Sunday, October 5, 2008

what I'm reading: good to great

Lately, it seems like I've been reading a lot of bicycling related books, so I decided to switch things up and read something business related. I'd been thinking about reading Good to Great by Jim Collins for a while, and since my business hasn't been going as well as I'd like, now seemed like the perfect time.

As I began reading, I had a hard time visualizing how a book about major corporations such as Gillette and Walgreens would apply to my little, one woman show. But it didn't take long for me to start applying the lessons in the book to my own business. In fact, I found this to be one of the most relevant books I've read in a long time. So I've decided to break the book down step by step and examine how it relates to me and my business. (I won't do this all in one post, it would overwhelm everyone!)

But first, a little introduction. The initial premise of the book is that "Good is the enemy of great." There are so many good companies around that very few invest the time and energy to become great companies. By studying eleven companies they identified as "great", Collins and his research team came up with a series of characteristics that set these companies apart. And these are the concepts that can be applied to companies, organizations, teams, and most any other group of people looking to make the leap from good to great. These concepts are:
-Level 5 Leadership
-First Who... Then What
-Confront the Brutal Facts (Yet Never Lose Faith)
-The Hedgehog Concept
-A Culture of Discipline
-Technology Accelerators
-The Flywheel and the Doom Loop
I'll be using these concepts to examine myself and my business. Hopefully those of you running your own businesses will find some use in this exercise as well. (In fact, I recommend anyone running their own business run out and grab a copy of this book. You won't be disappointed.)

I'll be back tomorrow to take a look at Level 5 Leadership.

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