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Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't summary Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't, series Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't, book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't, pdf Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't 1b7245fd8f To Find The Keys To Greatness, Collins SPerson Research Team Read And Coded , Articles, Generated Than , Pages Of Interview Transcripts And CreatedMegabytes Of Computer Data In A Five Year Project The Findings Will Surprise Many Readers And, Quite Frankly, Upset OthersThe ChallengeBuilt To Last, The Defining Management Study Of The Nineties, Showed How Great Companies Triumph Over Time And How Long Term Sustained Performance Can Be Engineered Into The DNA Of An Enterprise From The Very Beginning But What About The Company That Is Not Born With Great DNA How Can Good Companies, Mediocre Companies, Even Bad Companies Achieve Enduring Greatness The StudyFor Years, This Question Preyed On The Mind Of Jim Collins Are There Companies That Defy Gravity And Convert Long Term Mediocrity Or Worse Into Long Term Superiority And If So, What Are The Universal Distinguishing Characteristics That Cause A Company To Go From Good To Great The StandardsUsing Tough Benchmarks, Collins And His Research Team Identified A Set Of Elite Companies That Made The Leap To Great Results And Sustained Those Results For At Least Fifteen Years How Great After The Leap, The Good To Great Companies Generated Cumulative Stock Returns That Beat The General Stock Market By An Average Of Seven Times In Fifteen Years, Better Than Twice The Results Delivered By A Composite Index Of The World S Greatest Companies, Including Coca Cola, Intel, General Electric, And Merck The ComparisonsThe Research Team Contrasted The Good To Great Companies With A Carefully Selected Set Of Comparison Companies That Failed To Make The Leap From Good To Great What Was Different Why Did One Set Of Companies Become Truly Great Performers While The Other Set Remained Only Good The FindingsThe Findings Of The Good To Great Study Will Surprise Many Readers And Shed Light On Virtually Every Area Of Management Strategy And Practice The Findings Include LevelLeaders The Research Team Was Shocked To Discover The Type Of Leadership Required To Achieve GreatnessThe Hedgehog Concept Simplicity Within The Three Circles To Go From Good To Great Requires Transcending The Curse Of CompetenceA Culture Of Discipline When You Combine A Culture Of Discipline With An Ethic Of Entrepreneurship, You Get The Magical Alchemy Of Great Results Technology Accelerators Good To Great Companies Think Differently About The Role Of TechnologyThe Flywheel And The Doom Loop Those Who Launch Radical Change Programs And Wrenching Restructurings Will Almost Certainly Fail To Make The Leap

10 thoughts on “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't

  1. says:

    First and foremost, Good to Great has no breakthrough concepts to offer Collins is good at inventive metaphors and catch phrases to push concepts through but ultimately there is really nothing counter intuitive or revolutionary about the results of this study.That said, the concepts in the book might still be valuable for managers, CEOs and other professionals Here is a brief summary of the book and a short tour on how to take your company from Good to Great Think of this as a time line to be followed First step is To have A Level 5 Leader A self effacing leader A humble leader with a strong drive and indefatigable will for perfection Someone who puts the company over personal success and never clamors for the limelight.Second Step is To First decide the Who question and then the What Question So have a Level 5 Leader Who then picks a great management team Collins uses the metaphor of finding the right people for the bus and the right seats for them before deciding where the bus is going to be heading towards.Third Step is To understand all the basic facts about the situation and the company So we have the ideal top management in place Who in turn now brainstorms to figure out a goal direction for the company after taking into account all the data available, whether good or bad.Fourth Step is To implement the Hedgehog Concept So they confront all the realities and decide on a direction Which is based on the ability of the company, the passion of the people in it and money making ability of the goal This is called using The Hedgehog Concept and the Three Circles Concept You have to choose the very intersection of these three circles as your driving direction You might have a lot of interests passions, your company might have a lot of money making options and you might have a lot of competencies BUT, the point of intersection of all three should be your ONLY core focus It is called Hedgehog Concept by contrasting hedgehogs to foxes foxes are wily and know a lot of things, hedgehogs are wise and one thing well It is the equivalent to the old proverb of jack of all trades and master of none THE HEDGEHOG CONCEPT image error

  2. says:

