Great by Choice

Great By ChoiceJim Collins writes amazing books and ‘Great by Choice’ is no exception. I’m not going to get into the details of his book but I wanted to share a few lines that really stood out to me.

 ‘..the environment doesn’t determine why some companies thrive in chaos and why others don’t. People do. People are disciplined fanatics. People are empirical. People are creative. People are productively paranoid. People Lead. People build teams. People build organizations. People build cultures. People exemplify values, pursue purpose, and achieve big hair audacious goals. Of all the luck we can get, people luck- the luck of finding the right mentor, partner, teammate, leader, friend- is one of the most important.’

Why do I share this? Because if you don’t value your people and give them the opportunity to contribute you will lose the most valuable asset you have. Fortunately this fact is well known but unfortunately many don’t realize that even though they know the fact and they think they are doing all the right things they may be missing the mark. In a HBR article published in early 2012 the CEO of Gilt shared the following opinion:

Why have these businesses succeeded? It’s not the idea—it’s the people. Execution is what matters, and execution relies on human talent. Every company thinks it’s doing a good job of managing its people. They all say, “People are our most important asset.” But most companies don’t really act that way. Here’s a simple test: Ask the CEO if he or she spends more time on recruiting and managing people than on any other activity. For me, the answer has always been yes.

The other subject Jim Collins hits on is that of luck. For the sake of this post consider ’10Xers’ to be out-performers.

10Xers shine when clobbered by setbacks and misfortune, turning bad luck into good results. 10Xers use difficult as a catalyst to deepen purpose, recommit to values, increase discipline, respond with creativity, and heighten productive paranoia. Resilience, not luck is the signature of greatness.

Jim Collins hits on one of the most important characteristics of success. Keep going no matter how bad it gets.

We all get bad luck. The question is how to use that bad luck to make us stronger, to turn it into “one of the best things that ever happened,” to not let it become a psychological prison.

This may be why people say ‘you make your own luck’. It is not the fact that you can have bad luck or good luck but that you ‘roll with the punches’

I highly recommend that everyone out there in the business world read both ‘Good to Great‘ and ‘Great by Choice‘ and have a notebook handy while reading.

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