While on holidays I read Jim Collins Good to Great
and it was sensational!
Basically what he does is a rigorous survey of companies that have way excelled in productivity and profit by comparison with other similar companies and asks what makes them great and the others just ‘good’.
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world’s greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.
He states clearly that its a book based on concrete research and empirical data – not what the authors feel might be a good bet.
On that note here is what he has discovered. This might take a while so I’ll do it over a few days. For those of us in churches we could learn a lot from this list…
1. A specific kind of leadership is essential. He calls it ‘level 5 leadership’ characterised by deep humility and indomitable determination.
In several places he used the phrase ‘servant leadership’. Essentially he is saying the leader needs to be one who has low ego needs and sees it as his mission to do what’s best for the company regardless of how it makes him look. The best level 5 leaders are often relative ‘no-bodies’ in terms of fame (I had never heard of the list he mentioned!) but their companies have excelled.
By contrast level 4 leadership relies on the charisma and personality strength of the leader. The end result of level 4 leadership is that when said leader finishes up the company usually experiences a decline in performance. He is ‘the man’. Level 5 leaders make many people great and can disappear leaving a functioning company.
He suggests that if we look for the ‘next great leader’ to come in and rescue us then we will disappointed, but if we find that combination of humility and unswerving determination then we might have a chance.