Good to Great by Jim Collins


Jim Collins

  Leadership, Startup

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Good To Great Summary by hello mba Shots

A study of how companies go from good to great

Components of a good to great framework

1. Process: Setting up yourselves towards greatness (Build up) and reaching a path that will lead you to greatness (Breakthrough).

2. Phases: 

> Disciplined people: Acquiring the right leader

>Disciplined thought: Deep understanding of data and generating a set of core beliefs. 

>Disciplined action: Creating the right culture where the right people will work within the core beliefs.

3. Flywheel:

Process of understanding what is required to be done for best results and initiating those step one by one. 


These components can be broken into the following:

1. Level 5 Leader:

Jim breaks leadership into five levels, level 5 level being the highest. Organisations that aim to be great, require a level 5 leader. Some characteristics are:

  • They think about the success of the organisation before their personal needs and wealth.
  • They are generally shy but exude extreme professional will and the capacity to get the job done.
  • They are modest, humble and often give the credit of success to others before themselves.
  • They take responsibility for failures that occur.


2. Who before what:

  • It's not enough to get the right team of individuals. It's important to get the right people before you know what route to take towards greatness. 
  • Getting the right people on board before a strategy or direction for the organisation is devised will allow more space and will discourage them from leaving if any change in direction takes place.
  • The author also suggests that it is just as important to get the 'wrong people off the bus' as it is getting the 'right people on the bus'.


3. Confront hard evidence:

  • You cannot make good decisions until face the hard facts.
  • The organization must create an environment where truth is welcomed and is heard by all. 
  • Leads with questions, not answers.
  • Engage in professional discourse. Such discussions can turn into strong conclusions.


4. Hedgehog concept:

Jim believes businesses that go from good to great always figure out their own Hedgehog concept, a strategy that they can employ for a very long term.

These 3 questions should be considered when forming your hedgehog concept:

▪️What do you do best in the world?

▪️Which things are you passionate about?

▪️What is the key economic indicator you should focus on?


5. Disciplined Culture:

  • Create a disciplined culture that knows how to operate within the boundaries of the framework of your hedgehog. 
  • Make sure everyone in the organization firmly agrees with the hedgehog. This will encourage discipline towards it.
  • Any opportunity that does not fit with the hedgehog concept should be turned down. 


6. Technology:

  • It is crucial to only undertake new technology if it accelerates the current momentum of the organization.
  • Start with deeply understanding which technology suits your hedgehog. 

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