Monday, October 5, 2009

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't

by Jim Collins

I decided to read the main book after I admired the ideas in Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great.  I don’t need to go into the points I adumbrated with that addendum to this book, but I found a few new concepts that hit home.

One, in discussing Level 5 leadership, Collins emphasizes a humble figure: one that needs the brutal truth, doesn’t rely on charisma, looks toward the future of the company and not his own, attributes success to good luck, and so on.  This is a concept that a lot of money-conscious type-A executives might not enjoy hearing.  Two, high compensation doesn’t correlate with good performance.  High compensation can attract and keep the right people, but it can’t motivate the wrong people.  Three, the great companies don’t jump feet first into changes of direction.  Poor companies are always jumping from one quick fix to another; the best companies take it slowly and crawl before they run.  And they never jump on any bandwagon that doesn’t fit their Key Concept.  Four, great leaders don’t waste time trying to ‘rally the troops” or even manage performance.  That’s because they get the right people, the motivated people, first, and stand back to let them work.  The book is filled with such hard sensible dicta, backed by real evidence, that put a harsh spotlight on places that I’ve worked that most definitely were not great.  It’s a very useful, well-written, convincing and important book. 

four stars