I recently was finally able to grab a copy of this classic and finish it. It is a great book but I kind of expected that. While there are many counterpoints to why the book isn’t so “Great”, I think overall there is much to learn from the information and examples even if they aren’t as literal as some may like. But hey, its all relative anyway.

Collins and his team go through a very lengthy and in-depth study and comparison of various companies in order to find out what makes a company go from “Good to Great”. They come up with some pretty interesting results and concepts.

They have many metrics for comparison and judging the companies but what they mainly did was try to find the companies with consistent results, success and growth over at least 15 years and over the general market results. They then found as close to identical comparison companies who had similar size, revenue and circumstances but who were not to jump the chasm from Good to Great.

Companies studied which they considered great include Abbott, Circuit City, Fannie Mae, Gillette, Kimberly-Clark, Kroger, Nucor, Philip Morris, Pitney Bowes, Walgreens, Wells Fargo and a few more. Some of the traits they found in common in all the great companies compared to their “good comparison” companies were:

  • Disciplined Leaders who aren’t self-serving
  • Using Technology as a accelerator to success
  • Not just hiring people, the the RIGHT people for the RIGHT positions
  • Promoting a self-motivating, disciplined company culture
  • Focusing on what they know they can be great at, they call this “The Hedgehog Concept”
  • Being consistent in that focus and created goals based off them
  • Having the discipline to look at the brutal facts and be honest with your company

Some of the points individually might seem like common sense but if you take them all and see how they harmonize together it starts to become clear.

So overall a great book, I recommend it though I’m sure many of you already have. Probably something to skim through every once in a while as well.