Good to Great

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Jim Collins talks about a lot of characteristics, values and traits needed in order to turn a company from a good one to a great one. What is rather surprising is how he gives a refreshing and actually quite unorthodox perspective on the topic. The things that he points out are what most would think the opposite of some of the values being taught in school.

He starts off by identifying leadership as the key in running a great company. He points out that leaders who become beacons of success are the ones who actually shy away from the spotlight. They are not necessarily silent or reserved but they do not seek attention. Jim Collins describes them as non-celebrities. These people are modest and efficient. One could say that getting their names popularized is not their driving force. They simply just want their respective companies to succeed in its industry.

The road to becoming a great company does not only rely in the hands of one leader. Greatness is something that is not easily obtained and to be soon forgotten. Steps have to be taken in order to maintain that status of greatness. What’s interesting is how the author says that sometimes you have to do more of the same, and when it comes to leaders of a company that’s exactly what you have to do. The author emphasizes a strategy that’s been repeated over and over in the course of our classes and this is the concept of choosing successors to lead businesses. Excellence is a habit and all leaders must exemplify this trait in order to continuously lead company to greater heights. This is the reason why there’s a premium to succession planning, and this is also why it’s important.

The next thing Jim Collins points out is that contrary to the usual practices of first defining the vision and mission of a company then getting people who can deliver is to do the opposite. He says that it is important to first acquire talented people then figure out what to do with their talents. This is really interesting for me because I thought that for one, missions and visions were established and created to attract people with the same beliefs and value systems so that the people are aligned with the company they work in. This is of course aside from the fact that missions and visions are ways of defining a company as well as directing where a company is headed. However, upon reading this concept I remembered a talk about family businesses which employed the same strategy. The Aboitiz group believes that in order for the company to continue its operations excellently, its members have to be comprised of the best people. They give premium to those who have master’s degrees and are well-educated. It’s amazing how Jim Collin’s discovery can be seen here in a company in the Philippines which has been in operation for about 4 generations now. I also think that it’s better to play the strengths of the people in an organization. If people strictly pursued and did just what the vision and mission of a company said, then it would seem as if one was setting limitations and parameters to what a company can achieve. Capitalizing on your members’ strengths can open an organization to new opportunities in which it may heavily benefit from. It actually makes sense. One cannot enter the battlefield expecting to win if he doesn’t even know what’s in his arsenal. You build your strategy according to what it is that you have.

In relation to knowing your people, you also need to know where to put them and how to handle them. Identifying whether they’re important to the company is key. Jim Collins says that hiring is critical, and companies shouldn’t settle for anything less than what they’re looking for. It takes time and other resources to train someone, and hiring a person that’s not fit for the job definitely becomes counterproductive. The time and resources spent on that person will simply be put to waste. Lastly, being with the right people fosters an environment that’s conducive to being...
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