Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't Contents [hide] * 1 Executive Summary * 2 Chapter Summaries * 2.1 Chapter 1: Good is the Enemy of Great * 2.2 Chapter 2: Level 5 Leadership * 2.3 Chapter 3: First Who, Then What * 2.4 Chapter 4: Confront the Brutal Facts (Yet Never Lose Faith) * 2.5 Chapter 5: The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity Within the Three Circles) * 2.6 Chapter 6: A Culture of Discipline * 2.7 Chapter 7: Technology Accelerators * 2.8 Chapter 8: The Flywheel and the Doom Loop * 2.9 Chapter 9: From Good to Great to Built to Last| -------------------------------------------------
Jim Collins, already established as one of the most influential management consultants, further established his credibility with the wildly popular Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don’t, originally published in 2001. The book went on to be one of the bestsellers in the genre, and it is now widely regarded as a modern classic of management theory. Collins takes up a daunting challenge in the book: identifying and evaluating the factors and variables that allow a small fraction of companies to make the transition from merely good to truly great. ‘Great,’ an admittedly subjective term, is operationally defined according to a number of metrics, including, specifically, financial performance that exceeded the market average by several orders of magnitude over a sustained period of time. Using these criteria, Collins and his research team exhaustively catalogued the business literature, identifying a handful of companies that fulfilled their predetermined criteria for greatness. Then, the defining characteristics that differentiated these ‘great’ firms from their competitors were quantified and analyzed. The resulting data are presented in Good to Great in compelling detail. Over the course of 9 chapters, Collins addresses a number of management, personnel, and operational practices, behaviors, and attitudes that are both conducive and antithetical to the good-to-great transition. One overarching theme that links together virtually all of Collins’ arguments is the need to define a narrowly focused objective and field of competency and then focus all of the company’s resources toward that area of strength. Repeatedly, Collins warns that straying too far from a company’s established strengths is inimical to the attainment of greatness. Finally, Collins links the findings of Good to Great to the conclusions he reached in his previous book, Built to Last, which focused on the factors that define companies that survive in the long-term, meshing both sets of results into an overarching framework for enduring success.
Chapter 1: Good is the Enemy of Great
The first chapter of the book lays out the criteria that Collins and his research team used in selecting the companies that served as the basis of the meta-analysis that provided the findings set forth in the book. The most important factor in the selection process was a period of growth and sustained success that far outpaced the market or industry average. Based on the stated criteria, the companies that were selected for inclusion were Abbott, Fannie Mae, Circuit City, Gillette, Kimberly-Clark, Kroger, Nucor, Philip Morris, Pitney Bowes,Walgreens, and Wells Fargo. Collins also offers a few of the most significant findings gleaned from the study. Of particular note are the many indications that factors such as CEO compensation, technology, mergers and acquisitions, and change management initiatives played relatively minor roles in fostering the Good to Great process. Instead, Collins found that successes in three main areas, which he terms disciplined people, disciplined thought, and disciplined action, were likely the most significant factors in...