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Becoming a great company is not out of circumstance



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Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

by Jim Collins

Milja Laakso

 

There seems to be a significant difference between being good and being great. In business the difference is much more relevant, as stated in the book “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins. Transforming a company to become better than just ”simply” good requires special steps. A great deal of research had helped Collis to find out that the companies that actually succeeded in becoming great had strict similarities when comparing with companies that could not become great.

 

It was interesting to read about and understand how becoming a successful and a great company is not only out of circumstance. In a way I have often though that becoming successful has always been a mixture of the right timing, possibly trends and just good marketing. By reading Good to Great I understood the truth of it being mainly conscious choices and strict discipline. It is important that decisions are made with thought and that rules are kept to. Learning about this aspect of working in a company really motivated to keep on pushing forward and working harder towards goals.

 

However, the importance of the right people being involved in the whole good to great process is vital. As Collins states in his book, the humility of the company leader is key for making the company break through and succeed. I think this particular feature should be in every company leader and taken into consideration in leadership. Collins explains in the book about the different levels of leadership and about what defines especially a level 4 and level 5 leader. Roughly said, a level 4 leader only thinks of him or herself and works with a selfish target and has mainly personal goals. A level 5 leader considers sustainability and works towards a cause or the company. Level 5 leaders do whatever it takes to help the company they work for. Leaders who have motivation for only personal accomplishments are bound to fail as head of any group. I can imagine how a selfish leader could not handle a team of people since getting good results needs someone in charge who understands everyone and works together and solves possible issues. There needs to be interest in the team for things to work.

 

A level 5 leader sees who are possibly the best people to achieve the company’s wanted results. He or she understands the strengths of each team member. Having the ability to see special potential in others and knowing where they could be an asset is a true strength and helps the company move forward. It was a good reference when Collins explained that a good leader chooses the right people who together can achieve the best outcome and only after that thinks of what to do next.

 

An interesting approach on how to work within in a team was Collins’ example of rather working like a hedgehog than a fox. According to Collins, a person who works more like a hedgehog is someone who understands the larger picture and wants to simplify things to make them roll on more easily. Someone who is more like a fox might work rapidly and usually concentrates on possibly the wrong things that could make the company grow – slow and steady is better in this case!

 

Personally, I think the way a leader works isn’t a priority. The most important thing a good leader has is the ability to communicate with a team and has a swift way of solving conflicts. I learnt some important points of leadership when reading this book. A good leader thinks twice before acting or making very big decisions, such as hiring new staff. Positive thinking and giving opportunities is needed in tough situations, trust the team you have chosen! If a change is needed, then the courage to act is a good indicator of a valid leader. Confronting facts is

 

Becoming a great company can be achieved, but it needs dedication and hard work. This book motivated and made me view the process of how a company can still become better than just good in a new way.

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