    This book by Jim Collins is one of the most successful books to be found in the Business section of your local megabookstore, and given how it purports to tell you how to take a merely good company and make it great, it s not difficult to see why that might be so Collins and his crack team of researchers say they swam through stacks of business literature in search of info on how to pull this feat off, and came up with a list of great companies that illustrate some concepts central to the puzzle They also present for each great company what they call a comparison company, which is kind of that company with a goatee and a much less impressive earnings record The balance of the book is spent expanding on pithy catch phrases that describe the great companies, like First Who, Then What or Be a Hedgehog or Grasp the Flywheel, not the Doom Loop No, no, I m totally serious.I ve got several problems with this book, the biggest of which stem from fundamentally viewpoints on how to do research Collin s brand of research is not my kind It s not systematic, it s not replicable, it s not generalizable, it s not systematic, it s not free of bias, it s not model driven, and it s not collaborative It s not, in short, scientific in any way That s not to say that other methods of inquiry are without merit the Harvard Business Review makes pretty darn good use of case studies, for example but way too often Collins s great truths seemed like square pegs crammed into round holes, because a round hole is what he wants For example, there s no reported search for information that disconfirms his hypotheses Are there other companies that don t make use of a Culture of Discipline Chapter 6, natch but yet are still great according to Collins s definition Are there great companies that fail to do some of the things he says should make them great The way that the book focuses strictly on pairs of great comparison companies smacks of confirmatory information bias, which is a kink in the human mind that drives us to seek out and pay attention to information that confirms our pre existing suppositions and ignore information that fails to support them.Relatedly, a lot of the book s themes and platitudes strike me as owing their popularity to the same factors that make the horoscope or certain personality tests like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator so popular they re so general and loosely defined that almost anyone can look at that and not only say that wow, that make sense, and I ve always felt the same way This guy and me We re geniuses The chapter about getting the right people on the bus that extols the virtue of hiring really super people is perhaps the most obvious example Really, did anyone read this part and think Oh, man I ve been hiring half retarded chimps THAT S my problem I should hire GOOD people Probably not, and given that Collins doesn t go into any detail about HOW to do this or any of his other good to great pro tips, I m not really sure where the value is supposed to be.It also irked me that Good to Great seems to try and exist in a vacuum, failing to relate its findings to any other body of research except Collins s other book, Built to Last The most egregious example of this is early on in Chapter 2 where Collins talks about his concept of Level 5 Leadership, which characterizes those very special folks who perch atop a supposed leadership hierarchy The author actually goes into some detail describing Level 5 leaders, but toward the end of the chapter he just shrugs his figurative shoulders and says But we don t know how people get to be better leaders Some people just are Wait, what People in fields like Industrial Organizational Psychology and Organizational Development have been studying, scientifically, what great leaders do and how to do it for decades We know TONS about how to become a better leader There are entire industries built around it You would think that somebody on the Good to Great research team may have done a cursory Google search on this.So while Good to Great does have some interesting thoughts and a handful of amusing or even fascinating stories to tell about the companies it profiles I liked, for example, learning about why Walgreens opens so many shops in the same area, even to the point of having stores across the street from each other in some cities , ultimately it strikes me as vague generalities and little to no practical information about how to actually DO anything to make your company great.

  3. says:

