In the business best seller Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, author Jim Collins explores the common elements of 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.
Greatness Step 1: Answer Two Questions
Jim’s research team discovered that before rising to greatness, the management teams at all of the Good To Great companies asked themselves two simple, yet powerful questions:
- What is it that we can be the best in the world at?
- What are we doing now that we CAN’T be the best in the world at?
Not only did the potentially great companies ask these questions, they had the insight to answer them and the perseverance to commit to their action plans to effectively pursue greatness. To cite some examples of execution:
Walgreen was not going to be great in the restaurant business. Despite their long history with soda fountains, they sold off their Wag’s and Corky’s chains to focus on becoming the best pharmacy convenience store chain in the world.
Kimberly Clark closed paper mills to instead focus on leveraging brand equity of Kleenex and Huggies to become the world’s best consumer paper product company.
In both cases, the results were spectacular.
Hurray for Hollywood!
As you ask yourself: “what we can’t be the best at,” I offer some encouragement from an unlikely source (as found in our quote archives). Do you remember Alf, the 80’s sitcom alien puppet? He apparently had some insightful writers.
One of the secrets to life is to figure out what you’re not good at and stop doing it. – Alf
Does your organization have the courage and ambition to ask and answer the two challenging “greatness” questions. Is it really possible to pursue greatness if you don’t?
What if you applied this same concept personally? What talents do you possess that have world class potential? How might you better leverage them and possibly delegate efforts that utilize your mediocre attributes?
Why do so few invest the time and resources to become great? In Jim Collins’ words: It’s very easy to settle for good. >> more on the pursuit of greatness >>
More effective pursuit…
Answering the two questions is only one of the challenges. An inspiring discussion on the topic of your pursuit of greatness is free upon request by clicking the red button below.
More on Good To Great
- Read our other Good To Great Articles
- Learn About Our Services for Aspiring Good To Great Organizations
- The Successor to Good To Great: Conscious Capitalism