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Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don't by Jim Collins

Good to Great

Amazon Link: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't

Amazon. com 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 there are no silver bullets.

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 Fannie Mae, 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, the book offers a well-reasoned road map to excellence that any organization 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

From Publishers Weekly

In what Collins terms a prequel to the bestseller Built to Last he wrote with Jerry Porras, this worthwhile effort explores the way good organizations can be turned into ones that produce great, sustained results.

To find the keys to greatness, Collins's 21-person research team (at his management research firm) read and coded 6,000 articles, generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts and created 384 megabytes of computer data in a five-year project.

That Collins is able to distill the findings into a cogent, well-argued and instructive guide is a testament to his writing skills.

After establishing a definition of a good-to-great transition that involves a 10-year fallow period followed by 15 years of increased profits, Collins's crew combed through every company that has made the Fortune 500 (approximately 1,400) and found 11 that met their criteria, including Walgreens, Kimberly Clark and Circuit City.

At the heart of the findings about these companies' stellar successes is what Collins calls the Hedgehog Concept, a product or service that leads a company to outshine all worldwide competitors, that drives a company's economic engine and that a company is passionate about.

While the companies that achieved greatness were all in different industries, each engaged in versions of Collins's strategies.

While some of the overall findings are counterintuitive (e. g., the most effective leaders are humble and strong-willed rather than outgoing), many of Collins's perspectives on running a business are amazingly simple and commonsense.

This is not to suggest, however, that executives at all levels wouldn't benefit from reading this book; after all, only 11 companies managed to figure out how to change their B grade to an A on their own.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Good to Great Contents

  • Contents
  • Acknowledgements
    • Members of the Good-to-Great Research Team
  • Preface
  • Good is the Enemy of Great
    • Undaunted Curiosity
      • Phase 1: The Search
      • Phase 2: Compared to What?
      • Phase 3: Inside the Black Box
      • Phase 4: Chaos to Concept
    • The Timeless "Physics" of Good to Great
  • Level 5 Leadership
    • Not What We Expected
    • Humility + Will = Level 5
    • Ambition for the Company: Setting Up Successors for Success
    • A Compelling Modesty
    • Unwavering Resolve … to Do What Must Be Done
    • The Window and the Mirror
    • Cultivating Level 5 Leadership
    • Chapter Summary
      • Key Points
      • Unexpected Findings
  • First Who … Then What
    • Not a "Genius With a Thousand Helpers"
    • It's Who You Pay, Not How You Pay Them
    • Rigorous, Not Ruthless
      • How to Be Rigorous
        • 1: When in doubt, don't hire-keep looking
        • 2: When you know you need to make a people change, act
        • 3: Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems
    • First Who, Great Companies, and a Great Life
    • Chapter Summary
      • Key Points
      • Unexpected Findings
  • Confront The Brutal Facts (Yet Never Lose Faith)
    • Facts Are Better Than Dreams
    • A Climate Where the Truth Is Heard
      • 1. Lead with questions, not answers
      • 2. Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion
      • 3. Conduct autopsies, without blame
      • 4. Build "red flag" mechanisms
    • Unwavering Faith Amid the Brutal Facts
    • The Stockdale Paradox
    • Chapter Summary
      • Key Points
      • Unexpected Findings
  • The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity within the Three Circles)
    • The Three Circles
    • Understanding What You Can (and Cannot) Be the Best At
      • The Good-to-Great Companies and the "Best in the World at" Circle of the Hedgehog Concept
    • Insight Into Your Economic Engine What Is Your Denominator?
      • Economic Denominator
    • Understanding Your Passion
    • The Triumph of Understanding Over Bravado
      • Characteristics of the Council
    • Chapter Summary
      • Key Points
      • Unexpected Findings
  • A Culture of Discipline
    • Freedom (and Responsibility) Within a Framework
    • A Culture, Not a Tyrant
    • Fanatical Adherence to the Hedgehog Concept
    • Start a "Stop Doing" List
    • Chapter Summary
      • Key Points
      • Unexpected Findings
  • Technology Accelerators
    • Technology and the Hedgehog Concept
    • Technology as an Accelerator, Not a Creator, of Momentum
    • The Technology Trap
    • Technology and the Fear of Being Left Behind
    • Chapter Summary
      • Key Points
      • Unexpected Findings
  • The Flywheel and the Doom Loop
    • Buildup and Breakthrough
    • Not Just a Luxury of Circumstance
    • The "Flywheel Effect"
    • The Doom Loop
      • The Misguided Use of Acquisitions
      • Leaders Who Stop the Flywheel
    • The Flywheel as a Wraparound Idea
      • How to Tell if You're on the Flywheel or in the Doom Loop
      • Chapter Summary
        • Key Points
        • Unexpected Results
  • From Good to Great to Built to Last
    • Good to Great in the Early Stages of Built to Last
    • Core Ideology: the Extra Dimension of Enduring Greatness
    • Good Bhags, Bad Bhags, and Other Conceptual Links
    • From Good to Great To Built to Last: Conceptual Links
    • Why Greatness?
  • Epilogue—Frequently Asked Questions
  • Author's Note

Also see Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies contents outline


Amazon Link: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't

Amazon Link: Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Harper Business Essentials)


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker

The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context




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