I often get asked about good books to read about business, management and leadership. High on my list is ‘Good to Great’* by Jim Collins. In this modern classic Collins claims that ‘good is the enemy of great.’ He covers the things that some companies do to make the leap from being good to being great.
I am aware that the term ‘great’ is subjective, but in his book he defines it according to a range of measures, including superior financial performance over a long period of time. He then looks at this group of ‘great’ organisations and identifies the traits that stand them apart. Here is my take on the main points he makes.
1. Discipline matters. Disciplined people, disciplined thoughts and disciplined actions. A culture of determination and focus can lead to great.
2. Leadership matters. The quality and the nature of leadership in the organisation will determine its level of greatness.
3. Who matters more than what. The quality of the people in the team, particularly the leadership team, is vital. The right people need to be in the right positions.
4. Keep it simple. Work out what you can be best at, work out what you can make money from and work out what you are passionate about. Then do that.
5. Build momentum gradually. Success rarely happens suddenly. Momentum is built by small wins and positive actions which in turn increase the engagement and loyalty of staff.
If you work for a good organisation, good for you. But what can you do to make the leap towards great?