In small business, “good” is rarely good enough. Even with sound business knowledge and finely honed leadership skills, you’re still going to struggle to grow your company. Making that difficult leap to the big leagues takes careful planning and a deep understanding of your industry. However, you don’t have to go it alone. Any serious entrepreneur should arm themselves with Jim Collins’ magnum opus, “Good to Great.”
A titan in both business and intellectual circles, best-selling author Jim Collins should need little introduction. He’s an alumnus and former faculty member of the Stanford School of Business, and he built his reputation using painstaking market research to reshape our fundamental understanding of how businesses succeed.
1 Book, 1 Purpose
“Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t” is a book with a singular purpose. As the name suggests, Collin’s most famous work focuses on how good businesses ascend to become household names. The book doesn’t rely much on personal anecdotes or popular wisdom. Instead, “Good to Great” uses years of research on the history of hundreds of elite companies to deliver tangible advice with machine precision.
7 Steps To Great
Armed with this data, Collins presents us with 7 key factors shared by companies that “made the leap” to greatness. For example, he introduces the idea of “First Who, Then What.” Through blunt, often humorous prose, Collins argues that entrepreneurs must focus on hiring the right people before committing to any long-term business strategies. Ultimately, you have to get everyone seated on the bus before you decide where you’re going.
Going Whole Hedgehog
Collins and his research team also investigate how leadership qualities factor into greatness. Through what they’ve labeled “The Hedgehog Concept,” they point out that most great leaders share a quality ancient Greek myth attributed to the little critters. Rather than knowing many small truths, hedgehogs know one great Truth. The ability of leaders to see how every facet of their business fits into the bigger picture is an invaluable part of finding success.
The ultimate message of “Good to Great” can be boiled down to “Look before you leap.” Greatness is not accidental, and it’s not guaranteed. Making the leap takes conscious effort, a great team at your back, and savvy leadership. For the small percentage of business owners who don’t already have this seminal work on their bookshelf, get reading.