Jim Collins

Good to Great

(Click on Image to go to resource) Five years ago Jim Collins asked the question, “Can a good company become a great company, and if so, how?” In Good to Great Collins, the author of Built to Last concludes that it is possible, but finds that there are no silver bullets to greatness. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11–including Gillette, Walgreens and Wells Fargo–and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. Making the transition from good to great doesn’t require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not-so-great, Collins lays a well-reasoned roadmap to excellence that any organisation would do well to consider. Like Built to Last, Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading for years to come. –Harry C Edwards

Great by Choice

(Click on Image to go to resource) The authors challenge conventional wisdom with thought-provoking, sticky, and supremely practical concepts. They include 10Xers; the 20 Mile March; Fire Bullets then Cannonballs; Leading above the Death Line; Zoom Out, Then Zoom In; and the SMaC Recipe. Finally, in the last chapter, Collins and Hansen present their most provocative and original analysis: defining, quantifying, and studying the role of luck. The great companies and the leaders who built them were not luckier than the comparisons, but they did get a higher Return on Luck. This book is classic Collins: contrarian, data-driven, and uplifting. He and Hansen show convincingly that, even in a chaotic and uncertain world, greatness happens by choice, not by chance.

How the Mighty Fall and Why some Companies Never Give In

(Click on Image to go to resource) Every institution, no matter how great, is vulnerable to decline. There is no law of nature that the most powerful will inevitably remain at the top. Anyone can fall and most eventually do. But, as Collins’ research emphasizes, some companies do indeed recover-in some cases, coming back even stronger-even after having crashed into the depths of Stage 4.

Decline, it turns out, is largely self-inflicted, and the path to recovery lies largely within our own hands. We are not imprisoned by our circumstances, our history, or even our staggering defeats along the way. As long as we never get entirely knocked out of the game, hope always remains. The mighty can fall, but they can often rise again.