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Reviews on Book ‘Great By Choice’

Jim Collins returns with another state-of-the-art book ‘Great by Choice’ after the worldwide best seller ‘Good to Great’, ten years ago. This time his book is even more interesting with the topic ‘why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaotic and tough times, while others do not?’

As always, Collins’ book is based on rigorous research and analysis with engaging and amazing stories. I am inspired by the work of Collins and his team of twenty researchers, who have emphasized that an organization can still stand strong in uncertain, unpredictable and fast-moving times, if it follows certain ‘basic principles’.

In this book, Collins has not only focused on the performance of an organization, but he has also highlighted the challenges many leaders are facing today.

I strongly appreciate the new findings on management and leadership subjects I have found in this book, which includes:

  •  It is not the risk taking ability, vision or creativity of a leader that makes him/her the best. In fact, it is the discipline, empirical and paranoid approaches that make a leader stand out from his/her competitors.
  • Innovation itself is nothing in tough and uncertain times. It is the ability to scale innovation by properly blending creativity and discipline that actually makes a difference.
  •  Believing that ‘fast-moving world’ means and requires ‘fast actions’ and ‘fast decisions’ will only lead to disastrous results.
  • Great companies react slow and less, as compared to their competitors, towards a radical change.

In this book, the authors have openly challenged conventional approaches to solving leadership problems with thought- provoking and sticky practical concepts. They have discussed that an organization does not need a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, advanced supply chain management and successful strategies to be a leader. Many companies who thrived in chaotic times were successful only because they were following a certain organizational culture and discipline.
Another astonishing fact discussed in this book is that only 11 companies, so far, have changed from ‘B’ to ‘A’ category on their own. The characteristics of these companies are also listed in this book which can be of great help to companies who are striving hard to survive in this cut-throat competition.

Then, in the next chapters, the ‘how’ part of the transition phase of a company is discussed. I can summarize the key conclusion of this ‘how’ part in the following points:

  • The professionalism and humility of a CEO can make a company great
  • It becomes subtle for a company to grow if it keeps on replacing weak people with the one’s performing their best
  • Facts and figures can be used to improve the performance of a company
  • Technology can also aid in the success of a company

After discussing these facts, the authors have explained how these conditions can contribute to forming a concrete foundation of a company.

Finally in the last chapter, I was delighted to read the proactive and original analysis of authors who have defined and explained the role of luck in the development of an organization. It says that many companies were not luckier than their competitors when they started-off their business, but just because of good luck, they got higher rates of return.
I strongly recommend reading this masterpiece for those leaders who want to know the secret of flourishing in these challenging times.