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Good to Great by Jim Collins

Good to Great by Jim Collins

Good to Great by Jim Collins. Why some companies make the leap and others don’t

Jim Collins’ 1st book, “Built to Last“, focused on what great companies did to ensure long term success. It was hailed as an instant success and became a best seller. However, the visionary companies that Built to Last examines were already great. The book didn’t explain how they got there. So although Good to Great by Jim Collins was written some 10 years later it is actually, in many ways a prequel to his first seminal book.

Drawing on a 5 year research project carried out by Jim and his 21 strong team, Good to Great by Jim Collins focuses on how some companies turn themselves from just “good” to great and then (crucially) sustain this success.

How were the companies selected?

Strict criteria was designed to ascertain which companies had achieved this feat and eventually only 11 companies from the US fortune 500 made the cut. These companies were by definition ‘good’ for at least 15 years, performing at the market average with their peers until something happened. That ‘something’ meant these companies began to outperform the market by at least 3x, achieving outstanding growth which was then sustained over the next 15 years minimum. What follows is an incredible insight into the stories and people behind these good to great companies.

So what happened to make these companies great?

Each of the companies researched displayed the same set of features which Jim and the team grouped into 5 key areas. Good to great by Jim Collins focuses each chapter on these key findings and the similarities found in all of the selected companies.

My favorite part is about what Jim calls “Level 5 Leadership“. Looking around at various organisations it becomes easy to assess what level leader they have and whether they will be the next business to go from good to great.

An interesting analogy that stuck in my mind is about strategic direction. The book suggests that getting the right people ‘on the bus’, getting these people in the right seats and then deciding where to drive the bus is the way to go from good to great.


Good to Great by Jim Collins is fantastic. It reads more like a novel than a business book whilst still containing a huge amount of data, statistics and insight into the strategic concepts found by their research. It combines the right combination of academic rigor and storytelling to keep you interested whilst still being educated.

It’s a book about leadership, management and motivation and one I highly recommend. And, if you wanted a quick way of getting the key learning points across, there is a short version (35 pages or less so it says) available too!

To find out more or to order the original Good to Great by Jim Collins click the link below.

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