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Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great Paperback – November 22, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 251 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jim Collins is author or coauthor of six books that have sold in total more than ten million copies worldwide, including the bestsellers Good to Great, Built to Last, and How the Mighty Fall. Jim began his research and teaching career on the faculty at Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992. He now operates a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, where he conducts research, teaches, and consults with executives from the corporate and social sectors.

From AudioFile

Collins provides a rigorous analysis of how to apply business performance principles to the nonprofit sector of the economy. In these social sector organizations, in which the objectives are not primarily monetary, superior results depend on attracting talent and money and creating the brand momentum these agencies need to create the social good they intend. The author is a natural and perky narrator of this important little book--he's proud, enthusiastic, urgent, yet he charms his listeners rather than preaching or pushing them to buy into his ideas. This is a thinking person's piece that delivers new insights as well as gives clarity to well-known principles of organizational performance. As an audio experience, it's an expertly performed, indispensable lesson for anyone involved in running a nonprofit organization. T.W. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 35 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (November 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977326403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977326402
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (251 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a non-profit leader, I've been waiting for this monograph to be published for several months, and Collins did not disappoint.

In a lucid style that only Collins can deliver, he masterfully explains the subtle (but seismic) concepts of good to great for the social sector. Similar to his previous books, he effectively uses a broad array of real-life examples (e.g. the NYPD, a church, the Girl Scouts, the Cleveland Orchestra, a high school science dept), helpful graphics, and a very readable, conversational tone. Even though the monograph is only 31 pages, Collins contributes his clear thinking on numerous issues that will be very familiar to social sector leaders: how to measure success in non-$ metrics, how to recruit and motivate a passionate (and poorly-paid or unpaid) staff, how to think differently about "restricted funds," and how to transcend systemic / external / industry-wide problems. I particularly enjoyed his discussion on "legistative" leadership (versus "executive" leadership in the business world). Collins predicts a dramatic reversal - that one day non-profit leaders, who have mastered legistative leadership, will be wooed away to lead for-profit businesses.

This monograph does stand on its own. However, I think you would have to be fairly familiar with the concepts in Good to Great to fully appreciate its value.

If you are still not convinced, you can also go to his website, jimcollins.com, to read 3-4 pages of snip-its from the monograph.

Regardless, I would recommend this to every social sector leader.
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I have direct experience in the social sector with over twenty-five years as an advisor or board member of several, varied non-profits. "Good to Great and the Social Sectors" resonated with me as it fills a very deep void in social sector leadership guidance.

Recently, one executive newcomer to a non-profit called to tell me she was being told to back off by other executives. She was being perceived as "too businesslike"; she did not understand the non-profit world. I asked her to have these people define "businesslike." She learned that "businesslike" meant expecting people to complete assignments on time and be accountable!!

This attitude, which permeates many non-profits, is one of several targets in "Good to Great and the Social Sectors." In fact, due to the diffuse power structure that exists for most social sector organizations, non-profits need even greater discipline - disciplined planning, disciplined people, disciplined governance, disciplined allocation of resources.

And the culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness.

Non-business leaders in the social sector must operate differently as they do not have the concentrated power of a business CEO. They have a thousand points of no. It is Collins' observation that they require two skill sets - leadership skills and legislative skills - to be successful. And, he believes you will find more true leadership in the social sector as a result.

The book is organized around five issues that need to be addressed for greatness. These are:

Issue One - How do you define great without business metrics?

Issue Two - What is "Level 5 Leadership" in the social sector?

Issue Three - How can you get the right people on the bus?
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Many of us who work in the social sector-in my case the United Methodist Church-were encouraged and inspired by Jim Collins book Good to Great. We worked to adapt the methodology to our work, but some parts didn't fit. Collins realized from the feedback his work was getting that a large number of his readers needed more specific research into their context. This monograph is a first installment in addressing our need.

The underlying principle of the book is that we don't need to impose the language of business on the social sector, but develop a language of greatness. He does this by focusing on five issues that surfaced during the Good to Great research and tweaking them for a different mission and context. They are:

1. Defining Great-How do we calibrate success without business metrics?

2. Level 5 Leadership-Getting things done within a diffuse power structure

3. First Who-Getting the right people on the bus within social sector constraints

4. The Hedgehog Concept-Rethinking the economic engine without a profit motive

5. Turning the Flywheel-Building momentum by building the brand.

The monograph is a first look at applying these five good to great concepts to the social sector. I found it to be exciting, invigorating and one of the best things I've read in a long time. I think this is essential for non-profit leaders-especially church leaders-who want to build great organizations and build accountability within the constraints of structures that we can't change.
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Format: Paperback
I was so encouraged to see this new monograph. I work in a nonprofit and have struggled in applying some of the concepts from the Good to Great book to the nonprofit context. But this simple addition provides clarity and focus.

I really appreciated the balanced view that Jim took regarding how "busines-like" a nonprofit should be. It is so freeing to not have to be like a business but instead shoot for being a disciplined organization. I go back to his comment "Disciplined People - Disciplined Thought - Disciplined Action" constantly and am working to make that a reality in our organization.

Jim Collins impressed me for another reason as well. Instead of coming out with another edition of the book to add this chapter - which would have been much more lucrative - he decided to be a generous mind and share this in the form of a much less expensive monograph. What a help to nonprofits!

A must read if you work with or for nonprofits.
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