Jim Collins goes from good to great.. by choice

Monday morning 7th May, ASTD2012 first general session… Ambiance of a rock concert… David Gray playing loud on the PA… Film camera men installed to capture Mr Collins’ speech on why some companies thrive despite chaos, uncertainty and luck… The answer? They are Great By Choice…


According to Jim Collins, “good” is the enemy of “great”. For the last 25 years, Collins has been at work researching what sets the truly great companies apart from the others. His numerous books and combined 6000 years of corporate evidence have outlined those differences.


What doesn’t make the difference?
According to Collins, circumstance is NOT the main ingredient. Greatness is found in some companies in some sectors, where others fail in the same circumstances.


What is the X-Factor in leadership? What is it that we need to be developing?
According to Collins, good companies have in common a hierarchy of 4 capabilities: Individual abilities, Interpersonal abilities, Managerial abilities, Leadership abilities…

What the great companies have is another level: This one goes to 5…

Level 5 = Humility, combined with will. The humility to not assume you know best and the will to surround yourself with others who do.


This first basic great leadership quality is complimented by a very particular way of functioning. A way of making choices based on 3 things:

  • Fanatic discipline
  • Empirical creativity
  • Productive paranoia

If you have this humility and make choices based on the 3 above things, you are set for greatness.


What to know more? Read the book 🙂



Thx for reading




About Dan Steer

Wandering corporate trainer, learning and development consultant, conference speaker and professional El-Magico. I help people get better at stuff by creating and facilitating Infinite Learning © opportunities. The world would be a better place if everyone was doing what he loved and doing it well. I am working to bring out the "El Magico" in everybody. Training in presentation and communication skills, leadership, social media for learning and marketing, learning and development management + personal effectiveness.

Posted on May 7, 2012, in Leadership, Self-Effectiveness and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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