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Customer Review

160 of 187 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for the ages! Excellent for managers and start-ups, October 23, 2001
This review is from: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't (Hardcover)
Jim Collins, co-author of Built To Last, has done it again! This time he spent 5 years trying to find out what differentiates good companies from great companies. This study can be applied to entrepreneurial ventures and to current corporate America. After reading this book you may see your company from a much different perspective than in the past and it may have you thinking about the effectiveness of senior managers within your company. I believe it is a book that business executives will read and keep handy for reference.
This book is a study of companies that exceed their industry, the overall stock market and produce PHENOMENAL returns over a 15-year period (15 of them are very "normal" years and the next 15 years are full of explosive growth). Some key points you will take away from this book include:
1) Growth in most companies came after years and years of trying to adapt / mold a concept into something the company truly believed in. Once this happened the growth engine got going.
2) Great managers worry more about getting the right people on board and the wrong people off board BEFORE they establish a corporate stategy.
3) Most great CEOs came from within their own ranks and weren't recruited from the outside.
4) Executive compensation didn't appear to be a key driver of corporate performance
5) The respective great companies exceeded the overall stock market in creating shareholder value by at least 3x during their 15 year run measured (some for many more years). While some may say this is not much think about the steel industry and how many are filing for bankruptcy. Nucor Steel still managed to beat the S&P by more than 3x.
6) The great companies in this book blew away their comparable peer group. Wells Fargo vs. Bank of America, Kroger vs. other grocery chains, Walgreens vs. Eckerd, etc.
7) Collins describes a Level 5 leader. After reading this section I was amazed at how many CEOs I recognized as not being Level 5 leaders. This may, in the near future, shake up executive compensation plans, CEO searches and potentially affect corporate governance.
8) Technology accelerated a transformation but was regarded as a tool. It didn't define the company.
9) M&A activity played virtually no role in going from good to great.
That is all I will write about the book. I could write on and on about how good this book is. Read it. It will change the way you think about business. Other very good books on the principles of business and entrepreneurship are Leading at the Speed of Growth by Catlin and Mathews and The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Jack Trout and Al Ries.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 10, 2013 10:00:21 AM PST
TheConsumer says:
That defines a "great CEO?" I work in a place that has been run by a succession of ruthless businesspeople, and we are termed "successful." (it's not one of the companies that's named in the book.) Cronyism is rife and managers spend huge budgets as if it were their own personal checking account. On paper we are a success, on the books and in the media. But inwardly, our culture is a sham.

It has always amazed me when a really crappy guy who screwed up somewhere ends up as Chief Executive Officer. He brings his ruinous practices with him, and the organization responds accordingly.

I am obviously unhappy. But when I think about the financial crisis and the jerk who spent something lik $1 million to resdeign his office while taking govt funds, it blows my mind. An interesting question is, "How do organizations keep performing badly or have to have a cut-throat mentality to succeed. Why? Why do we not encourage the greater good" in B-schools. And how do you stop cronyism?
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