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Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't Hardcover – Oct 4 2001


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Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't + Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies + The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Business; 1 edition (Oct. 4 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0066620996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0066620992
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.7 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (315 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Five years ago, Jim Collins asked the question, "Can a good company become a great company and if so, how?" In Good to Great Collins, the author of Built to Last, concludes that it is possible, but finds there are no silver bullets. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11--including Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens, and Wells Fargo--and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. Making the transition from good to great doesn't require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not so great, the book offers a well-reasoned road map to excellence that any organization would do well to consider. Like Built to Last, Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading for years to come. --Harry C. Edwards

From Publishers Weekly

In what Collins terms a prequel to the bestseller Built to Last he wrote with Jerry Porras, this worthwhile effort explores the way good organizations can be turned into ones that produce great, sustained results. To find the keys to greatness, Collins's 21-person research team (at his management research firm) read and coded 6,000 articles, generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts and created 384 megabytes of computer data in a five-year project. That Collins is able to distill the findings into a cogent, well-argued and instructive guide is a testament to his writing skills. After establishing a definition of a good-to-great transition that involves a 10-year fallow period followed by 15 years of increased profits, Collins's crew combed through every company that has made the Fortune 500 (approximately 1,400) and found 11 that met their criteria, including Walgreens, Kimberly Clark and Circuit City. At the heart of the findings about these companies' stellar successes is what Collins calls the Hedgehog Concept, a product or service that leads a company to outshine all worldwide competitors, that drives a company's economic engine and that a company is passionate about. While the companies that achieved greatness were all in different industries, each engaged in versions of Collins's strategies. While some of the overall findings are counterintuitive (e.g., the most effective leaders are humble and strong-willed rather than outgoing), many of Collins's perspectives on running a business are amazingly simple and commonsense. This is not to suggest, however, that executives at all levels wouldn't benefit from reading this book; after all, only 11 companies managed to figure out how to change their B grade to an A on their own.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Peter Hupalo on May 16 2002
Format: Hardcover
At 210 pages, "Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap and Others Don't" reads very quickly (The last section of "Good To Great" consists of many notes and appendices). The core of the book emphasizes what Collins refers to as a 'hedgehog' strategy that is necessary to achieve greatness. I'm not sure why a 'hedgehog' is necessary to explain such a simple strategy. But, I guess we can live with the rodent analogy.
Collins says great companies are like hedgehogs in that they stick to what they know and can do well. Collins says when a fox attacks a hedgehog the hedgehog curls into a prickly ball and the attacking fox must leave it alone. Then, the fox runs around and tries another point of attack and never learns. The hedgehogs only needs to do one thing that works well and consistently.
In short, after much research and writing, Collins finds the key to business success is functioning within the intersection of three circles.
The first circle represents an endeavor at which your company has the potential to be the best in the world. The second circle represents what your company can feel passionate about. The third circle represents a measure of profitability that can drive your economic success. You must choose to do something that's profitable and know how to focus upon that profitability.
To find the circles, Collins makes the excellent point that you must begin with the right people. Collins emphasizes that the people must come before you decide exactly how your company will achieve success.
We learn that in great companies there is often heated debate about what's best for the company. The culture of great companies is open in the sense that the truth will be heard.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Todd Hudnall on May 23 2002
Format: Hardcover
If you liked Jim Collins' book, "Built to Last," you will love his follow up called, "Good to Great." This is one of those rare cases, where the sequel is actually better than the original. "Good to Great" is more than a business book. It is a book with principles applicable to many aspects of life. Collins challenges his readers to aspire to greatness rather than the mediocrity of being good. He says, "Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life."
In Collins' study to be considered "great," a company's stock had to earn more than triple the general stock market for fifteen consecutive years. The research found seven keys common with the eleven companies, which were able to make the "Good to Great" transition:
1. LEVEL FIVE LEADERSHIP - They had leaders who were a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.
2. FIRST WHO...THEN WHAT - People are not the most important asset. The right people are.
3. CONFRONT THE BRUTAL FACTS - They maintained unwavering faith that they would prevail in the end, and at the same time the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of the current reality.
4. THE HEDGEHOG CONCEPT - Their core business was that at which they could be the best in the world.
5. THE CULTURE OF DISCIPLINE - When a company employs disciplined people hierarchy, bureaucracy, and excessive controls are not necessary.
6. TECHNOLOGY ACCELERATORS - Technology by itself is never a primary, root cause of either greatness or decline.
7. THE FLYWHEEL AND THE DOOM LOOP - Good-to-great transformation never happened in one fell swoop but as a relentless push to breakthrough and beyond.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Piché on March 30 2008
Format: Hardcover
Good to Great is a new and different research on the forces that drive change in all types of organizations. Written in textbook style, Jim Collins' book aims to help the reader bring his organization from a good (read average) level of performance to a great one by presenting and analyzing the case of a dozen Forbes 500 companies that have achieved the deed.

According to Good to Great, the first step in achieving greatness lies in the selection of a special, ``Level 5'', manager who will install a climate of passion, debate and performance in his company while remaining modest. Other important factors in becoming great are a management that analyzes and believes in data, a culture of discipline inside the company, a well-defined and well-applied business concept and the creation of a talent-pool. Overall, Jim Collins doesn't invent any new concepts, but shows the importance of basic management ideas in an easy-to-follow manner.

Good to Great concepts are always made recognizable to the reader (by the means of special formatting) and a summary at the end of every chapter enables the reader to quickly grasp the main ideas. The actual text is mostly filled with examples of companies that have successfully or unsuccessfully applied the findings of the author and his research team.

Personally, I have found this book to be very easily applicable in any sort of teamwork. Jim Collins does a good job of condensing the information and saying only what is necessary. This book is often criticized because the chosen companies may have benefitted from a random factor, but I was satisfied with the answers the book gives to these critics. An enjoyable piece of writing I rank as ``great''!
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