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Review of Good to Great, by Jim Collins.

Updated on March 5, 2016
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The joy in my life comes from my experiences. Some I will share and some I will not.

This is a non bias review and is meant for research purposes.

Good to Great by Jim Collins: A Review

I would like to start off by saying this was a very educational book and a must read for any business professional. This review touches on some very important points and is a good example of a review/case study format for an MBA program.

In the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, there is an important concept called “Level 5" leader. Level 5 refers to a five level hierarchy of executive capabilities with Level 5 being at the top. Level 5 leaders have a balance of personal humility and professional will, and put the organization before them. This is a very unselfish and business first concept that is an opportunity for many businesses that are underperforming. Level 5 leaders train the people around them to include their own eventual replacement, without keeping all the knowledge for themselves and leaving the company with that asset. The key is sharing and training the willing. A level 4 successor would set up the replacement for failure, which is a difference between the two levels.

Level 5 leaders are modest and are very understanding. It is important not to let a large ego get in the way of progress within an organization. Level 5 leaders are very driven and motivated and produce results. They can resolve problems that get in their way of progress making them very productive. When leaders work hard they can evolve into level 5 leaders and help train and champion change within an organization.

There are three practical disciplines for being rigorous in people decisions.

They include:

1) When in doubt, don’t hire, keep looking

2) When you know you need to make a people change, act

3) Put your vest people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems


When a manager is listening to a subordinate, it is important to look at whom first, then what? This is helpful with looking at this problems also.

Four basic practices to create a positive climate:

1) Lead with questions, not answers

2) Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion

3) Conduct autopsies, without blame

4) Build red flag mechanisms that turn information into information that cannot be ignored


All good to great companies began the process of finding a path to greatness by confronting the brutal facts of their current reality. A primary task in taking a company from good to great is to create a culture wherein people have a tremendous opportunity to be heard and, ultimately, for the truth to be heard.

There are three circles of the Hedgehog Concept.

They include:

1) What you are deeply passionate about

2) What you can be the best in the world at

3) What drives your economic engine


The key is to understand that an organization can become the best in the world in its industry. If it cannot be the best then you need to look at the organization’s core for the limiting factors.

The culture of an organization has to be able to let the workers have freedom and responsibility but also follow a system that makes sense and has organization. It is important to find a balance of the two. It is important to deny opportunities that do not create disciplined people, disciplined thought, or disciplined action. The book mentioned the Hedgehog Concept that I found interesting. The Hedgehog Concept includes: Build a culture around the idea of freedom and responsibility, within a framework. Fill that culture with self-disciplined people who are willing to go to extreme lengths to fulfill their responsibilities. Don’t confuse a culture of discipline with a tyrannical disciplinarian. Adhere with great consistency to the Hedgehog Concept, exercising an almost religious focus on the intersection of the three circles. Equally important, create a stop doing list and keep the organization efficient.

It is important for changing organizations to stay current with technology. Successful organizations do not deal with fads and they become pioneers in the application of technologies. The way a company reacts to the changes in technology is a good indicator for how driven the organization is to become successful.

The change process does not happen fast or in one try. It is more important that people are champion the change and buying in rather than forcing it upon them. It is important to continue to adapt to the change to keep the innovation moving along. The great organizations look like they are these huge revolutionary organizations, but the people that make up the organization feel like an organic and natural functioning unit. The last chapter finished the book off by leading up to the epilogue and talking about a lot of the points learned. I like the equation to great organizations. Establish company + good to great concepts + sustain great results + built to last concepts = enduing great company. There are a lot of things that go into the process to making an organization go from good to great and I hope you enjoyed learning the concepts of this book.


I will post more of my experiences with materials that matter.

Thanks for your time,

Fort Hue


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      FortHue 17 months ago

      This book has some great insight and is a must read for business professionals