Most men would rather die, than think. Many do.
Jim Collins says that Good is the enemy of Great. Why?
We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life. The vast majority of companies never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good–and that is their main problem.
In Good to Great, he shares his findings on how good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies can achieve enduring greatness.
[bluebox] The good-to-great companies did not focus principally on what to do to become great; they focus equally on what not to do and what to stop doing. [/bluebox]
Disciplined People: Every good-to-great company had Level 5 Leadership
Level 5 Leadership refers to a five-level hierarchy of executive capabilities, with Level 5 at the top. What are these capabilities?
- Level 5 leaders embody a paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will. They are ambitious, to be sure, but ambitious first and foremost for the company, not themselves.
- Level 5 leaders set up display a compelling modesty, are self-effancy and understated.
- Level 5 leaders are fanatically driven, infected with an incurable need to produce sustained results.
- Level 5 leaders set up their successors for even greater success in the next generation, whereas egocentric Level 4 leaders often set up their successors for failure.
- Level 5 leaders display a workmanlike diligence–more plow horse than show horse.
- Level 5 leaders attribute much of their success to good luck, rather than personal greatness.
[bluebox] The good-to-great leaders began the transformation by first getting the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it. [/bluebox]
Disciplined thought: All good-to-great companies began the process of finding a path to greatness by confronting the brutal facts of their current reality
A primary task in taking a company from good to great is to create a culture wherein people have a tremendous opportunity to be heard and, ultimately, for the truth to be heard. 4 Basic practices:
1. Lead with questions, not answers.
2. Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion.
3. Conduct autopsies, without blame.
4. Build red flag mechanisms that turn information into information that cannot be ignored.
To go from good-to-great requires a deep understanding of three intersecting circles translating into a simple, crystalline concept (The Hedgehog Concept):
What you are deeply passionate about + What you can be the best in the world at + What drives your economic engine[/bluebox]
Disciplined action: Sustained great results depend upon building a culture full of self-disciplined people who take disciplined action, fanatically consistent with the Hedgehog concept
A culture of discipline involves a duality: On the one hand, it requires people who adhere to a consistent system; yet, on the other hand, it gives people freedom and responsability within the framework of that system.
A culture of discipline is not just about action. It is about getting disciplined people who engage in disciplined thought and who then take disciplined action.
[bluebox] The good-to-great companies used technology as an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it. None of the good-to-great companies began their transformations with pioneering technology, yet they all became pioneers in the application of technology once they grasped how it fit with their three circles and after they hit breakthrough.