Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap - Deepstash
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap

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Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap

by Jim Collins

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Level 5 Leadership

Level 5 leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company. It’s not that Level 5 leaders have no ego or self-interest. Indeed, they are incredibly ambitious— but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution, not themselves.

Level 5 leadership is not just about humility and modesty. It is equally about ferocious resolve, an almost stoic determination to do whatever needs to be done to make the company great.

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The Key To Greatness: Start with the right people, ask them the right questions, and engage them in vigorous debate.

  • To be ruthless means hacking and cutting, especially in difficult times, or wantonly firing people without any thoughtful consideration.
  • To be rigorous means consistently applying exacting standards at all times and at all levels, especially in upper management.

To be rigorous, not ruthless, means that the best people need not worry about their positions and can concentrate fully on their work.

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The moment a leader allows himself to become the primary reality people worry about, rather than reality being the primary reality, you have a recipe for mediocrity, or worse. This is one of the key reasons why less charismatic leaders often produce better long-term results than their more charismatic counterparts.

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  • Lead with questions, not answers. Don’t assume you know what’s best.
  • Engage in dialogue and debate, with no coercion.
  • Conduct autopsies and without blame
  • Build “red flag” mechanisms: If you raise your hand with your red flag, the meeting room will stop for you.

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Spending time and energy trying to “motivate” people is a waste of effort. The real question is not, “How do we motivate our people?” If you have the right people, they will be self-motivated. The key is to not de-motivate them. One of the primary ways to de-motivate people is to ignore the brutal facts of reality.

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The Hedgehog Concept

Hedgehog Concept is a simple, crystalline concept that flows from a deep understanding of the intersection of the following three circles:

  1. What you can be the best in the world at (and, equally important, what you cannot be the best in the world at).
  2. What drives your economic engine.
  3. What you are deeply passionate about.

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  • The good-to-great companies built a consistent system with clear constraints, but they also gave people freedom and responsibility within the framework of that system.
  • They hired self-disciplined people who didn’t need to be managed, and then managed the system, not the people.
  • When you have disciplined people, you don’t need hierarchy.
  • When you have disciplined thought, you don’t need bureaucracy.
  • When you have disciplined action, you don’t need excessive controls.
  • When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of greatness.

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