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on July 15, 2017
A wonderful anthology on the right and necessary steps a growing concern must continue to take if they are to remain viable in todays society and ready for the future.. As a CEO, you must be above the fray of everyday operations and keep a keen eye on the future and potential innovations. For example, when Sears gave up the catalog in the early 1990's, the potential of the internet was just beginning to raise its capacity to greatly influence a new way of doing business. If the Sears executives had not been so busy trying to save a buck and give up the catalog, maybe it could have retained its millions of dedicated shoppers and innovated along the lines of the internet that we know today as Amazon.

Bezos, of Amazon, was a hedge fund manager in the late 1980's. How did he become some a relevant whole seller with a revolutionary way of delivery in the late 90's. This is the clear message that I got from Good To Great. You must be willing to boldly assault the future and at the same time question if this is the right way to go. That way your organizations will not become complacent and our managerial core will be a group of activists and futurists. That's how you keep going from Great To Even Greater. Good To Great is fine. But now you must take the next step.
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on September 5, 2012
It has been ten years since I first picked it up Good to Great and, as expected, it is as valuable today as it was then. If you read it a while back and liked it, perhaps it is time to re-read it with fresh eyes and a decade of experience on your resume. There's so many fascinating discoveries in this book that anyone will find a few golden nuggets.

Jim spoke again this year at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, framing most of the presentation around the 1911 South Pole explorations by Roald Amundson and his rival, Robert Scott. Responsibility, leadership performance, and luck were the major themes. Collin's presentation got me thinking about the book again, and I decided to go back and re-read it. There's a ton of things I missed or forgot over the years, so I am thrilled to have the new learning.

Good to Great is the second in the series by the author, though it's really the starting point to the project (think Star Wars series?). Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies logically follows this one, and then concludes with How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In. Last year he released Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All, which I have heard is excellent, also.

Early in the book we get a taste of what's coming: "Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice." The companies who made the leap made the choice to be great, and, through rigorous research, interviewing, and vetting, Jim and his team figured out how they did it and anyone else can. This saves us a lifetime of work trying to figure it out - just read the book and apply the learning. The book is very much a roadmap to success, if you have the courage to follow the path. Given that only 11 of 1,435 companies made the final cut, it's easy to see that this is not the path of least resistance, nor is it one for people who choose to argue with the findings. The data speaks for itself: either you choose to use this as a leadership development tool or you choose not to. Either way, you choose.

If you have the desire to be excellent and the will to do the work, along with a healthy dose of humility, this is the book series for you. Take a year to read all four, earnestly apply them in your life, and by this time next year you will be a vastly different person - for the better. Remember, Good to Great is not about doing more and burning yourself out, it's about doing what works and stop doing what doesn't. As the author states on page 208 "If it's no harder, the results better, and the process so much more fun - well, why wouldn't you go for greatness?" Well said, Jim.
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on May 20, 2014
“Good to Great” puts a new perspective on why many businesses hit a glass ceiling as they fall into a fallacy that they are good enough to perform their function. The book concentrates the examination of different companies that succeeded in going from good to great while attempting to warn about the dangers of those who do not break the threshold. The book contains many great ideas, such as the hedgehog concept, the level 5 leadership, and establishing a culture of discipline. Using these ideas, managers are encouraged to adapt these ideas for their own companies in order for them to break through the enemy of great, good. Many businesses believe that they are good enough, and therefore, will never reach greatness.
Jim Collin’s book is a little out dated as he uses Circuit City as a company that went from good to great. While the store may have prospered and did go to great, it may make future generation doubt the integrity of the concept. He also warns that technology should not be dependent to run a business. There are many small businesses that may see the advantage to this concept; many types of businesses are using technology to run a well working machine. Collin’s reasoning was the fall of the Dotcoms during the early 2000 that caused trouble to many startups at the time. Today, we all know that technology is far more reliable and it is a definite key in improving.
It is unfair, however, to discredit the book due to the fact that the book is a little old. The ideas are unique and excellent for those who are new to the management scene and continuous improvement. It is easy to read and provides steps to admitting that a company is not to their full potential and how to fix those shortcomings.
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on July 18, 2017
Phenomenal read. The beginning starts out a little slow with the explanation on how good to great companies were labelled. After this though a lot of real life examples how an attitude/culture and the right people can turn a company into one of the best! Great for managers wanting to elevate the performance of their company.
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on October 20, 2016
This is definitely a must read for anyone looking for key management techniques to really manage anything great.