    Here are Jim Collins seven characteristics of companies that went from good to great 1 Level 5 Leadership Leaders who are humble, but driven to do what s best for the company.2 First Who, Then What Get the right people on the bus, then figure out where to go Finding the right people and trying them out in different positions.3 Confront the Brutal Facts The Stockdale paradox Confront the brutal truth of the situation, yet at the same time, never give up hope.4 Hedgehog Concept Three overlapping circles What makes you money What could you be best in the world at and What lights your fire 5 Culture of Discipline Rinsing the cottage cheese.6 Technology Accelerators Using technology to accelerate growth, within the three circles of the hedgehog concept.7 The Flywheel The additive effect of many small initiatives they act on each other like compound interest.I really enjoyed this book and think any business owner or entrepreneur would find the book interesting and benefit from focusing on the seven characteristics above but I should also point out what I consider to be a few of the flaws with the book 1 Collins spends a lot of time explaining some pretty common sense stuff Don t let your ego get in the way of good decisions, don t have the wrong people in the wrong positions in your company, be realistic, etc2 Collins implies a causal relationship when there isn t enough data to determine such a thing, saying that they found x followed by y in all the great companies And maybe x led to y, but maybe it didn t We don t know Without comparing other companies that either had x but didn t produce y, or produced y but didn t have x, we simply don t know if Collins examples demonstrate lessons that can be repeated for the same success by anybody It seems to me that there is a strong hindsight bias and a lot of uncertainty as to whether or not all good companies would become great by simply following Collins advice.3 As psychologists have pointed out in books such as The Invisible Gorilla and Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow even aiming at Good to Great specifically many business books tend to mistake a personal success story or numerous personal stories as a causal relationship that can be reproduced by anybody when in reality the likely explanation was that they benefited from a lot of luck and there isn t a simple process of do x and you will receive y.4 11 years after the book was published, the success rates of the great companies isn t so great Were those companies not so great after all What happened What changed At least half of the 11 great companies he identified are no longer doing so great Circuit City is bankrupt, Fannie Mae went bankrupt nationalized, Wells Fargo needed a bailout, Nucor s stock and revenue crashed, Pitney Bowes went down significantly, and Gillette is no longer independent It seems strange that greatness was so easily lost 5 Also, a difficulty with his methodology is that he measured a company s greatness by its sustained stock market value being a certain percentage 150% above the general market So how does a private company measure greatness with this sort of standard

  4. says:

    Good to Great Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don t, James C CollinsGood to Great Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don t is a management book by Jim C Collins that describes how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how most companies fail to make the transition The book was published on October 16, 2001 Greatness is defined as financial performance several multiples better than the market average over a sustained period Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years How great After the leap, the good to great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world s greatest companies, including Coca Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck Collins finds the main reason certain companies become great is they narrowly focus the company s resources on their field of key competence 2006 1383 301 9648148031 1384 1386 1387 1388 9789648148039 1386 1389 1392 21 1395 336 9786007133750 1395 350 9786006959781 1395 270 9786006958927 1394 202 .

  5. says:

    Why Indie Authors Should Read Business BooksI am finally pursuing my lifelong passion of becoming an author, and writing is a business, so I needed to invest in myself I figured the bible of the business world would have some interesting things to say After all, a business of one is still a business and who wouldn t enjoy the leap from mediocrity to longevity The book made it clear that building a great business isn t just about a great leader who exits the company, only to have it fall apart What makes a great business, and leader of the business, is someone who is able to build something that will last long after their lifetime That should resonate with authors I don t know any authors that want their books to disappear without their presence We have the benefit of creating products that at the very least will never go out of style Innovations may change the way we read but they will never eliminate books altogether What we write will last and it s our responsibility to build something from it so people actually give a damn about our work long after we are gone The lessons in this book teach a person how to develop a strategy, how to build a team, the importance of being disciplined, and the importance of managing expectations.The Hedgehog Concept is something creatives should be able to maneuver to their advantage It s all about finding what you can be best at, passionate about, and quantifying how to measure your success For an author maybe that s finding a niche and having the discipline to stick with it rather than chasing the latest genre fad For building a team, again think about how many people it takes to make a book You don t just write a draft and publish it on KDP If you do, and are successful than I am jealous but most of us can t write perfection the first go around You need beta readers to give you general feedback on what s working and what s not you need an editor or two to make sure it s readable you need a top notch book cover some authors can make their own, some need to add a graphic designer to their team and finally you need to build your audience, because they re the most important part of the team Though there are a lot of lessons in this book the final thing I m gonna touch on is the Stockdale Paradox It s all about managing expectations You can truly believe you are going to find success, while also managing that expectation Stockdale was a POW in Vietnam who knew he would return home but kept his sanity because he knew it would be a while, while other soldiers in the camp were overly optimistic, thought they would get home by Christmas, only to be heartbroken when their expectations failed Pursuing a creative endeavor is still a business, and today it s never been easier for someone to enter that business It s my educated guess that it s in order for creatives to educate themselves on traditional business practices if they hope to sustain long term growth and success in their field.

