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Good To Great And The Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great [Paperback]

Jim Collins
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 9 2006

Building upon the concepts introduced in Good to Great, Jim Collins answers the most commonly asked questions raised by his readers in the social sectors. Using information gathered from interviews with over 100 social sector leaders, Jim Collins shows that his "Level 5 Leader" and other good-to-great principles can help social sector organizations make the leap to greatness.

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Good To Great And The Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great + Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't + Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
Price For All Three: CDN$ 51.30

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About the Author

Jim Collins is author or coauthor of six books that have sold in total more than ten million copies worldwide, including the bestsellers Good to Great, Built to Last, and How the Mighty Fall. Jim began his research and teaching career on the faculty at Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992. He now operates a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, where he conducts research, teaches, and consults with executives from the corporate and social sectors.

From AudioFile

Collins provides a rigorous analysis of how to apply business performance principles to the nonprofit sector of the economy. In these social sector organizations, in which the objectives are not primarily monetary, superior results depend on attracting talent and money and creating the brand momentum these agencies need to create the social good they intend. The author is a natural and perky narrator of this important little book--he's proud, enthusiastic, urgent, yet he charms his listeners rather than preaching or pushing them to buy into his ideas. This is a thinking person's piece that delivers new insights as well as gives clarity to well-known principles of organizational performance. As an audio experience, it's an expertly performed, indispensable lesson for anyone involved in running a nonprofit organization. T.W. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good to Great Social Sectors Nov. 26 2010
By Ann H
Oustanding. only 34 pages and he makes is points very clearly. I really liked the original Good to Great but this fits the sector that I work in and will help many/
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good work June 20 2006
Collins does a superb job in this book. He has very provocative ideas on how to improve the public sector, which is all needed. Maybe his scope can be expanded, for, in so many nations, the social sectors are badly performaning. Especially in developing nations like China and India, such work is urgently needed. To understand about the larger issue, I recommend one nice book: China's global reach: markets, multinationals, and globalization by a Chinese journalist George Zhibin Gu, which reveals that there is so much to be done in the Chinese public sector, among other issues.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just wish it was longer with more case studies Jan. 6 2008
A tremendous little volume. I'm especially intrigued by Collins' suggestion that business leaders may have more to learn from the social sector than the other way around, in a multi-stakeholder era where leadership-by-command is eroding. A nice antidote to the claim that governments and the social sector should be run like a business.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  165 reviews
180 of 182 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Collins does it again Dec 3 2005
By hospitaltony - Published on
As a non-profit leader, I've been waiting for this monograph to be published for several months, and Collins did not disappoint.

In a lucid style that only Collins can deliver, he masterfully explains the subtle (but seismic) concepts of good to great for the social sector. Similar to his previous books, he effectively uses a broad array of real-life examples (e.g. the NYPD, a church, the Girl Scouts, the Cleveland Orchestra, a high school science dept), helpful graphics, and a very readable, conversational tone. Even though the monograph is only 31 pages, Collins contributes his clear thinking on numerous issues that will be very familiar to social sector leaders: how to measure success in non-$ metrics, how to recruit and motivate a passionate (and poorly-paid or unpaid) staff, how to think differently about "restricted funds," and how to transcend systemic / external / industry-wide problems. I particularly enjoyed his discussion on "legistative" leadership (versus "executive" leadership in the business world). Collins predicts a dramatic reversal - that one day non-profit leaders, who have mastered legistative leadership, will be wooed away to lead for-profit businesses.

This monograph does stand on its own. However, I think you would have to be fairly familiar with the concepts in Good to Great to fully appreciate its value.

If you are still not convinced, you can also go to his website,, to read 3-4 pages of snip-its from the monograph.

Regardless, I would recommend this to every social sector leader.
84 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Challenges for Non-Profits to Achieve Greatness Aug. 12 2006
By Thomas M. Loarie - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have direct experience in the social sector with over twenty-five years as an advisor or board member of several, varied non-profits. "Good to Great and the Social Sectors" resonated with me as it fills a very deep void in social sector leadership guidance.

Recently, one executive newcomer to a non-profit called to tell me she was being told to back off by other executives. She was being perceived as "too businesslike"; she did not understand the non-profit world. I asked her to have these people define "businesslike." She learned that "businesslike" meant expecting people to complete assignments on time and be accountable!!

This attitude, which permeates many non-profits, is one of several targets in "Good to Great and the Social Sectors." In fact, due to the diffuse power structure that exists for most social sector organizations, non-profits need even greater discipline - disciplined planning, disciplined people, disciplined governance, disciplined allocation of resources.

