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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2000
I have read a number of books on strategic planning. They all generally follow a very similar approach. However, Jim Collins has done a masterful job putting the theory into a format that is easily understood and easily applied to solve real problems. I initially used the book to lead the strategic planning process for the technical support department of a major software company. The results were astounding. I have since used the book to help many other organizations and have found the book equally appropriate for each engagement. Using the concepts in this book will dramatically help your organization.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2003
The problem with this book, and many books of this type is that it is a clearly organized exposition on intuitive principles. I have read many books that resemble this one. They tend to be motivational and easily conceived, but the downside to the ease with which they are digested is that you don't really learn anything. This does not mean the book should not read, in fact the examples and organization clearly illustrate the basic structure of strategy. However, anyone familiar with the ideas should probably look for something a little more weighty.
All of that being said, this is how the book is organized thematically:
Chapter 1: Leadership Style
Chapter 2: Vision
Chapter 3: Strategy
Chapter 4: Innovation
Chapter 5: Tactical Excellence
The key topics of chapter 1 are the multiplier effect of leadership, the different style of leadership, and the elements of leadership (Ever Forward, Communication, Hard/Soft People Skills, Personal Touch, Focus, Decisiveness, and Authenticity).
Chapter 2 covers the benefits of vision, and the framework for vision (core values and beliefs, purpose, and mission).
Chapter 3 discusses the Four Basic Principles of Setting Effective Strategy, Setting Strategy, Internal Assessment, External Assessment, and the Four Common Key Strategic Issues that Face SMEs.
Chapter 4 is on the Six Elements that make an innovative company, and 8 managerial techniques to stimulate creativity.
Chapter 5 discusses how to take vision to create strategy which can then be used to formulate tactics, how to create an environment where people consistently exhibit tactical excellence, and a six part process to ensure excellence.
This book also periodically presents frameworks, models, and case examples to help illustrate key points.
Overall, it is a quick and easy read, that will illustrate basic tips to run a business. I would recomend anything written by Michael Porter or Peter Drucker for more conceptual ideas. For more books like this, the Harvard Business Review series should be considered.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Collins and Lazier wrote this book for those who seek answers to questions such as these:
1. What kind of leadership must you provide to your organization so that it will achieve the performance, impact, reputation, and longevity it needs...not only to succeed but to sustain that success?
2. How can you formulate an appropriate vision for your organization and then galvanize the commitment and efforts of others to achieve that vision?
3. What are the tough decisions to be made when selecting those strategies which are needed?
4. Meanwhile, what must be done to create and then sustain a culture within which innovative thinking is not only encouraged but nourished?
5. What is "tactical excellence"? What must be done to create an environment within which it is achieved and then (once again, a key word) sustained?
If you need answers to these questions, Collins and Lazier provide them.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2000
I'm always suspicious of books that offer easy to follow implementations, and particularly on a subject as important as setting corporate values. This book is an exception. It's both inspirational and practical. It's required reading by all of our management staff (this gives us a common understanding of often used works such as vision, core values, etc.). We've used this book for four years, and we're a better company because of it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 1999
I found this book truly inspirational. I am CEO of an internet start up. This book really captures the essense of my personal philosophy, while codifying and augmenting it. It give a roadmap for how to build the foundations of a great company and how to execute on a daily basis. I am ordering it for all my senior managers
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 1999
An extremely practical and insightful view into the role of strategy in entrepreneurship. Chapter Two, Vision, is particularly good, with lots of excellent examples and a great overall framework for developing a vision. Chapter 3, Strategy is also very useful, particularly in its discussion of issues associated with the pursuit of growth. An excellent book for anyone starting up their own business or looking to give direction to their existing business.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This work helped our five yr old non-profit private school to establish a coherent vision and direction for the organization. This vision has helped us maintain our momemtum, remain on target, and bring others into the organization without fragmentation or loss of our vision. This is a great book and should be required reading for all board members and senior administrators.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2014
Unless there are videos someplace, reading this book is the closest you can get to sitting in Jim Collins' class on entrepreneurship at Stanford (circa 1990). It's a distillation of what he taught in that class, minus the palpable energy he brought to every session and in particular the final class of each term. Twenty four years later, I still return to this book for inspiration and ideas for leadership, crafting strategy, creating genuine passion in a company, and gaining alignment. I'd also recommend Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive to build and sustain alignment. Both are useful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 2, 2010
This book is great stuff..So much wisdom and so many bits and pieces of true leadership gems. This is a book you should revisit every year to just let his ideas flow into your mind and habits. I've read many books regarding this subject matter and you really can't go wrong with this classic. You owe it to yourself if you are manager or leader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2013
A quick glance at this book's cover is enough to drive anyone away. Ignore this impulse because, after reading its contents, you will be much better prepared to take your business to a higher level. I've read dozens of business books and this one sits on top of them all as the best one around. It's chuck full of pointers that can be implemented immediately; there's no fluff to wade through. My copy is heavily marked up and dog-eared. I refer back to it again and again.
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