Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Culture of Discipline

I recently finished reading Good to Great by Jim Collins. Here are my favorite quotes from Chapter 6 - A Culture of Discipline.

Few successful start-ups become great companies, in large part because they respond to growth and success in the wrong way.

The professional managers finally rein in the mess.

The cancer of mediocrity begins to grow in earnest.

…entrepreneurial death spiral.

Avoid bureaucracy and hierarchy and instead create a culture of discipline. (121)

We used financial discipline as a way to provide resources for the really creative work.

Abbot recruited entrepreneurial leaders and gave them freedom to determine the best path to achieving their objectives. On the other hand, individuals had to commit fully to the Abbott system and were held rigorously accountable for their objectives. (123)

Build a culture full of people who take disciplined action within the three circles, fanatically consistent with the Hedgehog Concept.(124)

…freedom and responsibility within the framework of a highly developed system.

…[hire] self-disciplined people who didn’t need to be managed, and then [manage] the system, not the people. (125)

…it all starts with disciplined people.

…the point is to first get self-disciplined people who engage is very rigorous thinking, who then take disciplined action within the framework of a consistent system designed around the Hedgehog Concept. (126)
Much of the answer to the question of “good to great” lies in the discipline to do whatever it takes to become the best within carefully selected arenas and then to seek continual improvement from there. It’s really just that simple. And it’s really just that difficult. (128)

It is absolutely clear that the unsustained comparison CEOs brought tremendous discipline to their companies, and that is why they got such great initial results. (129)

Build an enduring culture of discipline, rather than discipline the organization by sheer force. (my paraphrase of 130)

…discipline is essential for great results, but disciplined action without disciplined understanding of the three circles cannot produce sustained great results. (133)

Disciplined diversification – the key point is that every step of diversification and innovation stayed within the three circles. (134)

The more an organization has the discipline to stay within its three circles, the more it will have attractive opportunities for growth.

It takes discipline to say “No, thank you” to big opportunities. The fact that something is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” is irrelevant if it doesn’t fit within the three circles. (136)

When Nucor faced difficult times, everyone from top to bottom suffered. But people at the top suffered more. In the 1982 recession for example, worker pay went down 25 percent, office pay went down 60 percent, and the CEO’s pay went down 75 percent. (137)

…to create great results requires a nearly fanatical dedication to the idea of consistency within the Hedgehog Concept. (139)

Purpose of a budget – budgeting is a discipline to decide which arenas should be fully funded and which should which should no be funded at all. In other words, the budget process is not about figuring out how much each activity gets, but about determining which activities best support the Hedgehog Concept and should be fully strengthened and which should be eliminated entirely. (140)

…they displayed remarkable courage to channel their resources into only one or a few arenas. (140-141)

“highly undiversified” mean investing fully in those things that fit squarely within the three circles and getting rid of everything else.

The real question is, once you know the right thing, do you have the discipline to do the right thing and, equally important, to stop doing the wrong things? (141)

Stop doing” lists are more important than “to do” lists. (143)

No comments: