Friday, November 25, 2005

Good to Great - Jim Collins

What is there left to say about this book? Amazon is showing 406 reviews since it was published in 2001, and I'm sure the rest of the world has said it all. I was given this book to read by our VP of Relocation probably two years ago. She said that a number of people in our company had read the book and she thought it would be helpful to me. It was.

I am regularly asked, "Have you read Good to Great?" This question generally precedes the speaker's introduction of what is the most famous concept of the book: getting the right people on the bus, and getting them in the right seats. It's interesting that in Daniel Pink's book, A Whole New Mind, he has an entire chapter on metaphors. He posits that being able to work in metaphors is going to be one of the necessary skills in this new conceptual age. The bus metaphor in Good to Great is probably the most well known and frequently used business metaphor of the last five years. But with good reason. It does very aptly describe what it takes to build a team. Having the right team is essential to everything else.

There's obviously much more to Good to Great than this one example. The book is well written and thoroughly researched with conclusions supported quantifiable data. The fact that the book has been read by so many people gives a common language (shared metaphors?) to those who want to discuss the concepts Collins introduces. Doesn't everyone want to work for a great rather than a good company? If there is anyone out there who hasn't read this book, you need to catch up. This one is not to be missed.

3 comments:

Val August said...

I totally loved this book. The bus metaphor hit me right between the eyes. I always knew that the principle was correct but I had never thought of it in picture terms or of the order in which things should take place.

I have had some staffing issues in the past and have always held on to people long past the point where I should have fired them. Mainly, because I believed that I needed to have someone in place first. What an idiot I was! First, I suffered through the reprecussions of such poor performers. Secondly, I had to justify why I was keeping them. Not good for one's credibility.

From this book, I was taught a valuable lesson. Never let the right person go even if you don't have the right seat on the bus for them at the time. You will eventually have that seat, but you may never get that talented person to fill it if you passed them by.

It was also confirmed for me that leadership is never about you. It is always about your employees. I have believed that you are born wired as a leader and that life's experiences and your attention to them mold you into an even better leader. You cannot create a leader, you can only improve one.

Great leadership is about the heart factor and the gut instinct and a lot less about the hoopla a big name draws as this book attests to.

If you haven't read it, you must.

Val August said...

I totally loved this book. The bus metaphor hit me right between the eyes. I always knew that the principle was correct but I had never thought of it in picture terms or of the order in which things should take place.

I have had some staffing issues in the past and have always held on to people long past the point where I should have fired them. Mainly, because I believed that I needed to have someone in place first. What an idiot I was! First, I suffered through the reprecussions of such poor performers. Secondly, I had to justify why I was keeping them. Not good for one's credibility.

From this book, I was taught a valuable lesson. Never let the right person go even if you don't have the right seat on the bus for them at the time. You will eventually have that seat, but you may never get that talented person to fill it if you passed them by.

It was also confirmed for me that leadership is never about you. It is always about your employees. I have believed that you are born wired as a leader and that life's experiences and your attention to them mold you into an even better leader. You cannot create a leader, you can only improve one.

Great leadership is about the heart factor and the gut instinct and a lot less about the hoopla a big name draws as this book attests to.

If you haven't read it, you must.

12:00 PM

Val August said...

Well obviously, I am new at this posting as I ended up posting it twice. I will get this process down, not to worry. If I could delete the second one I would:)