  6. says:

    People often ask, what motivates you to undertake these huge research projects It s a good question The answer is curiosity There is nothing I find exciting than picking a question that I don t know the answer to and embarking on a quest for answers It s deeply satisfying to climb into the boat, like Lewis and Clark, and head west,saying, We don t know what we will find when we get there, but we ll be sure to let you know when we get back Though this book is exclusively for the management students and for the corporate guys, I still feel, this book is really very well researched and can be read by them also, who have least interests in companies and businesses.This book is a result of hard toil of a large research team of Jim Collins after Built to Last.If you read it, you will find the reason why millions of copies have been sold of this Wall Street Journal s CEO council declared it the best management book they have read.This is all about why some companies leap from good to great and others don t Book talks about a kind of Level 5 leadership , leaders of paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will.they are fanatically driven, infected with an incurable need to produce sustainable results.they display a workman like diligence, plow horse than show horse.they look out of window to attribute success to factors other than themselves It s important first getting right people on the bus and wrong people off the bus and then figure out where to drive it..then there is Stockdale Paradox in this book, which is equally applicable in any field of life Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties..And at the same time Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be The research done for this book may have taken huge amount of resources and time and people energy, but the key elements of greatness are deceptively simple and straightforward.If you are thinking after reading the title of this book..Why greatness Then the book says, it s almost a nonsense question If you are engaged in a work that you love and care about, for whatever reason, then the question needs no answer The question is not why, but how

  7. says:

    Okay, let s get this out of the way first this book is DATED It studies eleven companies that beat the stock market over a period of fifteen years, irrespective of industry other comparison companies in the same industries did not produce the same results Unfortunately, these eleven companies include Fannie Mae, Circuit City, Wells Fargo, and Philip Morris The findings are ultimately interesting and I think the writers would argue that the recent performance of the companies don t affect the findings validity, but boy is it a trip to read about Wells Fargo as a paragon of excellence in the year 2019.James Collins wrote this with a large group of researchers, and the methodology and results are explained in detail in the extensive appendices at the end of the book They distill their findings into seven key themes around what helps a company go from mediocre to truly great, which they define as beating the stock market by a certain margin over a long period of time I realize that I am reading a business book and by default there needs to be a core metric by which we recognize businesses as good or great, but I had some trouble with the complete disregard for social impact that powers this book Collins says that looking at employee or social welfare would have introduced biases into the study, but I would also say that there is an inherent bias in defining a business s greatness solely by its stock returns and shareholder value which is why you end up with Philip Morris in your group of great companies Your definition for success is not the same as mine It s also interesting that the research group tends to handwave around employee motivation, morale, and fulfillment for all of the great companies as a natural outcome of business success, but does not offer any metrics or background on this in the text of the book.All that aside, I found some of the takeaways truly interesting Charisma is detrimental to leadership The good to great companies all had Level 5 leaders, which the research group defines as a leader who is incredibly driven but extremely humble The Level 5 leaders aren t charismatic or larger than life figures they center their companies on one purpose and build strong systems that move the entire company in one direction The true tell of this type of leader is if the company survives and flourishes after they leave are you worried about your CEO, or about the reality of your situation Charismatic outside leaders produced consistently worse results and the companies stagnated after their departure It s also worth noting that executive compensation had absolutely no measurable effect on a company s success Managing morale and motivation is largely a waste of time If employees instinctively understand the vision of the company and how they contribute to its success, there is no reason to motivate or spend time managing change I don t think this is ever 100% true and it is precluded by the necessity to have the right people in the right roles , but I found this perspective interesting and the examples rang true to me Stay focused on your central concept The book refers to this as the Hedgehog Concept, a term that I refuse to use It combines the Venn diagram of these three things 1 what are you truly passionate about 2 what drives your economic engine and 3 what can you be best in the world at If you aren t driving towards an intersection of all three, you will not be able to achieve sustained results This requires a culture of discipline throughout all levels of the company Understand the brutal reality The successful companies understood the brutal facts of reality when making business decisions and candidly discussed and planned for that reality That sometimes requires an entire business shift to align yourself with your central concept When you see user or customer research that upends your assumptions, do not ignore it This also reinforces the need for long term investment The writers point was that you cannot be an optimist this will all work out , but you must confront reality and simultaneously strongly believe that you will succeed, despite the odds You also must create an environment where the truth is heard, which requires the leaders to ask questions, hold themselves to high standards, and build red flag mechanisms to get advance notice of issues.Anyway, I found the book both interesting and frustrating to read The research team commits the cardinal sin of all business books, which is comparing every single concept to a famous thinker Einstein did not model simplistic thinking has this man ever read a proof of E mc2 get back to me after you have done it and Abraham Lincoln is not comparable to a CEO I wish that these types of comparisons could be completely excised from our discourse I rolled my eyes through much of this nonsense and it really detracted from my engagement with the book.I also found it frustrating that diversity of thought and teams never comes up in this book Every single CEO mentioned is a man, and most of the named executives at these companies are men You can read into the concept of getting the right people on the bus as assembling the correct team, but then the book goes on to say that employee incentives and compensation matter much less than you think they do That depends on who you are hiring and what their personal priorities are, and that will always differ for individuals I did like that part of the leadership discussion hinges on whether internal or external leadership is better for a company most of the Level 5 leaders in the book are internal choices, which intuitively makes sense because they are able to fully grasp the core concept and values of the company.Finally, it is hilarious to read sentences like .com, the reigning champion of e commerce and today, we primarily use portables from companies like Dell and Sony 2001 was a wild time 2019 is a wild time In the last 18 years, these good to great companies have imploded in on themselves Hopefully, the lessons from this book endure longer than Fannie Mae s reputation.

