Book Review: Good To Great

Posted by mikeberry | Agile Executives,Book Reviews,Leadership,SDLC Management,Strategy & Portfolio Management | Tuesday 27 November 2007 10:17 am

I just finished reading Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins.  This #1 bestseller is the best business development book I have ever read.  In fact–I would even say–I can recommend it with every fiber of my being.

Collins takes a team of 20 graduate students from the University of Colorado and dedicates roughly 15,000 hours of research to this book.

Collins’s team explores why some good companies become great companies, and why the rest never do.   Their research subjects were companies that outperformed the stock market index by an average of seven times during a fifteen year span.  Their findings are novel and counter-intuitive.

The first major takeaway I got from reading this book is that great companies have learned to say “no.”  They don’t pursue opportunities that don’t meet certain internal criteria.

The second takeaway is that achievements, although seemingly “sudden” when viewed by outside groups, are really a long set of disciplined decisions made over time by these companies.

The third takeaway is that leaders of these great companies were not magnanimous superstars, instead they consistently seemed to have a compelling modesty about them.

A forth takeaway is that these companies seemed to consistently put their best people on new opportunities, not on their biggest problems.

Another concept Collins introduces is the Hedgehog Concept.  This concept is that companies are most successful following opportunities that have three criteria:

  1. The team or corporation has a deep passion for the subject matter of the opportunity.
  2. The team feels they can become the best in the world at it.
  3. The opportunity is in-line with what drives the corporation’s economic engine.

I think I could write a twenty-page review about this book.  Let me just say you need to go and read it.  If you read any business-development book this year, read this one.

Mike J Berry
www.RedRockResearch.com

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