Good To Great Part Deux

Well since my first installment was such a success here is round two.  I think these two concepts are some of the most important not just in the business world but really just about any facet of life.  It is often a fear of conflict and lack of focus that derails many of us from doing the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do.  Anyway here goes.

The next trait that great companies embrace is a willingness to confront and deal with brutal facts about themselves and their mission.  At the same time, the great companies do this because they have faith in their ability to overcome any obstacle they may be facing (67).  Often when leaders link the success of the company with their worth they will ignore or trivialize information that is negative.  This is why Dr. Collins argues that great organizations create environments where truth, no matter how difficult it may be to hear, can be heard and processed (74).  Listening to cold, hard facts may not be as fun as a retreat or company party but the rewards are immeasurable.  Allowing debate and dialogue about the weaknesses of a company is the best way to turn them into strengths and grow.  Great companies realize this.

With great leadership in place and the right people on board, a great company must now turn to the principle of the “Hedgehog Concept.”  This principle is a process of not just figuring out what the company is going to do, but what the company is passionate about, can be the best at, and also financially excel (96).  Once this is completed, this concept will act as a filter for all decisions and actions of the company.  If the concept is well defined, it will simplify decisions and provide structure for a company to stay on track when it might be tempted to try something else or to change gears (114).  Developing a clear Hedgehog Concept can take many years, but the time is well worth it.  In the long run, it will allow the organization to process data much quicker and also gives everyone in the company a clear picture of what the mission is.


The next mark of a good to great company is a culture of discipline.  Dr. Collins points out that many times as companies grow, they have a need to institute mass amounts of bureaucracy to keep people on task, but doing so comes at a consequence.  Often when the regulation and micro-management increases, the company loses its ability to be creative, entrepreneurial, and responsive; this leads to frustration and an exodus of some great people (121).  Dr. Collins stresses that there is a huge difference between a culture of discipline and a totalitarian environment.  In a culture of discipline, you have the right people who are self-disciplined and fanatical about getting their work done (124).  The idea of having the right people comes into play here as key to developing a culture of discipline.  Ultimately in a culture of discipline, the right people are clear on what the Hedgehog Concept of the company is and deeply committed to carrying it out.  Through a culture of discipline a company is able to continue to grow, yet not become bogged down in administrative tasks and details.

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