Saturday, November 19, 2011

Business Strategy Based on Research

November 2011 Book Review

Great By Choice

Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen

After nine years of research we get a clearer vision of what the best companies do to thrive under changing circumstances.  Their research started with the question: “Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?”   The research team’s study started on the heels of 9/11 and seems especially relevant in our current economic environment. The authors make it clear that their findings are not just pertinent during challenging times, but are equally as important during less turbulent times.
Collins and Hansen do a great job of outlining their findings into a conceptual framework and through the use of analogous stories.  Nothing beats a good analogy, especially when you’re presenting research findings.

The findings point to how fanatic discipline, empirical creativity, productive paranoia, and level 5 ambition helped companies outperform the market by more than 10:1 through industry challenges, chaos and luck (good and bad).  They unveil new terminology and phrases I expect to hear in business meetings in the coming months:

- 10Xers,
- 20 mile march, firing bullets then cannonballs,
- leading above the death line,
- SMaC
- and ROL (Return on luck).
This quote pretty much summarizes the book:

“Greatness is not primarily a matter of circumstance; greatness is first and foremost a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”

There’s a fine line between a book becoming a paper weight, collecting dust or helping to spark action.  That’s usually a choice the reader needs to make and I for one don’t expect any dust to collect on this one. 

The Fightin' Analyst Book Rating:

out of five stars