Great by Choice was a great choice for my first business book of the year. I really have enjoyed Jim Collins books, the perennial best seller Good to Great and Built to Last have influenced much of my thinking in regards to leadership and business. If you are planning on leading others there is much food for thought in Great by Choice.
One of their findings that meshed with Good to Great was the other side of a Level 5 leader. The Level five leader is someone who blends extreme personal humility with intense professional will. In Great by Choice they highlighted the idea of intense professional will, that they had the discipline to stick to what was working and the paranoia to change if they needed to. At the same time they did not change without empirical data to tell that that was the right thing to do.
The study was done of companies that beat the average in their market by 10X earnings based on stock market prices.
Fanatic discipline: 10Xers display extreme consistency of action-consistency with values, goals, performance standards, and methods. They are utterly relentless, monomaniacal, unbending in their focus on their quests.
he signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change; the signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency
Some of their more intriguing findings are that the very best companies actually take less risks than their average counterparts. They take calculated risks based on empirical data and are not swayed by others.
The old adage says it is better to be lucky than good. Collins and his team have found that while that may be true it is far better to be great than lucky. When you are great you are able to take the good and bad events and turn them into positive things for your company.
Leaders are often expected to meet huge challenges and our heroes are often people that are able to bring about positive change, I think F. Scott Fitzgerald would agree.
One should…be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald