Good to Great – Jim Collins

Good to Great by Jim Collins is one of the best books on business and leadership that I have ever read and I recommend it to all my teams to read, it has some great insights.

The biggest take away for me was on people.

I’m a big believer that everyone who comes to work wants to do a great job and it’s my job to put them in a position to do it. I can usually achieve this 99% of the time, but sometimes it’s just not possible.

In Good to Great Jim says we need to make sure we have the right people on the bus.

It’s not important where the bus is headed, if you have the right people on the bus it will get to your desired destination.

Whereas if you have the wrong people on the bus, it doesn’t matter if it’s headed in the right direction or not, it’s probably not going to get there.

The book highlights a very simple tool to determine whether you have the right people on the bus.

Ask yourself the following two questions about the people in your team.

  1. If they quit, would you be disappointed?
  2. Knowing what you know about them, if they applied for their current role would you re-appoint them?

If you answer no to both questions then you have the wrong people on the bus and you have a personnel issue that needs to be addressed.

This is a very simple and yet powerful tool. If you answer the questions honestly you will know whether there is a people problem in your team or not.

For me these are important questions to ask of the senior leadership team.

These are the people who are going to be helping set the direction and if they’re not aligned then this can cause divisions, conflicts and even derail the strategy.

Often, we know deep down that we have an issue, it might be something we just cannot put our finger, a hunch or a gut feeling that someone doesn’t feel right. Usually, we hesitate to make these tough decisions; we don’t want to make them too quickly.

But as the book points out that, no matter how quickly you move to make these tough decisions, or if you wonder you have been too hasty, there will be many within the organization that will be wondering what took you so long!

Delaying these tough decisions can impact our own credibility the longer it takes to resolve them, it can raise questions about our commitment to the goals or strategy. Why are we allowing this dissent or possible dilution of our messages.

We need to have the right people on the bus, we need 100% alignment, especially within the leadership. This is what will allow us to really build momentum and get us on the fast track to achieving our goals.

As I said at the start Good to Great is one of my favourite books on Business and Leadership and I fully recommend it.

by Gordon Tredgold