All posts tagged: Jim Collins

Leadership

At a recent retreat, our divisional management team focused on the support and growth of leaders among our staff. Leadership comes in many forms.  We all know of the stereotypical alpha male, Type A personalities who have been celebrated as leaders on Wall Street as well as in the movies, the halls of Congress, business, the tech sector, and the military.  These are the types who bark out orders and expect others to follow.  These are the “born leaders.”  Or so they say. But there is another type of leadership that is usually—in my experience—much more effective.  It generally comes from people who learn to be leaders, rather than assume they know it all from birth.  I put more stock in these types of leaders in part because I am reminded of the tale of a group of tourists visiting a rural, picturesque village.  They walked by an old man sitting beside a fence and in a rather patronizing way, one tourist asked, “Were any great men or women born in this village?”  “Nope” the …

Knowing When to Change

It is the time of year when we are aligning budgets and strategic plans across our organization in anticipation of the new fiscal year.  Some look at these times in an organization’s year and instinctively call for changes in practice, following the dictate that change is hard, and yet necessary. In their work Great by Choice, authors Jim Collins (of Good to Great fame) and Morten T. Hansen tackle this question by looking at differences in how very successful (what they call 10X) companies and a list of comparison organizations change their basic operating practices over time.  They found that the 10X companies had clear practices that allowed them – even in times of great disruption – to continue to “do the same thing that you are already doing well, and over and over again.”  The authors explain further by saying, “Conventional wisdom says that change is hard.  But if change is so difficult, why do we see more evidence of radical change in the less successful comparison cases?  Because change is not the most …

Twelve Influential Books (And a Few More Thrown In for Fun)

Since  I left Facebook about 18 months ago, I miss 99.5% of the silly contests, lists, and challenges that clog the social media world.  And even when I was on FB, I would occasionally take one of their lists – such as the five albums I’d most want on a desert island – and expand that into blog posts (as in album #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5). But the other day, my sister Debbie put up a list of ten influential books in her life, and asked Candice to do the same.  The challenge was to come up with the list quickly.  Both Debbie and Candice had great lists, and that made me think about what my list would look like. So…here is my off the cuff list of twelve books that I’ve read (and usually re-read, and re-read).  Since this is my blog, I’m not going to be bound by the FB convention of ten.  And, in fact, you’ll see I’ve thrown in a bonus book or two along the way. Through the …

Summer Reading

An email from the partner of a friend who shall remain nameless showed up in my home email in-box recently with a list of books on his table ready for his summer reading.  There were a lot of very serious titles – some of which I’ve read and many of which I’ve missed – but the one that caught my eye was War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges.  Now I’ve read that book, and I don’t consider it light reading.  In fact, it is pretty depressing.  For while Hedges calls for humility, love, and compassion as the only chance for the human race, he writes of the addiction of war and its unifying force.  When you read this, our chances seem pretty slim. But that’s NOT why I’m writing about Summer Reading Lists.  There are 9 other months of the year to read books like War is a Force…  Summer reading is different.  Here are three books (two on baseball; one only tangentially on architecture but really on love) I …