Book Review – Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t (Jim Collins)
Jim Collins book Good to Great is one of the more quoted books in my recent memory. Lead pastors, managers, CEO’s, business coaches, and others have quoted different concepts from this book to me. After my second time through this book, I understand why.
The Hedgehog principle is a fantastic concept for every organization, non-profit, and start-up to consider. I’m noticing the difference between companies who think with the same clarity as the Hedgehog principle, and the ones who don’t. It’s helped me gain clarity as I’ve worked to build Archway Ink.
Leadership is another passion of mine, and Collins’ concept of the Level 5 leader is well supported. It’s not surprising how much of the good-to-great success can be directly tied to dynamic leadership. Everything rises and falls on leadership, including the good-to-great and comparison companies.
The only caution I have with Good to Great is when it comes to churches. Could many, if not all, of Collins’ principles be applied to ministry? Yes, but be careful. I’ve seen church staff take Collins’ bus analogy and turn it into an almost one-sentence brush-off for people choosing to leave a local church. “Well, it looks like they weren’t the right people on the bus!” Anytime we allow business concepts to be the first response to a spiritual decision, that’s dangerous territory.
Collins and his research team did an outstanding job building this classic. It’s hard to believe Good to Great has been around for almost 15 years now. The fact that people are still referencing its principles is a testament to Collins’ work.
I’d recommend any new startup, CEO, SMB owner, and leader read Good to Great. This quote alone sums up the purpose behind this work…
“…in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you’ve had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed, you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on earth has been well spent, and that it mattered.” (p. 210)