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Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck - Why Some Thrive Despite Them All Kindle Edition
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"Collins and Hansen draw some interesting and counterintuitive conclusions from their research....far from a dry work of social science. Mr. Collins has a way with words, not least with metaphor."--Wall Street Journal
Entrepreneurs and business leaders may find the concepts in this book useful for making choices to increase their odds of building a great company.--Booklist --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
About the Author
Jim Collins is a student and teacher of what makes great companies tick, and a Socratic advisor to leaders in the business and social sectors. Having invested more than a quarter-century in rigorous research, he has authored or coauthored six books that have sold in total more than 10 million copies worldwide. They include Good to Great, Built to Last, How the Mighty Fall, and Great by Choice.
Driven by a relentless curiosity, Jim began his research and teaching career on the faculty at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992. In 1995, he founded a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.
In addition to his work in the business sector, Jim has a passion for learning and teaching in the social sectors, including education, healthcare, government, faith-based organizations, social ventures, and cause-driven nonprofits.
In 2012 and 2013, he had the honor to serve a two-year appointment as the Class of 1951 Chair for the Study of Leadership at the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 2017, Forbes selected Jim as one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds.
Jim has been an avid rock climber for more than forty years and has completed single-day ascents of El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite Valley.
Learn more about Jim and his concepts at his website, where you'll find articles, videos, and useful tools. jimcollins.com
Morten T. Hansen is a management professor at the University of California, Berkeley (School of Information), and at INSEAD. Formerly a professor at Harvard Business School, Morten holds a PhD from Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was a Fulbright scholar. He is the author of Collaboration and the winner of the Administrative Science Quarterly Award for exceptional contributions to the field of organization studies. Previously a manager with the Boston Consulting Group, Morten consults and gives talks for companies worldwide.--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B005VB99GE
- Publisher : Cornerstone Digital (13 October 2011)
- Language : English
- File size : 3424 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 262 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 103,491 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Backed up by rigorous analysis the book identifies a handful of successful companies and then sets out to explain, with empirical evidence, why these companies performed so well in these uncertain times.
The book is structured around 6 main concepts (see below)
I find the writing of Jim Collins very succinct with a perfect blend of anecdote, theory and empirical evidence to make his points.
Please see below for the points I took away from this book:
• Great companies (10xers) accept uncertainty but refuse to accept that forces beyond their control will determine their destiny. Instead they work very hard at a clearly defined goal to build up a reservoir of strength (e.g. through cash on balance sheet or reputation in the market)
• 10xers consistently exhibit three core behaviours to build a reservoir of strength:
1. Fanatic discipline: Consistency of action around clearly defined strategy
2. Empirical creativity: decisions are made from a sound empirical base
3. Productive paranoia: constantly operating with a heightened state of awareness against potential threats
20 Mile March
• 10xers' growth trajectories often exhibit a steady trajectory much like the arctic explorer Anderson’s concept of marching 20 miles every day to the South Pole to be Cpt Scott , regardless of whether the weather was good or bad
• Adopting such a ‘20 Mile March’ will require pushing hard in adversity and reign it in during good times
• Such a philosophy will increase confidence because the organisation will be able to achieve results regardless of conditions
• Conversely, it is not about growing as quickly as possible all the time. Indeed, the study found that there is an inverse relationship between pursuit of maximum growth and 10x success. Growing too quickly can often lead to companies over extending themselves.
Fire Bullets, Then Cannonballs
• 10xers use low-risk empirical tests (‘firing bullets’) to validate what ideas work.
• Only once a company has successfully tested an idea with bullets should they fire the ‘cannonball’
• 10xers are therefore not visionary geniuses but empiricists.
• Acquisitions can qualify as bullets if they’re low-cost, low-risk and low-distraction
Leading above the Death Line
• 10xers effectively identify and manage risk
• When risks are identified these companies spend significant time and energy on understanding the likely impact through empirical analysis and then working very hard to execute their risk mitigation plan
• 10xers have a Specific, Methodical and Consistent (“SMaC”) recipe that they adhered to
• SmaC recipes endured for the long term and were changed by an average of 15% over the era of analysis
• See South Western airline’s SMaC in the book as a good example
Return on Luck
• All companies have good and bad luck. 10xers had their fair share of both
• The rest of the concepts above must be enthusiastically executed well to get a good return on luck
It specifically looks at businesses that have out-performed their industries and the Dow/Nasdaq indexes by more than 10 times - in other words 1000%. In fact these 7 businesses exceeded the industry and share averages by 36 times over the 30 years. They include companies like Intel & Microsoft.
The book is around 300 pages long, and is an easy read, but only 200 pages are the story - the last 100 pages are the methodology employed and the very long bibliography.
Overall the view is that these super-companies have at their core, 4 behaviours that excel at over time - 3 of these are covered in full detail within the book.
Disappointingly, the fourth (Level 5 Ambition) is hardly mentioned, as readers are presumed to have read the earlier book "Good to Great". For that reason I can't give this a top score. Given that there are nearly 100 pages of notes, it would have been sensible to have a chapter on "Level 5 Ambition" to make the book a stand-alone read.
Most of these businesses were small in 1971, in many ways the equivalent of UK AIM companies - so it is interesting to see how and why they were able to become the huge global successes they did, and why other companies in their sectors failed at the same time.
However, this recipe suffers the same problem as many others: the narrative fallacy (D. Kahnemann). It is quite easy to reconstruct the cases as to support the theory one wishes to promote. The points claimed by the author are surely important for success, but are not the only ones. This leads to the other two problems: the over-simplification and the role of randomness.
The parameters that may affect success (or failure) are just too many and inter-correlated in a complex cause-and-effect structure, as to support a simple 4-points theory. Indeed the author dedicates a chapter to the study of luck, but the role of randomness is not deeply analyzed and, to my opinion, generally underestimated.
As usual Jim condenses years of his teams research into something that our mortal minds can understand, using his unique mix of framework thinking and empirical research to build a case thats easy to follow and apply in your business (or see in other businesses).
Perhaps not as great as Built to Last or Good to Great (and perhaps a lot shorter - but in some ways that makes it a lot easier to get through!)