The lowdown: Learn why some companies make the leap and others don’t in this Good To Great summary.
Note: Before starting, history has not been kind to this book, with a few of the listed ‘great’ companies have proved to be cheating, gone out of business, or are close to it now. However, there are still lessons to be learned in this modern classic.
Jim Collins is one of the best business authors of all time. One of Collins’ more famous books is Built To Last, where he discusses how some companies stay great.
However, in Collins’ Good To Great, he discusses something more important than longevity… how to become great in the first place.
In this book, Collins studied companies that were performing at or below-average stock market performance and then managed to perform at three times the average stock market returns over the next fifteen years.
The three main lessons from the book are:
- Find your Hedgehog concept
- New technology should be a tool to help reach a goal, not the goal itself
- The foundation of success is the right people in the right place
Lesson One: Find your Hedgehog concept
Okay, so I want you to imagine a fox who hunts through the woods trying to get some food.
The fox has a pretty large rate of success with most of the animals, but with the hedgehog, it struggles.
No matter what sneaky or sly plan the fox has, the hedgehog will roll into a spikey, unbreachable ball.
It is a simple plan, but one that works.
To create your own unpenetrable, spikey ball, as yourself the following questions.
- What can we be the best in the world at?
- What can we be passionate about?
- What is the key economic indicator we need to concentrate on?
By narrowing down on the important things, you’ll have your simple plan for success.
Lesson Two: New technology should be a tool to help reach a goal, not the goal itself
You can never be in control of what the new technology will be.
So, instead of making new tech advances a goal, see how advances in technology help your hedgehog concept and business goals.
Think of Walgreens for example.
A major online store drugstore.com launched at the beginning of the e-commerce book and put major retailers on the back foot.
The pressure was on Walgreens to jump into the online world ASAP and catch up.
Hell, even the thought of them being slow-adopters cost them 40 percent of share value.
However, rather than slapping a quick store together, they waited over a year until they found a model that matched their goals.
Lesson Three: The foundation of success is the right people in the right place
Sure, having the right systems may be important for success. However, the more important factor is the people you hire.
There are so many business owners who look for the ‘what’ instead of the ‘who’.
Good To Great makes a note that if you find the right people, then they’ll find their own way to success.
So, look for the right qualities in your employees rather than the right skills. After all, employees can always be trained in things they aren’t familiar with.
My Personal Takeaway
The comforting thing I found in Good To Great is that even some of the biggest companies in the world use growth strategies that anyone can adopt.
You don’t have to be the size of Gillette or Walgreens to take advice from the book. Any ‘mom and pop’ store can focus on being the best at one thing.
Put it into action
To get started on the lessons from this book, I would suggest starting your own hedgehog plan.
Find what can you be the best at, what you can care about and how you’ll measure it.
You should consider buying this book if…
Any business owner who is thinking of growing their business will take some great advice from the full book, Also, anybody who is looking to start a business can see the foundations that many large companies use to grow.
🤙 Your Next Step… 🤙
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