And the culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness.

Non-business leaders in the social sector must operate differently as they do not have the concentrated power of a business CEO. They have a thousand points of no. It is Collins' observation that they require two skill sets - leadership skills and legislative skills - to be successful. And, he believes you will find more true leadership in the social sector as a result.

The book is organized around five issues that need to be addressed for greatness. These are:

Issue One - How do you define great without business metrics?

Issue Two - What is "Level 5 Leadership" in the social sector?

Issue Three - How can you get the right people on the bus?

Issue Four - How do you apply the Hedgehog Concept (attaining piercing clarity about how to produce the best long-term results) without a profit motive?

Issue Five - How do you use brand to build momentum?

Great societies have both great business sectors and great social sectors. With this in mind, Collins was motivated to write this book. He realized that it was not simply good enough for him to focus on a great business sector but also on a great social sector. He has done us a service. We will gain as a society if all who work with or for non-profits read and apply the lessons of this excellent monograph.
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars extremely helpful March 22 2006
By J. Johnson - Published on
Many of us who work in the social sector-in my case the United Methodist Church-were encouraged and inspired by Jim Collins book Good to Great. We worked to adapt the methodology to our work, but some parts didn't fit. Collins realized from the feedback his work was getting that a large number of his readers needed more specific research into their context. This monograph is a first installment in addressing our need.

The underlying principle of the book is that we don't need to impose the language of business on the social sector, but develop a language of greatness. He does this by focusing on five issues that surfaced during the Good to Great research and tweaking them for a different mission and context. They are:

1. Defining Great-How do we calibrate success without business metrics?

2. Level 5 Leadership-Getting things done within a diffuse power structure

3. First Who-Getting the right people on the bus within social sector constraints

4. The Hedgehog Concept-Rethinking the economic engine without a profit motive

5. Turning the Flywheel-Building momentum by building the brand.

The monograph is a first look at applying these five good to great concepts to the social sector. I found it to be exciting, invigorating and one of the best things I've read in a long time. I think this is essential for non-profit leaders-especially church leaders-who want to build great organizations and build accountability within the constraints of structures that we can't change.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Critical Resource May 3 2006
By Jonathan Hirst - Published on
I was so encouraged to see this new monograph. I work in a nonprofit and have struggled in applying some of the concepts from the Good to Great book to the nonprofit context. But this simple addition provides clarity and focus.

I really appreciated the balanced view that Jim took regarding how "busines-like" a nonprofit should be. It is so freeing to not have to be like a business but instead shoot for being a disciplined organization. I go back to his comment "Disciplined People - Disciplined Thought - Disciplined Action" constantly and am working to make that a reality in our organization.

Jim Collins impressed me for another reason as well. Instead of coming out with another edition of the book to add this chapter - which would have been much more lucrative - he decided to be a generous mind and share this in the form of a much less expensive monograph. What a help to nonprofits!

A must read if you work with or for nonprofits.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A helpful addition to "Good to Great" Feb. 23 2007
By Chad Oberholtzer - Published on
Having read (and enthusiastically enjoyed) Jim Collins' "Good to Great" several months ago and working on a church staff, I was pleased to discover that he wrote this monograph to draw together the conclusions of that wonderful business book and the non-business world. I found this addition to be most helpful.

As with all of Collins' writing, this monograph is extremely accessible. He writes at a very intellectual level without getting overly technical. He presents the basic premise that not everything in "Good to Great" is broadly applicable outside the business world.

For instance, the difference between the executive authority that business leaders have is starkly contrasted with the legislative authority that leaders have in the social sector. Because I work almost exclusively with volunteers within the church, this distinction is important and obvious to me.

He also mentions that issues related to resources are more complicated than the relatively simplistic economic factors that exist in business. Instead, social organizations need to consider all of the available resources, which includes people and time in addition to money.

Despite these and other distinctions that Collins draws between the business world and the social sector, it is interesting to note that the overall principles of "Good to Great" remain valid. For instance, the concept of Level 5 leadership remains prescriptive for high-performing leaders outside of business.

His concluding thoughts are very insightful and instructive. In short, he suggests that the transition from good to great happens in business and outside of business. For my context, though the church may bring to bear particular difficulties and constraints, so does each and every institution. The principles of greatness are common across all organizations, even if they might look slightly different. In his words, "greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline." There is valuable wisdom in those words for those of us who work outside the business community. My one and only complaint about this resource is its price for a mere 30 pages. Nonetheless, just as I recommended the book, I would encourage anyone interested in being part of a great institution, regardless of the setting, to read this monograph.
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