Good To Great - Making Talent Work for Your Business


Recap of chapter 3 & 4

Good to Great, by Jim Collins

Chapter 3: First Who, Then What

This chapter was an “aha” moment for me. Hiring high-quality, high-talented individuals first, and then building a strategy around them. As business owners and leaders we have always been taught to create a strategy first, then hire the team thereafter.

In this regard, Collins advances a concept that the process of securing high-quality, high-talent individuals with Level 5 leadership abilities must be undertaken before an overarching success strategy can be developed. With the right people in the right positions (the right people on the bus), Collins contends that many of the management problems that plague companies and sap valuable resources will automatically dissipate. As such, he argues, firms seeking to make the Good to Great transition may find it worthwhile to expend extra energy and time on personnel searches and the decision-making process.

The book “WHO” by Geoff Smart and Randy Street which introduced us to the “A Method for Hiring”, offers similar advice. Smart in this book suggests that business owners and business leaders should be consistently sourcing for high quality, high talented individuals to join their team. As a general rule (and I am aware this is dependent on the organizational structure and the size of the company), I conduct all final interviews. 

Collins also underscores the importance of maintaining rigorousness in all employee evaluation decisions. He recommends moving potentially failing employees and managers to new positions, but not hesitating to remove employees who are not actively contributing. He also recommends that hiring should be delayed until an absolutely suitable candidate has been identified for the vacant position.

The average hiring mistake costs 15x a person’s base salary, not to mention the drain on your personal time
— Geoff Smart

Remember: Getting the ‘who’ right is the single most important thing you can do to grow your business.


Chapter 4: Confront the Brutal Facts (Yet Never Lose Faith)

Chapter 4 was a quick read. In summary, some crucial points are:

All good-to-great companies began the process of finding a path to greatness by confronting the brutal facts of their current reality.

Collins outlines a four-step process to promote awareness of emerging trends and potential problems: 1) Lead with questions, not answers; 2) Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion; 3) Conduct autopsies without blame, and 4) Build red flag mechanisms that turn information into information that cannot be ignored.

Leadership does not begin with vision only, it begins with getting people to confront the brutal facts and to act on the implications of their decisions proactively.  My big take from this chapter is to lead with questions, not answers. I find that when I am pushing, probing and prodding with questions, I get a clearer picture of reality and the implications of our planning and decisions, this allows my teams to constantly use their critical thinking skills in the process of decision making.

For those reading along, what are your thoughts on the book thus far?  Please comment below

Meet me!  on  March 15th discuss the book “Book Good To Great,

Pick up a copy of our next book 'The Goal: A process of Ongoing Improvement'