Growing Successful Companies
Lessons from Jim Collins’s Books, “Good to Great”, “Built to Last”, etc.
Enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz 6/12
Author Jim Collins has spent a career probing the inner workings of great companies. Below, he boils 25 years of research into 12 questions that leaders must grapple with if they truly want to excel. Collins’s advice: Be systematic. Every month, have your leadership team discuss one of the following questions. Repeat the process until you are successful or annually for at least five years.
1. Do we have the Right People on the Bus and in the key seats? You need to decide whom you do and don’t want to have with you. Are they going to help you achieve your mission? Do they have the passion?
2. Are we “willing to do” what it takes to build a “great” company? It begins by making a choice to do so, with a clear understanding of what that choice entails. Discuss what can de done to do that.
3. What are the “fatal facts” we need to face? You can’t make good decisions if you don’t confront the facts, especially the most troubling ones, those that could represent a serious threat to your survival. Do you have so much faith in your product that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to succeed?
4. What can we be the “best at”, with our Business Model, and for which we have unlimited “passion? Your business combines your passion and your special talents with what you can make money doing. How can you do it better?
5. What are our Milestones, and are we hitting them? That is, what is the specific performance goal you’ve made a commitment to meeting year in and year out, in good times and bad, and how are you doing with it?
6. Where should we place our big bets, based on the feedback of our impact? You should devote major resources to a new initiative, only if you already know it’s likely to succeed. That means first conducting low-cost, low-risk tests with customers, on a range of possibilities, then picking the best to run with.
7. What are the Core Values & Vision on which we want to build this enterprise for the long-term? The challenge is not just to build a company that can endure, but to build one that is worthy of enduring. Do you have a worthy goal? Will it inspire your people, customer, the public?
8. What is our Vision? To build a great, enduring company, you need a long-term Vision that is tangible, energizing, & highly focused on achieving the goes. It must be easy for your people to understand. Discuss it with them and see if they “buy-in” to help you achieve it. If so, go, go, go for it. If not, maybe they should go.
9. What could “kill us”, and how can we protect ourselves? Paranoia is productive when it helps you survive the inevitable bad challenges that will come along and avoid the disasters that they are capable of de-railing your express. Consider the consequences of everything you do and prevent the probability of problem paralysing you.
10. What should we “stop doing”, to increase our discipline & focus? In creating a culture of discipline, it’s as important to determine what you “should not be doing” as it is to know what you should be doing. Discuss this at your management meetings and note these nuisances, so all are aware of them.
11. How can we get more Good Luck? All companies experience both good & bad luck. It’s what you do with your luck that counts. How can you get the most benefit from it either way, and how can you minimize any damage that a run of bad luck will cause?
12. Are we building a quality Leadership team and cultivating an ethical management culture? This kind of leadership builds enduring greatness through a blend of personal humility, passion for your mission and professionalism. Are you creating it?
Comments: What do you think it takes to grow a successful company?