How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In Hardcover – 4 Jun 2009
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A look at the reasons why a company fails, and how to avoid the fall.
From the Inside Flap
Decline can be avoided.
Decline can be detected.
Decline can be reversed.
Amidst the desolate landscape of fallen great companies, Jim Collins began to wonder: How do the mighty fall? Can decline be detected early and avoided? How far can a company fall before the path toward doom becomes inevitable and unshakable? How can companies reverse course?
In How the Mighty Fall, Collins confronts these questions, offering leaders the well-founded hope that they can learn how to stave off decline and, if they find themselves falling, reverse their course. Collins' research project-more than four years in duration-uncovered five step-wise stages of decline:
Stage 1: Hubris Born of Success
Stage 2: Undisciplined Pursuit of More
Stage 3: Denial of Risk and Peril
Stage 4: Grasping for Salvation
Stage 5: Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death
By understanding these stages of decline, leaders can substantially reduce their chances of falling all the way to the bottom.
Great companies can stumble, badly, and recover.
Every institution, no matter how great, is vulnerable to decline. There is no law of nature that the most powerful will inevitably remain at the top. Anyone can fall and most eventually do. But, as Collins' research emphasizes, some companies do indeed recover-in some cases, coming back even stronger-even after having crashed into the depths of Stage 4.
Decline, it turns out, is largely self-inflicted, and the path to recovery lies largely within our own hands. We are not imprisoned by our circumstances, our history, or even our staggering defeats along the way. As long as we never get entirely knocked out of the game, hope always remains. The mighty can fall, but they can often rise again.
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Top Customer Reviews
These are the five stages to which Collins refers:
1. Hubris born of success: Faith and confidence become pride and arrogance. Leaders become careless and workers become complacent. "We're so great we can do anything!"
2.Read more ›
If I had to choose a book of his to start with it would be Good to Great.
How the Mighty Fall takes a methodology similar to Built to Last and Good to Great and searches for differences among paired companies (Loser--Winner; A&P--Kroger; Addressograph--Pitney Bowes; Ames--Wal-Mart; Bank of America--Wells Fargo; Circuit City--Best Buy; Hewlett Packard--IBM; Merck--Johnson & Johnson; Motorola--Texas Instruments; Rubbermaid--None qualified; Scott Paper--Kimberly-Clark; and Zenith--Motorola) As you can see, it all makes for strange bedfellows (Motorola is on both sides of the divide and Rubbermaid doesn't have a winning comparison partner). As before, the analysis relies on public information from that period (such as annual reports, business journalism articles, and analyst reports).
From these data, Jim Collins discerns the following taxonomy of stages:
1. Hubris (excess pride) due to prior success
2. Undisciplined pursuit of more
3. Denial of risk and peril
4. Grasping for salvation
5. Capitulation to irrelevance or death
Reaching any one of these stages doesn't mean that stage 5 is inevitable in Collins' view.
The result is more like a monograph than a full business book with limited examples and observations. Many readers will find themselves hungering for more.
I was grateful to Mr. Collins for the excellent way that he defined and described his cases. As a result, I was able to look into what he was measuring to see what else might be there.
I had the good fortune to work with most of these companies as a consultant either just before or during the measurement period.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well researched but instantaneous business has its pitfalls and I suspect that many past, presnt , and future failures will not fitJim Collins' prescribed patternPublished on 11 Jan. 2014 by julian phillips
My main intention to buy this book was to follow the order of the books written by Jim Collins. Even the writer mentioned that he was planning to write an article not a book,... Read morePublished on 17 Mar. 2013 by Can Kanat
it was different insight into how company fails and how to avoid these stages of decline and I do recommend to my friends.Published on 12 Feb. 2013 by mr p onos
Jim Collins has focused on the success of companies for his two other seminal books 'Built to Last' and 'Good to Great'. Read morePublished on 25 Oct. 2011 by Christian
Clear, concise well written with underlying research material in Appendices. Generalisations have to be made from underlying data; these are rationally and carefully made and are... Read morePublished on 29 Dec. 2009 by Christopher Burford