  8. says:

    I hope I don t get fired for not thinking this was the greatest book ever Honestly, business books are not exactly my cup of tea This book started off really interesting The author talks about habits that great companies use to keep their companies run smoothly Many of the suggestions the author gives seem very logical don t have negative people work for your company, don t try to put your hand in every pot, don t stop doing things that work well and do stop doing things that aren t working, etc.I had two major concerns with this book First was simply the manner in which it was written The author spent hundreds of pages explaining what could have been explained much succinctly It s similar to my thesis My completed thesis was 60 pages, but the article I wrote to be published in a journal which consists of the same material, or less was only about 15 pages I would be interested in this book if it was written in journal form, allowing me to cut out the redundancy To the author s credit, however, I appreciated that he did give examples, as often I was very confused by his explanation of the concept, and wouldn t have understood without his providing an example they found in one of the companies.My second major concern was the methodology The author utilizes no scientific method for gathering data, but instead utilizes a panning for gold approach throw everything into the pot and see what comes out That, combined with overwhelming hindsight bias, makes me extremely suspicious of any and every conclusion drawn in the book While reading this book, I was reminded of one of my undergraduate teachers explaining the advantage that Freud had as an early psychologist because of his theories, he could not be proven wrong How do you prove that someone isn t in denial How do you prove that someone isn t obsessed with his mother Likewise, how do you prove that these theories proposed by Jim Collins actually work Indeed, Collins later predicts, at the end of his book, that any company that STOPS abiding by the principles he outlines will fail With his interesting methodology, I doubt that his principles would have a causal link to either success or failure I expect that many companies fail, and that many companies are very successful, without regard to his theories In addition, a problem with his methodology is that he measured greatness by a company s sustained stock market value being a certain percentage 150% above the general market what about private companies How can a private company measure greatness if that is the standard So, overall, I enjoyed this book at the beginning and became bored with it by the end I think there are some good principles that can be pulled out of it, but I fear that some companies will take this book too much to heart and let other important factors slip.Rob, please don t fire me.

  9. says:

