For those new to this classic, here's an overview of one of THE best books on building a great company. And, for those who’ve read it, consider this a brief reminder of the insights from this in depth research.
Released in 2001, Good to Great studied what made 10 “great” companies great, compared to comparable companies Jim called "good". Greatness was defined by a minimum 20 years of growth and sustained financial success that far outpaced the market or industry average.
The book debunked a number of myths and identified 8 key factors to greatness:
1. Good is the enemy of great - the comfort of good enough gets in the way of putting in the effort to build a great company.
2. Level 5 leadership - in addition to ambition and determination, a level 5 leader is humble enough to exert their drive for the benefit of what they are creating, not for their own ego.
3. First who, then what - get the right people on the bus - on your team - before setting your strategy.
4. Confront the brutal facts (yet never lose faith) - believe you can prevail AND be realistic about what's happening and what's needed to get there.
5. Your hedgehog concept - compete successfully by playing only in the intersection of your three circles: what your passionate about, what you can be the best at and what drives your profit engine.
6. Culture of discipline - look hard at what to NOT be doing, including anything that strays from your hedgehog concept.
7. Technology accelerators - use technology not as a strategy in itself, but to enable and strengthen your competitive advantage.
8. The Flywheel - apply these concepts rigorously through small, consistent, aligned actions that reinforce each other and build momentum over time.
We are forever grateful to Jim Collins for these fantastic research-based insights, which still hold to this day, and which the leadership teams we work with benefit from greatly.
Book: 320 pages. Audio book: 6 hours. GetAbstract summary: 5 pages or 10m audio.
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