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Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't Hardcover – Unabridged, October 16, 2001
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Five years ago, Jim Collins asked the question, "Can a good company become a great company and if so, how?" In Good to Great Collins, the author of Built to Last, concludes that it is possible, but finds there are no silver bullets. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11--including Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens, and Wells Fargo--and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. Making the transition from good to great doesn't require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not so great, the book offers a well-reasoned road map to excellence that any organization would do well to consider. Like Built to Last, Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading for years to come. --Harry C. Edwards
From Publishers Weekly
In what Collins terms a prequel to the bestseller Built to Last he wrote with Jerry Porras, this worthwhile effort explores the way good organizations can be turned into ones that produce great, sustained results. To find the keys to greatness, Collins's 21-person research team (at his management research firm) read and coded 6,000 articles, generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts and created 384 megabytes of computer data in a five-year project. That Collins is able to distill the findings into a cogent, well-argued and instructive guide is a testament to his writing skills. After establishing a definition of a good-to-great transition that involves a 10-year fallow period followed by 15 years of increased profits, Collins's crew combed through every company that has made the Fortune 500 (approximately 1,400) and found 11 that met their criteria, including Walgreens, Kimberly Clark and Circuit City. At the heart of the findings about these companies' stellar successes is what Collins calls the Hedgehog Concept, a product or service that leads a company to outshine all worldwide competitors, that drives a company's economic engine and that a company is passionate about. While the companies that achieved greatness were all in different industries, each engaged in versions of Collins's strategies. While some of the overall findings are counterintuitive (e.g., the most effective leaders are humble and strong-willed rather than outgoing), many of Collins's perspectives on running a business are amazingly simple and commonsense. This is not to suggest, however, that executives at all levels wouldn't benefit from reading this book; after all, only 11 companies managed to figure out how to change their B grade to an A on their own.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is still, form my point of view, a great book to read as there are many things that are very useful. Jim references the UCLA bruins winning a NCAA championship and remarking that even though their coach John Wooden was a legend he had coached the team for 15 years before their first championship. Greatness takes time to mold and create and doesn’t happen over night. What I took as some of the best advice, “…every good-to-great transformation followed the same basic pattern – accumulating momentum, turn by turn of the flywheel – until buildup transformed into breakthrough.” The book is filled with many motivational and good forms of advice to follow which can in fact help drive a good company to greatness.
“A Hedgehog Concept is not a goal to be the best, as strategy to be the best, an intention to be the best, a plan to be the best. It is an understanding of what you can be the best at.”
1. What you can be the best in the world at
2. What drives your economic engine
3. What you are deeply passionate about
And concept of technology accelerator:
“The good-to-great companies used technology as an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it. None of the good-to-great companies began their transformations with pioneering technology, yet they all became pioneers in the application of technology once they grasped how it fit with their three circles and after they hit breakthrough.”
The most fascinating concept, however, is a concept, which is cornerstone of any greatness and is depicted as ‘the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus.’ If we can explain and understand ‘what’ before ‘why’, it puts the company and leaders on the right track to greatness:
“Stop and think about it for a minute. What do the right people want more than almost anything else? They want to be part of a winning team. They want to contribute to producing visible, tangible results.”
Continue reading at www.alwayskeepgrowing.com
If you are a leader or desire to be one, this is a must read. He speaks to much more than just trends, but to actual character. As a fairly charismatic person, I found it interesting to see some of the downsides of charisma. I really appreciated his approach to discussing the power of clarity and consistency.
Now that I've read the book, I see it's themes running through so many other books like, "Start With Why". This is a classic and I can not recommend it highly enough.