    I ve been reading quite a few books about leadership lately I can t really say that I ve been terribly impressed with them They read too much like that terribly American genre of books the self help book Invariably, they seem to have appeared fully formed out of the research of the people behind the book itself This is particularly amusing here, since people have been concerned with the nature of leadership pretty much forever The other thing that I find a little odd about these books is that leadership is rarely defined in them I guess we are supposed to take the attitude that it might well be hard to say what leadership is, but we all know it when we see it so, leadership is a bit like pornography in that sense Given that this form of research sees itself as so revolutionary in just about all senses, it ought to say things, you would expect, that would be than just a series of platitudes I didn t really come away thinking that sense, however Parts of this were okay but I really didn t come away, as the author clearly thought I ought to have, thinking that they had gone off into the great unknown and returned or less unharmed to tell the story If I hadn t been reading this book for a reason, I would have stopped when the author compared himself to Lewis and Clark and he did so without a hint of irony This book is concerned with finding the attributes that companies have that start out average only to then move on to being exceptional They have defined exceptional companies as those that perform at three times the market for 15 years this is quite a good definition of exceptional, I guess But, some of the companies have not done quite so well since this was written not sure how many people would write a book today about the glories of Freddie Mac today, just saying the GFC clearly wasn t all that kind to some companies and whether or not leadership was the only factor at play here is an interesting question in itself, although, given the success of these firms is tied to leadership in this book, presumably failure is also to be considered a leadership issue still, this is all beyond the psycho babble of this kind of book Oh, I m jumping ahead too quickly but that, in a nutshell, is probably one of my main concerns with books like this organisations are essentially collections of people engaged in complex interactions, and so psychology that is, a science focused on the individual is quite likely to miss the point The limits of psychology in coming to terms with human interactions beyond the individual is, again, an interesting question and one that is not addressed here at all And this is hardly surprising, since a book that focuses our attention on how leadership accounts for a businesses success is hardly going to move too far beyond psychology.The book finds that these companies all shared seven characteristics The first of these was perhaps the one I found most interesting that is, that their leaders all tended to be anti Trump type people That is, they were all people who were much interested in the success of the company, rather than in their own personal success and aggrandisement they tended to be humble, they tended to be focused on their love of whatever it was they were doing, rather than on having people tell them how fantastic they are As such, these people often remained unsung despite the exceptional achievements they made This often meant that they had a singleness of purpose that might not be as apparent in people who want success for its own sake They also remained unsung for their success since they generally did not attribute their success to their own actions as much as other leaders again, think Trump might They understood the luck and contingency involved in success and this fed into their own humility Having a personal preference for humble people myself the Japanese PM s wife who sat beside Trump for 2 hours and did not let him know she spoke English is currently one of my heroes it is nice that some management types think that such a personality trait is worthwhile Like I said, this was a finding I was somewhat surprised to find in a book like this.Perhaps the major benefit of such self effacing people is that they understand that they are unlikely to be successful purely on their own Therefore they are much like to also see that it is essential that they surround themselves with people who are going to be good at what they do and that are, potentially, a bit like them in their dedication to the task at hand In this book this idea is summed up by the idea of these leaders making sure they have the right people in the right place There is lots of talk about buses thought out this book basically, these books seem to be mostly about milking a particular metaphor or series of metaphors to death getting people onto the bus, off the bus and in the right place on the bus being but one of those metaphors worked to death in this book The author repeatedly says that getting the right people is important than necessarily getting people who know what it is they are doing the right people basically being able to learn whatever it is that is necessary for them to do and anyway, since all leadership is essentially change management, getting people who are able to learn and change is the key Here is the notion that leadership is a particular set of skills that can be applied anywhere and is always just as effective This exaggerated version of the story isn t entirely the case, even for this author, but the differences that make a difference are never so much around the types of work expected, but rather the values of the company and in getting employees who will live up to those Finding people who share the company s values is central to getting the right people.We need to talk about hindsight bias When a company is successful it is pretty likely that it is successful because all the bits of the company work well together If some bits of the company are actively working to undermine other bits of the company it would seem pretty likely that the company as a whole isn t going to be successful So, saying that very successful companies are made up of parts that work well together and that the people leading those parts are team players all seems a bit obvious to me Perhaps saying they are the right people in the right jobs is saying something important but it isn t at all clear to me how you would know beforehand Given that everyone is an expert in hindsight, it wasn t all that clear to me how you might go about picking the right people and it also seemed pretty obvious that when things stuffed up, inevitably, you could argue that it was because you had inadvertently chosen the wrong people The other problem I have with this idea is one I also had with Taylorism and scientific management, which also has a long section on getting the right people that is, that too often leaders simply don t have the luxury of being able to make those choices and of backing out of choices once it becomes clear the wrong one has been made To me, a great leader would be one who can succeed with what they have, rather than having to create the perfect environment first But I m not exactly a great world leader, so, what would I know This problem of hindsight comes up again in the next attribute great leaders face the brutal facts of the situation they find themselves in and are unflinching in how they stare into this particular abyss It isn t clear to me how you might navigate a changing environment something all of these great leaders here invariably did without doing something that could be called coming to terms with the brutal facts of your situation Look, I do understand that perhaps my shares in Hansom Cabs are never going to reach the dizzying heights they achieved in the 1870s, but I m not sure just what brutally facing reality means other than it being something you will inevitably say you have done when any changes you make pay off.I have another problem with this and that relates to the basic positivist underlying assumptions of such theories That is, the idea that there is essentially one truth and even though it likes to hide , if you pursue it with objectivity and determination you will certainly find it I feel the world is much messy than that and that while you can say that if you don t pay any attention to the world around you then things are likely to stuff up pretty badly, you are always operating with incomplete data something they even say at one point and so being told to face what that data tells you with unflinching determination is either not telling us very much or possibly not even telling us anything at all.The next metaphor that gets a long run is the fox and the hedgehog Basically, this comes from some philosopher who said there are two kinds of people and, unfortunately didn t go on to say, those who group people into two camps and those who don t rather he felt the two groups were those who are like foxes smart, resourceful, cunning and innovative and those like hedgehogs, with basically one trick to roll into a ball This guy is particularly fond of hedgehogs He advises companies to figure out their hedgehog concept is that is, the basic idea they have that might allow them to become best in the world at, the idea that makes them their money, and that drives their passion you know, just like a hedgehog is passionate about rolling into a ball and then to make sure everything they do as a company is focused on that hedgehog concept My problem here is that while the author has problems with foxes, it isn t clear to me that the fox has been evolutionarily less successful than the hedgehog In fact, the author spends quite a bit of time talking about General Electric and, well, fitting this company into the hedgehog idea seemed a bit of square peg and round hole problem to me.That said, it is hard to see how figure out what you are good at and do that could be bad advice I can t say I came away from this book thinking, wow, who d have thought you should do what you are good at if you want to succeed There was a nice bit of this book about technology that it, on its own, doesn t lead to greatness, although it always plays a role Pretty much the advice here is to work out what you need to do to be great and then figure out how technology might help you achieve that, rather than hope putting wiz bang technology into your systems will somehow make them good systems This seems completely obvious to me as well, however.As you might already know, I generally don t read books like this, but I ve had to as I m doing research on Teach for Australia and they stress that teaching is leadership and use this book to support that claim So, I was expecting this book to be something quite different to what it turned out to be I was expecting it to be something much , to be honest It is hard to be in your 50 s and have decades of working with people who have been keen to implement the kinds of ideas discussed in this book upon people in their organisations, without being somewhat cynical about such visions splendid such leadership revolutionaries present I can t recommend this book, but it was important that I read it, I think.

