Inside the Black Box

Jim Collins from his book Good To Great talks about why some companies make a leap while others do not and what distinguishes them.

This is a summary of the key important things I learnt from chapter one and two.

Good is the enemy of great. Most of the time we are surrounded by good things and just few of great things. It is super easy to settle for good and not attain great. Most companies never become great precisely because majority become quite good.

Great companies do not focus principally on what they should do to become great but also on what they should not do or stop doing and they act upon this immediately.

Technology can accelerate transformation but technology cannot cause transformation. Technology itself is not a root cause of either greatness or decline. Greatness is not a function of circumstance but rather a matter of conscious choice. Therefore, it is the people in the organization who are responsible for any transformation that takes place.

For the great companies, they first consider who….then what. Focusing on getting the right people on the bus, the wrong off it, then place the right people on their right seats. Even for startups, the right people are your most important asset and once you have them then you can figure your direction or roadmap.

It is important to maintain faith as well as have the discipline to confront brutal facts about your current realities.

Most companies have culture, some have discipline but only a few have both which makes them companies with the culture of discipline. With disciplined people you do not need hierarchical management, provide them with the right tools and they can achieve great performance.

Level 5 leadership

Level 5 is the highest level in the hierarchy of executives capabilities that Jim and his team identified during their research.

Leaders in this level focus mainly on the larger goal of building their companies and put their ego aside.

When things go well, great leaders look beyond and out of the window to apportion credit to the factors or people that enabled them do great. Alternatively, when things go bad, these leaders do not look out for people to blame but rather look in the mirror and own up their responsibilities.

Leaders in level 5 set standards for building great companies and never settle for anything less than that. They as well channel their ambitions, for their successors even for greater success for the next generations.

Great companies and leaders are associated with situations where extraordinary results exist but where no individual steps forth to claim excess credit.

One of the most unexpected finding by Jim and his team was that, level 5 leaders attribute much of their success to good luck rather than their own personal greatness!

You can accomplish anything in life provided we do not mind who gets the credit -Harry S. Truman

This is just a take away from the two chapters. Feel free to challenge and we can all explore together as we dig through the next chapters…

#Beyond Possibilities #Good To Great