Mark and Mike -

thanks for adding this new resource to the site. I'm sure it will be a place where many will come for information and camaraderie.

I was wondering if either of you - or anyone here - has had the chance to read Jim Collins' book [u]Good to Great[/u] and, if so, what are your thoughts on it.

I'm also in the middle of Drucker's TEE and understand now what you are talking about everytime you mention his insight's into business and management.

Again, gentlemen, thank you for all you do!


MikeK's picture

hey dman, I've read G2G about 6 months ago and I personally really enjoyed it. It was one of the first business oriented books I've read and Jim Collins does an excellent job of homing in on what has historically been involved in turning a company from good to great. He basis everything not on common sense like some other authors but real statistics for thorough research on companies that have had sustained market performance for at least 15 years after some measurable transistion point.

His outline of leadership levels and many of the justified reasons he has from the research are REALLY common in the workplace but seem to have a little more emphasis with some real numbers attached from the studies (OK, I'm an analytical person so that helps me!). Being in a high growth company myself, a lot of points were easy to correlate to my workplace and understand why or how it could be turned from good to great. Now, doing this is a different story!!

Its an easy read and quite interesting. The only bad thing I have to say about the book is that some chapters were very heavy on the stats and fairly repetitive but I'd definitely recommend it.

I'm just starting Drucker's TEE myself, and really enjoying it! This book is packed with stuff, I am finding a chapter at a time is all I can take. Where, G2G was a straight through read.

Good luck, hope that helps!

bflynn's picture

I read Good To Great about a year ago, maybe two. There are some really good ideas in there, but I have to agree with Mark that they're not going to be timeless books.

With that said, I do highly recommend both of Collins' books. We had a CEO that attempted to implement the strategic plan outlined there. The jury is still out on how well its working...


Mark's picture
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Most people talk about other people.

Many people talk about things.

Great people talk about ideas.

Keep it up!


dman's picture

Hey guys -

thanks for replies. I just finished listening to the book today and really enjoyed it. I'm told that the audio offers a bit more than the book and he goes beyond the text and explains a bit more in depth on some the principles.

The 'Hedgehog' concept that he discusses really just makes sense to me and the data seems to speak for itself. Collins also mentions that Drucker is one of his idols and Drucker is quoted on the back cover of the book offering his endorsement of the book so I think it can be said that this may be a book to keep around.


Anonymous's picture

Regardless of Druckers opinion on the book I thought it was good read. The book is great for the work on the CEO alone and I also like the emphasis on well rounded development and the cultivation of the team around you.

Rather than building an empire of responsibilities I have become far more focused on working to get great people on my team and develop the heck out of them so that when they leave me to become managers themselves a great standard is set for the next person and they work hard to raise it. It frees my hands to take on the really huge goals that set my team apart from the others. It makes us all look great and feel even better.


esanthony's picture

I am currently reading GTG and find many of its themes helpful. In the current turnaround situation I am in we have had to make some significant layoffs and the advice on getting the wrong people off the bus and the right people on was particularly helpful in making some of the difficult decisions.

craignkzoo's picture

Lots of insight. I also enjoyed built to last. Perhaps read built to last first.

kklogic's picture

You may want to also check out the monolith "Good to Great in the Social Sector." I oddly got more out of that because it showed examples of G2G principles in places where people were not necessarily in charge of the entire organization (i.e. a math department head who made that department great).

madamos's picture
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I read G2G about a year ago. It was a good read, with interesting stories about the companies. There are two key ideas I picked up from the book.

1) Great companies hire and retain great people. I think the phrase from the book was "get on the bus". This echos in a way one of the Horstman Laws "It's all about people". Hire great people and you will have a key ingredient for being great.

2) Beware of the one-man CEO. If the CEO is a great leader, he will make sure that there are others in the company that can replace him. Many of the companies profiled had major issues after a "star" CEO left.


jhbchina's picture

For those of you that are wondering what the book is about, here is a review I wrote for a magazine in China.

Whether it’s looking for a job, or making a stock purchase, everyone wants to be a part of a great company. Likewise, no company would ever admit that they don’t have a clue of what they are doing? I remember working for the latter and it was no fun. Well thanks to Jim Collins book “Good to Great” you have a new way to view what makes a company average, good or great.

Mr. Collins and his research team sorted through over 20 years of business records and performed countless hours of senior management interviews for publicly traded companies to see if they could find a common denominator to what made a company great. They looked at thousands of companies. Their hard work identified eleven companies that are great, and the common characteristics that they each have.

Mr. Collins broke these traits down into five principles:
 Level Five Leadership
 First Who, Then What
 Confront the brutal fact
 Hedgehog Concept
 Building your company’s vision

Using these five principles Mr. Collins elaborates on the each these concepts and uses real world examples of how the eleven great companies in his study used them. Mr. Collins research reveled that great companies don’t spring up over night, and in fact it takes over 10 years to become great. His book also shows how similar companies in the same industry with the same market position failed to achieve greatness. Mr. Collins also notes that any company that lacked any of these five core principles could not achieve greatness. This book also shows how companies that were on the road to greatness lost their advantage when they lost just one of these core principles.

Reading this book will allow you to look inside your company and allow you to determine if these principles exist, and how you can begin to help turn your company or your direct team into a great one. Though it may be hard to find this book in China, Jim’s website is the next best thing to having the book. It is full of oral and written stories on his enlightening research.

eagerApprentice's picture

Excellent review jhbchina.

I read this book a few years ago and fell in love with it. I read "Built to Last" directly afterwards but found G2G to quite a bit better - I'd say if you only have time to read one, this one is the one to read.

It's quite insightful and full of real examples you can relate to... I enjoyed bouncing the hedgehog concept off all of my professors. :wink:

bflynn's picture

I think that one of the reason's Jim Collins' work rings so true is that he and his team didn't start with conclusions in mind, then attempt to prove them. They started with raw data and then built a model onto what they found in the data. Because of that, I believe his model is better than average and very important to consider when implementing strategic level change.

I'm not sure it will be a classic, but it will always be useful.


fab5freddy's picture

I liked this book a lot and thought that it was very valuable business book. It’s should be a classic for the following reasons:
1. Based on in-depth research project conducted by reputable author and institute which looked at fortune 500 and data from over 50 years as it’s complete data set
2. How the conclusions were reached is explained and areas of weakness highlighted
3. Give reasonable action plan based on conclusions
4. Doesn’t promise any quick fixes, or silver bullets.

Sadly it will be unlikely to be a mainstream classic for the following reasons:
1. Results may take years to see
2. You may not get it right
3. It offers no quick fixes.
4. And most importantly it make a point about how hard it is to be a “level 5 leader” – there is no warm fuzzy feeling reading that part of the book.

Ulimately it’s an amazing book and a must read/listen (as audio book is great and reasonably priced ) though you may to achieve greatness the principles should make improvements to you and your company.

[url= to Great on CD[/url]

hagamanp's picture

I greatly enjoyed this book as well and found an interview between Charlie Rose and Jim Collins in regards to this book on YouTube a while back. I would encourage any who are interested in this topic to watch it. I found it to be a great supplement to the book.

Hope this helps

hagamanp's picture

I greatly enjoyed this book as well and found an interview between Charlie Rose and Jim Collins in regards to this book on YouTube a while back. I would encourage any who are interested in this topic to watch it. I found it to be a great supplement to the book.

Hope this helps

hagamanp's picture

I greatly enjoyed this book as well and found an interview between Charlie Rose and Jim Collins in regards to this book on YouTube a while back. I would encourage any who are interested in this topic to watch it. I found it to be a great supplement to the book.

Hope this helps!