Monday, August 16, 2010

Good to Great Introduction

I recently finished reading Good to Great by Jim Collins. It was one of those "recommended" books in grad school that I never got around to reading until now. Actually, it was one of those that I started, got about 30 pages into, and put away. Anyways, I finally got around to reading it. Here are my favorite quotes from the introduction.

What did the good-to-great companies share in common that distinguished them from the comparison companies? (7)

Larger-than-life, celebrity leaders who ride in from outside are negatively correlated with taking a company from good to great.

…there is no evidence that the good-to-great companies spent more time on long-range strategic planning than the comparison companies. (10)

…[the good-to-great companies] focused equally on what not to do and what to stop doing.

…technology cannot cause a transformation.

…two big mediocrities joined together never make one great company.

Under the right conditions, the problems of commitment, alignment, motivation, and change largely melt away.

…[the good-to-great companies] produced a truly revolutionary leap in results, but not by a revolutionary process.

Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice. (11)

Level 5 Leadership – Self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy – these leaders are a paradoxical blend of humility and professional will. (12-13)

First Who…Then What – People are not your most important asset. The right people are.

Confront the Brutal Facts (Yet Never Lose Faith) – the Stockdale Paradox: You must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND at the same time have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

A Culture of Discipline – When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great performance. (12)

Yes, the world is changing, and will continue to do so. But that does not mean we should stop the search for timeless principles.

It is ultimately about thing: the timeless principles of good to great. It’s about how you take a good organization and turn it into one that produces sustained great results, using whatever definition of results best applies to your organization. (15)
That good is the enemy of great is not just a business problem. It is a human problem.

If we have cracked the code of the question of good to great, we should have something of value to any type of organization.

The best students are those who never quite believe their professors.

One ought not to reject the data merely because one does not like what the data implies. (16)

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