I’d heard about Jim Collins and perhaps even read one of his books. But I’d forgotten until I listened to a podcast interview with Tim Ferriss.
I bought a couple of his well-researched books. I mean, I write alone. He had 21 researchers for Good to Great. He pursued an answer to the question “can a good company (organization) become a great one”.
Short answer, yes.
After much research, the team identified 11 companies that filled the criteria of 15 years of so-so performance, an inflection point, followed by 15 years of great performance. Timelines long enough to allow for various short-term fluctuations.
They identified several characteristics. I’ve just finished reading about the first–one that surprised the team. Leaders.
But the type of leadership that build sustainable performance. The high-ego, publicly visible leader may drive performance in the short term, but seldom does that performance last.
The good to great leaders:
- Publicity shy
- Humble–always talking about company performance not personal
- Builds a strong team first thing before strategy
- Quiet, but strong
- “We”, not “I”
- Leads a simple lifestyle (no servants, large estates, and the like)
The team researched businesses, partly because there exists a wealth of data. I’ve observed the same thing in churches and other non-profits. The flamboyant, self-enhancing leader eventually flames out.