Jim Collins: 16 Key Insights For Taking Your Business from Good to Great (World Business Forum – WBF10)

Jim.Collins.5.23.jpgI’m honored to be one of the 60 bloggers at HSM’s World Business Forum NY (WBF10). We’ve just heard Jim Collins give a stunning presentation about the principles of “good to great”. Inspiring and thought provoking.
His presentation was NOT about technology but I did glean several principles related to technology from his presentation.
First I’ll cover some highlights of his presentation overall, then in a subsequent post I’ll offer my take on how his presentation applies to technology. Search on Twitter for WBF10 and you’ll find links and Tweets on more coverage.

Jim Collins Presentation Overall

1. Greatness is not a function of circumstance. It’s a function of choice. Greatness is not hampered or defined by how things are around you. You can take several companies all with the same circumstances (good or bad), and it is the leadership who will define how well they succeed or fail. He gave a sober example of an admiral captured in Vietnam. How he survived in prison and through torture as opposed to why others did not survive.
2. Some companies are sick on the inside but look healthy on the outside. This is dangerous as it could be too late to help themselves, or have others help them.
3. Humility is what defines great leaders. Jim said that great leaders have to be willing to let go of anything that is not helping their company. It’s a humility defined as an extreme ambition for the company/cause – not themselves.
4. It’s critical to find something that we are so passionate about that we are willing to endure the pain of very tough decisions.
5. What unfillable hole would you leave if you went away otherwise you will go away.
6. If you don’t evolve you will be irrelevant.

At the end of his presentation he gave us 10 Things “To Do”


1. Do your own diagnosis to see where you stand on the journey from good to great. Check out Jim Collins free diagnostic tool here.
2. Don’t focus on a career, focus on building a pocket of greatness at every step of the way. You might not be the CEO right now, but you can lead wherever you are and build a pocket of greatness at every level you are in your career.
3. Consider how many of the key seats on your bus are filled with the right people. Make sure you fill the key seats with at least 90% of the right people.
4. Double your questions to statements ratio in th next year
5. Stop trying to be interesting and instead interested.
6. Turn off electronic gadgets. Have one day of white space for every two weeks of activity. Leave yourself time to think with no interruptions.
7. The difficult task is not what we do but what we have the discipline to stop doing.
8. Stop having titles. The right people for the key seats in your company do not have a “job” they have responsibilities.
9. Find your inner hedgehog and know what you are passionate about.
10. Set a big hairy audacious goal for the future.

One thought on “Jim Collins: 16 Key Insights For Taking Your Business from Good to Great (World Business Forum – WBF10)

  1. Geoff Snyder

    Great post! I have to agree with you that Jim certainly did nail this speech. Such a pleasure to watch him connect with his audience. His list of To-Dos has had quite the impact, as for several other bloggers from the hub and remotely shared interest and passed it along to readers.
    Thanks again for the post.

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