Good to Great by Jim Collins is a must-read book for any aspiring CEO.
Published in 2001, before the digital revolution, it explores why some companies thrive, while others stagnate.
Throughout the book, Jim Collins presents key insights into how companies can build on their strengths and pursue even higher levels of greatness, using specific steps for how they can make the leap.
The book starts off discussing the drivers behind what it takes for a company to go from good to great.
- Finding out what you are good at.
- Seeking out success with discipline.
- Finding your inner core or “foundation” (strengths, values, core purpose).
- Discovering the key decisions that make a difference in your life and gaining momentum.
It’s suitable for any business owner or manager who wants to know why some companies have dwarfed others over time.
Good to Great will introduce you to what it takes for a business to take off by identifying unique factors which are present in those rare companies which made it.
What are the key themes?
The author has done all his research mainly through interviews, where he focused only on people who had actually been inside Good to Great companies, either as founder or employee.
The thesis of Good to Great revolves around “transcendent” leadership, which builds enduring greatness through a blend of personal humility plus professional will.
In order for a company to become great it takes more than just several good managers but rather multiple people who have strong character traits as well as drive themselves beyond average levels.
Through extensive study on Good To Great companies, the author, Jim Collins, has discovered that Good To Great CEOs have similar qualities.
Jim Collins studied over 1800 Good To Great companies, with the purpose of unveiling what factors these companies had in common.
He analyzed several key areas including:
- Their industry.
- Company size at transition.
- Level of social recognition.
- Particular traits leaders possess.
Good to Great: a conclusion
The most important factor Collins found in Good to Great is that “Level 5 Leaders” are crucial to a company’s success.
These leaders possess the qualities that enable them to make decisions for the long-term benefit of their company, rather than for self-oriented reasons like greed and glory.
This central idea can provide the CEOs of today with a blueprint for building wider success, and is as relevant in 2021 as it was in 2001.
Despite its age, Good to Great is a brilliant study of leadership, learning and the value of humility. It remains vital reading for the CEOs of today.