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"Good is the Enemy of Great"

Why is it so easy to settle for good?

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The title of this briefing, "Good is the Enemy of Great" is the first sentence of Jim Collins' business best seller, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't. The book has provided benchmarks for many of today's inspired leaders.  The author documents eleven publicly traded companies that made a transformation from good performance to at least fifteen years of outperforming the market by a factor of seven. The book is a research validated study of the common elements of those eleven great companies.  Because this is a briefing, I will only discuss concept of the book's opening paragraph...

Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the reasons that we have so little that becomes great.  We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, precisely because it is easy to settle for a good life. The vast majority of companies never become great precisely because they become quite good. - and that is their main problem.


Why is it so easy to settle for good?  Do we have a a natural tendency to move toward a state of apathy? 

Whenever an individual or a business decides that success has been attained, progress stops.

- Thomas J. Watson of IBM


  How many times have you seen this occur?  In how many different aspects of life?

Do you aspire to individual or business greatness?  Or, are you willing to settle for good?  Where have you decided that you're already successful?  What processes do you have for overcoming complacency and apathy?  If you're saying to yourself: Who cares? We're doing OK.  You're in good company. But, will you ever join great company?


Success is a journey, not a destination.   

- Arthur Ashe



For deeper analysis...

Is it possible that complacency and apathy are a natural and necessary phenomenon in the process of growth and development? The Law of Process offers deeper insight:  


Next Page >>


Read our other Good To Great Articles


Pursuit of Good To Great Leadership: Attributes of the Level 5 Leader 


Strategic Pursuit of Greatness


Filling the Bus for Your "Good to Great" Odyssey


  Is Good the Enemy of Great? Or, The Reverse?



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Tom Lemanski of Vista Development serves as an executive coach, trusted advisor and business catalyst in helping executives, managers and sales professionals to become SMARTer Leaders.


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 Working SMART: Library of Congress ISSN 1551-4633


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