Reviews

Good To Great

Posted on in Advanced

Jim Collins, already established as one of the most influential management consultants, further established his credibility with the wildly popular Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, originally published in 2001. The book went on to be one of the bestsellers in the genre, and it is now widely regarded as a modern classic of management theory.
Collins takes up a daunting challenge in the book: identifying and evaluating the factors and variables that allow a small fraction of companies to make the transition from merely good to truly great. ‘Great,’ an admittedly subjective term, is operationally defined according to a number of metrics, including, specifically, financial performance that exceeded the market average by several orders of magnitude over a sustained period of time. Using these criteria, Collins and his research team exhaustively catalogued the business literature, identifying a handful of companies that fulfilled their predetermined criteria for greatness. Then, the defining characteristics that differentiated these ‘great’ firms from their competitors were quantified and analyzed.
The resulting data are presented in Good to Great in compelling detail. Over the course of 9 chapters, Collins addresses a number of management, personnel, and operational practices, behaviors, and attitudes that are both conducive and antithetical to the good-to-great transition. One overarching theme that links together virtually all of Collins’ arguments is the need to define a narrowly focused objective and field of competency and then focus all of the company’s resources toward that area of strength. Repeatedly, Collins warns that straying too far from a company’s established strengths is inimical to the attainment of greatness. Finally, Collins links the findings of Good to Great to the conclusions he reached in his previous book, Built to Last, which focused on the factors that define companies that survive in the long-term, meshing both sets of results into an overarching framework for enduring success.

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