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Five years ago, Jim Collins asked the question, "Can a good company become a great company and if so, how?"
In Good to Great Collins, the author of Built to Last ( /exec/obidos/ASIN/0887307396/%24%7B0%7D ), concludes that it is
possible, but finds there are no silver bullets. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting
through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time.
They finally settled on 11--including Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens, and Wells Fargo--and discovered common traits
that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. Making the transition from good to great doesn't
require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy.
At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted
disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great
and not so great, the book offers a well-reasoned road map to excellence that any organization would do well to
consider. Like Built to Last, Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading
for years to come. --Harry C. Edwards
From Publishers Weekly
In what Collins terms a prequel to the bestseller Built to Last he wrote with Jerry Porras, this worthwhile
effort explores the way good organizations can be turned into ones that produce great, sustained results. To find the
keys to greatness, Collins's 21-person research team (at his management research firm) read and coded 6,000 articles,
generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts and created 384 megabytes of computer data in a five-year
project. That Collins is able to distill the findings into a cogent, well-argued and instructive guide is a testament to
his writing skills. After establishing a definition of a good-to-great transition that involves a 10-year fallow period
followed by 15 years of increased profits, Collins's crew combed through every company that has made the Fortune 500
(approximately 1,400) and found 11 that met their criteria, including Walgreens, Kimberly Clark and Circuit City. At the
heart of the findings about these companies' stellar successes is what Collins calls the Hedgehog Concept, a product or
service that leads a company to outshine all worldwide competitors, that drives a company's economic engine and that a
company is passionate about. While the companies that achieved greatness were all in different industries, each engaged
in versions of Collins's strategies. While some of the overall findings are counterintuitive (e.g., the most effective
leaders are humble and strong-willed rather than outgoing), many of Collins's perspectives on running a business are
amazingly simple and commonsense. This is not to suggest, however, that executives at all levels wouldn't benefit from
reading this book; after all, only 11 companies managed to figure out how to change their B grade to an A on their own.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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