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

by Jim Collins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6,63979992 (3.98)25
Built 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 companies that are not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? Are there those that convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? If so, what are the distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great? Over five years, Jim Collins and his research team have analyzed the histories of 28 companies, discovering why some companies make the leap and others don't. The findings include: Level 5 Leadership: A surprising style, required for greatness. The Hedgehog Concept: Finding your three circles, to transcend the curse of competence. A Culture of Discipline: The alchemy of great results. Technology Accelerators: How good-to-great companies think differently about technology. The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Why those who do frequent restructuring fail to make the leap.… (more)

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» See also 25 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
This work is the result of a cohort business study. The control group consisted of publicly owned companies that had good performance for 15 years and then great performance (defined as outperforming the market by over three times) for 15 years. There were only 11 good-to-great companies. Eleven other companies in similar lines of work were chosen into the comparison group. Then the research group dissected those companies to figure out what the great companies had in common and how they different from the comparison companies. The result is this book.

Collins and his research team undertook interviews, performed research on publicly available information, and tried to details as much as possible. As such, Good to Great not only covers abstract principles which animate these companies, but also, it shares the stories of excellent success along with the not-as-excellent narratives of the comparison group.

On occasion, this book’s writing seems to lapse into marketing and hype, but I guess that is to be expected among the business genre. Although the book is not as hard of a science as something like physics, Collins’ team seems to aspire to genuinely making their study as scientific as possible. It’s clear that they looked for fundamental insights instead of just covering the surface. For that, they deserve to be praised. Also, because of the stringent inclusion requirements (which require 30+ years of historical data), tech companies are not considered in this work. The qualities that make tech companies great – especially in the face of constant changing environments – is of particular interest to me, and I would like to see further exploration on that topic.

Their overall findings suggest a category of leader that they term a “Level-Five Leader.” This type of leader consistently puts the organization above her or his personal needs. They serve as the mortar which connect the bricks of a group into a strong wall. Through reading this book, you can explore more of this quality of leader.

Unfortunately, time has shown that several of these companies have engaged in ethically questionable policies. That blunts this book’s impact significantly. It goes to show that in the field of business research, it is difficult to adequately control all the factors, such as hidden cheating. It was a good attempt, and still brings forth historical insights into an era. Nonetheless, enthusiasm needs to be dampened with reality. ( )
  scottjpearson | Mar 14, 2020 |
This book was in my opinion good, but not great (you see what I did there? ;) )
Like most management books, this book contains a few interesting key points wrapped in a big pile of examples and elaborations. Unlike its predecessor, Built to Last, I felt that the key points in Good to Great were more basic and not so ground-breaking. Another thing that bothered me a bit while reading was the fact that the good-to-great companies were portrayed as flawless heroes while the comparison companies were portrayed as dumb villains. It gave me the feeling that the research and the findings were simplified to fit a certain narrative and not necessarily 100% accurate. That being said, it is still a good read and does contain some interesting findings. ( )
  AmirBaer | Jan 23, 2020 |
I’ve resisted reading this book for a decade or so. As a pastor I’ve long associated it with an uncritical business thinking takeover of Christian leadership. As I read it, I’m certainly critical of parts, from methodology to interpretation, but slowly it overwhelmed me with helpfulness. It’s just too helpful of a book to not read and apply. Yes, of course, it’s not the only book to read, and it doesn’t have all the answers (whatever that means), but it’s one of the few books I read this year that I’ll reread in the next three years. ( )
  nicholasjjordan | Nov 13, 2019 |
I enjoyed Good to Great as part of our book club at work. I appreciate that the findings were based on data and research, and not anecdotes and poorly remembered details from specific business personalities. I would love to see an updated version twenty years later with how the internet has transformed things, but the book did mention how great companies use technology smartly and not rely on it completely. ( )
  hskey | Sep 23, 2018 |
A book I go back to routinely for regrinding. ( )
  jnetnoe | May 8, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
Jim Collins new book is titled Good To Great. If you haven't read it yet, buy, beg, or borrow it. It's that important.
Collins calls Good To Great a "prequel" to his hugely successful Built To Last. I call it the most important Business Leadership book I have read in a long time.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Collins, Jimprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tillman, MaaritTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to the Chimps. I love you all, each and every one.
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Book description
Pourquoi certaines entreprises affichant des performances plutot moyennes décolent ils soudain pour rejoinder le peloton de tete?

Peandant 5 ans Jim Collins et sn équipe de chercheurs se sont attelés à cette vaste question pour débusquer le secret de la conversion à l'excellence. Onze entreprises , retenues pour leur performances boursières très supérieures à celles de leur secteur , ont été comparées à leurs concurrentes . Les conclusions qui en ressortent sont étonnantes !
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