  10. says:

    I was hoping this book would give me some guidelines to remember when I start my own business There were a few good points, but nothing compelling Reading this book wasn t a very good use of my time.Tips from the book First Who, then WhatFirst, get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off it , then figure out where to drive Having the right people in the company is important than deciding what the company will do, because the right people will help make that decision anyway Whether a person is right or not depends on their character than their knowledge and skills Don t waste time dealing with people who aren t contributing fire them ASAP.Don t waste effort trying to motivate people the right people are self motivated All you have to do is keep from de motivating them.The Hedgehog ConceptTo become great, use the Hedgehog Concept concentrate on the point of intersection between what you are passionate about, what you can be the best in the world at, and what drives your economic engine The Hedgehog Concept is named for the simple hedgehog that does one thing well curling up for defense , and is able to defeat the crafty fox which knows many things but acts inconsistently.A Culture of DisciplineIgnore once in a lifetime opportunities unless they fit in the 3 circles of the Hedgehog Concept.Don t treat budgeting as allocating amounts of money to activities, but choose Hedgehog Concept activities to fully fund, and don t fund others Stop doing lists are important than to do lists.Technology AcceleratorsDoes the technology fit directly with your Hedgehog Concept If yes, then pioneer that technology If not, settle for parity with your competitors, or ignore it.Greatness happens as a result of long term, consistent behavior, not a sudden lucky break or killer app.

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