Jim Colins Book Review

jc3  Jim Collins in this wide read book, Good to Great discussed key critical concepts from his 5 year research study of 28 companies as to why some companies succeed by becoming great and others continue to be just good. The analysis revealed disciplined people with disciplined thought drive disciplined actions. Each of these disciplines were further separated into two distinct components.

Within disciplined people, his research discovered fives types of leadership and how those at the Level Five were able to make the leap from good to great. Collins identified these leaders as Level Five where there was a combination of humility and will. These leaders left their egos at the door and focused on the greater good of the organization.


In researching disciplined thought, the team discovered another critical finding was the ability to confront the brutal facts and not live in denial. By looking at the data (facts) and then responding to that data, allowed great companies to truly face reality and become proactive in their decision making process instead of reactive. To be able to handle the truth, organizations are recommended to lead with questions not answers. This will allow them to engage in dialogs without fear of reprisals. Additionally, what Collins called Red Flags are established. Today these can also be considered metrics found within the Key Performance Indicators Dashboard.

Collins also explained the Hedgehog Concept with disciplined thought based upon the Greek parable of the Fox and the Hedgehog. In this story, the Fox knows many things, but the Hedgehog knows only one big thing. By being a Hedgehog there is extreme clarity of focus.


Disciplined actions involved both a culture of discipline (education) and technology. Both were obvious in organizations that truly transformed themselves into great businesses.

Beyond the research data, Collins provided excellent diagrams along with an extensive appendix and index (comprised about 20% of the book). This book helps to understand the necessary transformations in organizational evolution. If you want to take your organization or even yourself to that next level, this is pardon the pun a great read.