Session 2: Jim Collins

Jim Collins, nationally acclaimed business thinker, serves as a teacher to leaders throughout the corporate and social sectors. Author of the best-selling books Good to Great and Built to Last, he is a student of companies—how they grow, how they attain superior performance, and how good companies can become great companies. His writings, based on groundbreaking research, have been featured in FortuneBusinessWeekThe EconomistUSA Today, andHarvard Business Review. His latest volume, How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In, looks at common mistakes of organizations in a state of decline and what leaders can do to reverse negative patterns and flourish anew.

Preserve the Core and Stimulate Progress

  • To be great we must have great social enterprises, we must have great schools, we must have great church leadership
  • Instead of looking at how enterprises become great, we wanted to see how the great enterprises stumble
  • If it can happen to them, it can happen to anyone
  • Anyone can fall, many do, but not all
  • There are a series of stages by which they fall
  • Maybe you can be sick on the inside, but strong on the outside

5 stages of decline:

  • Stage 1: Hubris Born of Success
  • Stage 2: Undisciplined Pursuit of More
  • Stage 3: Denial of Risk and Peril
  • Stage 4: Grasping for salvation
  • Stage 5: Capitulation
  • These stages are largely self-inflicted
  • Organizational decline is based more on what you do to yourself
  • It is not success that leads to failure, it is outrageous arrogance that inflicts suffering on the innocent
  • Arrogance to believe that just because our intentions that therefore our decisions must be necessarily good.
  • Bad decisions taken with good intentions are still bad decisions.
  • We didn’t want to find the leadership answer, lets find something other than leadership.
  • The good to great leaders are different.
  • The signature of what separated the 5 from the 4 was their humility.
  • The greatest leaders had a signature of humility.
  • Its an absolute burning passionate ambition to do whatever it takes for the sake of the cause, and it is that combination of the humility and the will that makes the 5.
  • Undisciplined pursuit of more, this is what brings down the mighty.
  • Regulate growth
  • Do we have all our seats filled with fantastic people? If the answer is no, then we must wait on growth until we have all the seats filled.

Stage 3 – Denial of Risk and Peril

  • You must never ever confuse faith and facts.

Stage 4 – Grasping for salvation

  • The risk and peril you have denied throws you over the edge and you are falling.
  • Greatness is never a single event, it is a cumulative process, it is when you start pushing, and eventually you get one turn and you don’t stop, and you keep building cumulative momentum.

Stage 5 – Capitulation

  • You squander your options, capital, etc.
  • Why are there companies still standing 20 years later? Because they had a reason.
  • If you measure your success by money, then you will always lose
  • We must continue the struggle, we must endure.
  • The great enterprises are driven by purpose that are greater than money.
  • That purpose is rooted in core values. Above all, the core values that they will not compromise.
  • If we lose our soul, we lose it all.
  • The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.
  • Preserve the core, and stimulate progress.

10 ToDo’s

  • Do your diagnostics – The Good to Great Diagnostic Tool jimcollins.com
  • Count your blessings – Literally count them in a spreadsheet. When we begin to account for all the good things that happen to us that we did not cause, all the success that we did not cause, it is humbling.
  • What is your questions to statements ratio? And can you double it in the next year? – Ask the right questions. Invest more in being interesting.
  • How many seats do you have?
  • Do your how the mighty fall diagnostic
  • Create an inventory of the brutal facts
  • Culture of discipline begins not with what we do, but what we stop doing
  • Define results and show milestones and how can you demonstrate them?
  • Double your reach to young people, by changing your practices without changing your core values
  • Set a big hairy audacious goal

Never give-in. The path out of darkness begins with those exasperatingly individuals who are incapable of capitulation. Be willing to change tactics, but never give-up on your purpose. Be willing to kill failed ideas, but never give-up on the church. Be willing to accept necessary compromise, but never ever give-up on your core values.

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