Good yourself: humility or will? There is a
Good to Great Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Other Don’t “Good to Great” is an exploration into the key factors that have transformed good companies into great companies (Collins, 2001). The book works from empirical data to build a fact based theory while urging the reader to remain impartial and to draw his/her conclusion based on the evidence presented. It identifies the key characteristics unique to 11 companies (Abbott, Circuit City, Fannie Mae, Gillette, Kimberly-Clark, Kroger, Nucor, Philip Morris, Pitney-Bowes, Walgreens, and Wells Fargo) that have transitioned from good to great and sustained greatness for at least 15 years.Collins has broken down the findings of his team into a multi-phased concept that details the entire process: Level 5 Leadership, First Who…Then What, Confront the Brutal Facts (Yet Never Lose Faith), The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity Within Circle Three), A Culture of Discipline, Technology Accelerators, The Flywheel and the Doom Loop, and From Good to Great to Built to Last. 1.
0 Level 5 Leadership Which is harder to cultivate within yourself: humility or will? There is a saying that I’ve often heard in professional settings, “Smart leaders surround themselves with smart people. Level 5 leaders are extremely humble in that they attribute the success of the organization to external factors, giving credit to their team, or undefined factors such as luck. However, when the organization experiences negative results these leaders contribute the cause to internal factors pointing the finger at him/her self. However, these leaders have incredible resolve in the face of adversity. They are risk takers, willing to discontinue long held traditional products or services, moving the organization into a new direction with new products or services to advance the organization.
Level 5 leaders were described as “plow horses” in comparison to good leaders who were described as “show horses. ” Level 5 leaders are willing to get in the trenches and get the work do, but shy away from standing in the spotlight accepting notoriety. In my experience, working under the leadership of someone that is more concerned with the success of the whole instead of obtaining individual praise, has propelled the group to work more diligently for a shared goal. Yet, within me it is a constant challenge to cultivate humility. In my work environment, eam work is normal and we often work toward shared goals. However, individual accomplishments are what is evaluated for promotions, raises, and performance reviews. After reading, “Good to Great” I have a renewed appreciation for the benefits of humility.
Humility creates the willingness of others to work toward a shared vision. While there is no data available to give a step-by-step method to obtaining Level 5 Leadership skills; the humility exemplified by Level 5 leaders have left me wanting to grow into the shoes of this commendable leadership style. 2. 0 Who First?If compensation is not the primary driver for the right people on the bus, then what are the primary elements in getting and keeping the right people on the bus? What role does compensation play? The right people are those with the morals and need for success that anything short is unacceptable. In many of these companies the right people weren’t always those with the most impressive credentials, but were those qualified with the right attitude. The culture of the great companies is one that provides cohesion, friendships, and makes work enjoyable because the right people are on the bus.
One Wells Fargo executive stated, “The only way to deliver to the people who are achieving is to not burden them with the people who are not achieving” (Collins, 2011, pg. 53). This statement sums up perfectly the strategy exhibited by Level 5 leaders; regardless of the direction, mission, or problems the company may face; the fortitude of the right people will adjust and overcome to meet opposition with rigorous perseverance. This does not mean that compensation is not important because it is needed, but for different reasons.With the right people bus compensation is used to get them and keep them on the bus, not to motivate them. Motivation is an characteristic of the right people that will allow them to collectively achieve success. 4.
0 Hedgehog Concept Which is more important for an organization, the goal to be the best at something, or realistic understanding of what you can (and cannot) be the best at? Most important for an organization is not the goal to be the best at something because this is common to everything and everyone, we all would like to be the best.However, realistically understanding what you can (and cannot) be best at is utterly important. The idea of doing what you like is not new. If you are to understand what you are good at, the idea of understanding what you’re not good at sounds like common sense; but most people (myself included) have not thought about what we are not good at.
The Hedgehog concept involves knowing what you’re good at, if it be profitable, and if you are passionate about it. When you can capitalize on a natural talent that you are passionate about, you have a key ingredient to accomplishing greatness.Great companies didn’t attempt various goals in hopes of being successful. Instead, great companies simplified their goal using natural, profitable talent in which they were passionate. In some instances, core values had to be realigned. Also, worth mentioning is great companies didn’t attempt more than they could support.
The Hedgehog concept of focusing on a core area with expertise, passion, and the potential to be profitable; rejected attempting more than the company could support. In a familiar saying, they avoided being jacks of all trades and an expert in none. 6. Technology Accelerators Why is there so much hype and fear about new technologies, and what can you do to view new technologies with objective equanimity? In today’s ever changing technology driven world, many think we must keep up with technological changes to remain competitive. With the rapidness of technology changes the fear that current systems will soon become obsolete propels many to update systems, often adding new features that go unused. However, what has been revealed through the data researched in from “Good to Great” is that technology did not facilitate greatness.
This is a fact I would’ve argued against until now. However, that doesn’t mean technology isn’t a contributing component of success. The key is to making sure the technological change fits into the Hedgehog concept. Adopting all technological fads won’t endure the test of time and is a recipe for familiar. Technology should not be the driving force for change, but rather the fuel to keep it going.
Great companies didn’t respond to new technology with a got to have the latest thirst, but rather decided if it fit into their framework and if it did capitalized on how it could propel them toward their goal.Technology shouldn’t be the means to an end or the motivation to change course, technology should be an addition to a plan in process. It should compliment an organization’s core goals; not restructure them. Personal Insight “Good to Great” is an excellent study of companies move from good to great. The humility and will of Level 5 Leaders allowed the right people to remain passionate about their work.
A company stocked with the right people had the commitment to excellence to get on the bus without a known destination because they were all in one accord and willing to work for success.The passion that the right group of people possessed eliminated the need to motivate, only requiring that they not become unmotivated. When the leader asked the right questions allowing input, the core vision became a shared vision making the team more cohesive.
Because the leader realized everything wouldn’t always be perfect the need for brutal truth was essentially to realistically access how to move forward. Once the company determined its strength, how it could profitable, and if the organization had the passion to see it through; it moved forward with its concepts without wavering.The tunnel vision to obtain the set goals allowed the companies to avoid trendy gadgets and only added those components that were beneficial to its mission. This persistence propelled the company unnoticeably from the inside to toward greatness. While this book was written to examine how companies have obtained greatness, I found it relevant to how an individual can obtain greatness.
If an entire organization can implement these steps with such passion and devotion to a company, an individual should be able to more passionately implement these values into his/her life. My new quest is to go from “Good to Great. ”