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Good To Great Hardcover – 4 Oct 2001
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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
"...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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This book is very concise and full of interesting case studies. It was one of the few occasions when I wished the book could have been a bit longer.
Well researched, well written, well done!
Here are some of the learnings I will be taking away from this book:
• All Good to great (“GTG”) companies had a Level 5 leader
• Level 5 leaders consistently exhibit humility, modesty and an ability to reign in their ego.
• Many companies are drawn towards outgoing egocentric leaders and this is often the wrong choice.
• Level 5 leaders are more interested in something larger and more lasting than their own career
• GTG leaders concentrate on hiring the right people before deciding on strategy
• Don’t compromise when hiring. If you’re not confident then keep looking
• When someone needs to leave the company act quickly
• Give your best people the best opportunities and not your biggest problems
• GTG management teams have rigorous debates and aren’t afraid to share their views. But when a decision is made they act as one
• GTG companies ensure information flows give management the right facts to manage the business effectively
• GTG companies foster a culture where employee’s views are heard and acted upon
• GTG companies review failures without negative consequences for the people involved
• Figuring out how to motivate people is a waste of time. If you hire the right people they will motivate themselves.
• Good to great companies did one thing exceptionally well and stuck to it (the hedgehog process)
• GTG companies developed their strategy from a deep understanding of what they could be world class at. This was not a goal or intention but an understanding of reality
• GTG companies typically focussed on one KPI e.g. profit per customer
• GTG companies were incredibly disciplined and did not waste time and money on unrelated activities and acquisitions
• GTG companies used technology as an accelerator of, not creator of, momentum
• Careful consideration should be given to whether a given technology fits with your hedgehog concept
• GTG companies often looked like an overnight success from the outside but in reality they were long in the making and a result of persistent action over a long period of time.
• Preserve core values and purpose while strategies and practices endlessly adapt with the changing world
A stunningly enlightening study of winners and losers
As Exec Chairman of a pan-European SME, the easy read of this book has refuelled my determination to (try and) get it right. Unfortunately, bad companies managed by Rambo like individuals remain the norm on this side of the pond... Still very refreshing read about what works and what doesn't...
It was also an easy listen (I had it on CD, listened to much of it 3 hours straight on a long car journey and wished I had a few more miles to go)
However I gave it four stars rather than five because it tended to veer off into excessive use of analogies/metaphors (three circles, hedgehog concepts and the rest) which for me made it harder to get at the detail, and more difficult to judge the strength of the evidence, than an unvarnished description of what they found.
Definitely, definitely read it if you are involved with management; and if you don't have time to read it all, read the first three chapters
The final selection consists of 11 good to great companies (Selected from 1435 Fortune 500 companies) and 17 comparison companies that could not qualify. The primary selection process consisted of baselining the 'good to great' companies at three times the market for fifteen years including 15 years of good performance (1.25 time the general stock market) preceding the transition while the company had to be an established, on going company, not a startup.
Pretty strict criteria that has led to some eye opening findings. Most of the findings can be browsed by reading the reviews on the Amazon .co.uk and .com sites.
A MUST READ BOOK for all aspiring and current leaders.