Why I Chose this Book
I don’t remember. Can you believe it? I think I first read this book almost four years from the time I’m writing this about why I chose this book. I probably heard about it on a self-help or productivity podcast. Maybe, I came across it in a list. Either way, it was a good choice and worth the read.
Good to Great
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t is a book by Jim Collins that aims to identify the key factors that differentiate good companies from great ones. Collins and his team studied hundreds of companies that have been around for at least three decades to determine what made some of them great. Ultimately, only 11 companies met their stringent criteria, making them ideal case studies for the book.
One of the strengths of the book is that it’s based on rigorous research, and Collins is transparent about where he got his data and how he arrived at his conclusions. He also emphasizes that the principles in the book can be applied to individuals and small businesses, not just large corporations.
The book is divided into several chapters, including “Good is the Enemy of Great,” “Level 5 Leadership,” “First Who, Then What,” “Confront the Brutal Facts (Yet Never Lose Faith),” “The Hedgehog Concept,” “A Culture of Discipline,” “Technology Accelerators,” “The Flywheel and the Doom Loop,” and “From Good to Great to Built to Last.”
The good-to-great leaders never wanted to become larger-than-life heroes. They never aspired to be put on a pedestal or become unreachable icons. They were seemingly ordinary people quietly producing extraordinary results.
One of the key takeaways from the book is that great companies focus on hiring people with good characteristics, rather than solely on their skills or qualifications. The “who” is better than the “what.”
It’s also important to identify what your company is good at and to focus on that, even if it takes years to determine what that is (a concept that Collins calls the “hedgehog concept“). The hedgehog concept, which consists of three overlapping circles, is an important concept in the book. To apply it, you need to consider what you can be the best in the world at, what you’re passionate about, and what drives economic value. These are key factors to consider when applying the book’s principles to your daily life.
In addition, greatness doesn’t come from one turning point, but rather from years of incremental improvements. This is consistent with the 10,000-hour rule for individuals, which suggests that it takes about 10 years on average to become great at something.
How to Apply Collins’ Principles
I think a good way to approach the book Good to Great is to consider how to apply its lessons to your daily life. There are a few different ways to do this, depending on your situation. For example, if you run your own business, it’s straightforward to apply the principles in the book to your operations. However, if you’re just a regular employee, you can still benefit by taking these principles and imagining yourself as the CEO of the company. In your next business meeting, for example, you could bring up ideas like the hedgehog concept or ask what the company is good at and how it can focus more on those things. By showing that you’re invested in the company, you can improve your standing and increase your chances of being promoted.
Another way to apply these principles is to focus on your department within the company. By thinking about how you can apply the book’s concepts to your department, you can make your work more productive and provide greater value to the company. This may lead to a promotion to a higher position within the department or in a larger branch of the company. By consistently applying these principles and working on your craft with discipline, you can see progress and improve yourself as an individual.
Overall, Good to Great is a useful reference guide for anyone starting or running a business or looking to be a productive member of their organization. While it may be difficult to apply all of the principles in the book, it provides a good blueprint for success and a starting point for further research and exploration. Collins’ methodology is sound and the case studies he provides are compelling. While it remains to be seen whether others will replicate his results or challenge his conclusions, for now, Good to Great remains a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve an organization.