Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap.. and Others Don't
|Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leapů and Others Don't
by Jim Collins
By Jim Collins
Reviewed by Jag Minhas, chief architect of a London-based European mobile Internet company
I was given this book by a management consultant after a recent corporate change event. The problem with most business management books in my experience is that the key theme is often fashioned around urgently evangelised opinion backed up by carefully selected case studies. All too often I get left with a feeling of "yes but ..." or "why?". This is a major problem for IT practitioners - as there appears to be no hard logic or evidence behind the evangelism.
So this book would have ended up on my bookshelf gathering dust alongside other management consulting texts by Hammer, Peters, Drucker etc. But I had the good fortune of opening it up on my bus journey home one day and discovered that this book was different!
The story starts with Collins recalling a conversation that he had with the CEO of McKinsey about a previous book by Collins called Built to Last in which Collins analyses a handful of American companies that have sustained "greatness" over the years.
The McKinsey CEO says of the book: "Unfortunately, it's useless". The reason being that most companies are not "great" - they are just "good" - and what people really want to know is how companies go from being just "good" to "great". This troubled Collins and motivated him to assemble a team of 15 skilled researchers who worked for 5 years to identify not a handful of "great" companies, but instead, a handful of companies that demonstrated an irrefutable transition from being just "good" to being "great". The method, analyses and results are presented in this book.
After filtering out hundreds of American companies - Collins and his team describe how they applied very strict rules in the definition of "greatness" (mostly based around stock market performance) and arrived at just 11 companies that transitioned from good to great over a 15 year period. The team then performs a deep dive into trying to understand what it was about these companies that they all have in common.
Collins describes how many heated debates within his team ensued as they tirelessly worked to remove any emotion from the analysis - and stick to the rules of hard logic in trying to determine the common traits exhibited by the good to great companies.
The results are fascinating, insightful and very well described in a sometimes colourful writing style. There were occasions when I just couldn't put the book down! In some cases the results are obvious and intuitive - but for the most compelling thing about this book is that they are clearly set out on the basis of evidence and facts - not whim and fashion - and they could apply to ANY type or size of organisation or team (e.g. sports team, school class etc.) - not necessarily just companies or corporations.
For sure - every CEO (and future CEO) should read this book!
More reviews :
Have you read a good book recently that is topical and useful? If you'd like to share your review, do write in to us. The review should be between 300-400 words.
Email this article | Respond to this article