG's have in common that distinguished them from comparable companies in comparable circumstances?
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Format: Hardcover
I was co-erced into reading this at work and as business books go its one of the better ones and I actually fully believe in the principles it sets out as a recipe for success.

The research and analysis has obviously been done well but at times, like a lot of academic work, the interpretation of data is subjective, leading to a few jumps in reasoning.

That said, you can't argue with much of it. Reading and understanding this book is easy, applying the theory to reality is much more difficult. Unless you are at the right level in an organisation with a team of committed colleagues who also subscribe to the same theory you will not reap the rewards but may end up frustrated.

Our organisation (FTSE 100) paid lip service to the principle within half of one business unit - but centres of excellence within an otherwise unfocused organisation can be unbalancing and rarely lift the whole company to excellence.

Some good lessons here for everyone and a great book to read if you're studying for your MBA but to be honest if you at the right level in an organisation to effect this scale of change this book will probably only serve to reinforce what you already know.
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Format: Hardcover
Too many books (and managers) focus on details and techniques, while Jim Collins has instead identified through research the fundamental basics of great companies and why they are different to those who are simply good. Not only does this book appear well researched, but it also fits with the personal experience I have had in successful and less successful companies. A good manager selects and then works with a very capable team to build great results, rather than the often egocentric self-serving behaviour of many managers. The book presents the steps common to all the good companies who become great, it details how those steps were carried out in the different companies, however it does so in a way that is fascinating and not too long winded. I polled friends who have worked at some of these companies and they did indeed agree with the books finding.
This book has an interesting relationship to Jim's previous book "Built to Last" in that it shows how to turn a good company into a great one, while in many respects "Built to Last" is a sequel useful for maintaining that greatness.
Jim explains how the knowledge contained in the book can be applied to other purposes than simply building great companies, why not apply this guidance to your local sports team or other personal interests?
I thoroughly recommend this book and would certainly hope that it is read by all managers who are senior to me!
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