Pros: The concepts are intuitive and clear. Each one is workable and the examples are great tools for pushing the author's point home. The academic nature of this book helps reinforce the "breakthrough" trends that are identified. Additionally, the book does a good job of personalizing very complex business decisions.

Cons: Far too many of these companies ceased to be great. This information seems almost pointless when one considers (in a vaccum) the current status of these companies.
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on February 16, 2016
It was a good read. It took me awhile to finish than most books but that's because I love stories (novels). It was interesting and it amazed me most how diligently the author and his team worked so hard to get all the facts and information for this book. I read this book because my boss for some reason says it is his favorite and I was curious. It was inspirational reading the stories of different CEO's/Presidents of companies. I definitely agreed with all of the lessons this book has taught too. I believe that if you are running a company and that it is in your heart to run it and you love what you are doing, plus, even show it... then your employees will soon follow and even go the extra mile for you. You will not see many of those around.
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on November 26, 2012
This book was the main focus of a class I took. We take for granted the products and services that many companies provide and pay little attention when these companies fail. Most of all we don't pay attention to the very basic ideas that cause a company to fail. It is obvious that the authors put in a great deal of effort in picking and analyzing these companies. I thought it was a great read and has many ideas that companies should and could benefit from.

For our class we had to interview a top level executive of a local company. This was during the deepest part of the recession and many companies were going through very trying times. We were able to interview a second generation President of a very large steel company. The first thing he told us when we sat down was that he had read the book in graduate school and tries to apply these ideas every day. The scheduled one hour interview went on for 4 hours. He had an amazing amount of information on the real world application of the concept and ideas of the book and it really showed me that this book has some great ideas that many companies could benefit from. He really spelled out the foundation of his company and how it has benefited from the ideas provided in the book. Determining his niche, finding the right people and putting them in the right spot, the hedgehog concept, etc. were all contributed to his success and ability to ride out the recession. I highly recommend this book.
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on February 4, 2016
This is a phenomenal book with practical advice you can implement right away without a lot of training or bureaucracy. As you read this book, you think this stuff is so simple and practical, you wonder how you don't come up with this stuff on your own, or how so many companies can get these things so wrong. The problem is that much of this book is counter-intuitive, but once you read their advice and the rationale behind it, you quickly grasp why this advice works and you'll be completely confident implementing it. It's not like you'll read the book, implement the advice, and then cross your fingers hoping it works. You'll know what the results will be before you implement it. Just get the book, read it, and you'll know what I mean.
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on October 23, 2014
This was recommended to me. WOW! After listening to it once I knew I had to play it again to get the details down pat. There is so much information to digest, even in this abridged version. I have played it about four times now, and when i head out I grab a CD for the car and plat a random chapter. I suggest listening in order the first time or two you listen to it. After all, we spend so much time in cars we may as well make the best of the time.

The material covers many point of many companies and brings out what enabled the best to become the best. After finishing the CDs I wondered why I was not told about this in college when going for my Business degree. Some of the material is dated, like when they tell you how awesome Circuit City is. However you can use the same material and understand why CC is no longer around.

If you are motivated to do great things inside your company this will give you ideas to determine the others around you who feel the same way, and how to identify the points in your company that will make you great and those that will delay growth.
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on February 16, 2015
Just finished reading Good to Great by Jim Collins and it is an excellent book. Probably one of the best I have read after a long time. The ideas of Leadership, right people, brutal facts, hedgehog and flywheel concepts sound very obvious. But are prescient when put together in a large organizational context. It shows what can be achieved (and what needs to be done) by the right mix of people, process and technology, implemented over decades, for outperforming the industry and the market.
It reminds me of The Innovators Dilemma by Clayton Christensen, my all time favourite, which takes a different view of the challenges faced by big firms from disruptive technologies. Going to revisit that, Built to Last (Jim Collins) and Innovators DNA (Clayton Christensen).
All give a wide perspective on the challenges faced in running big & small firms and how to constantly keep innovating & outperforming the market. It’s a never ending learning process.
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